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Telepresence robots let employees ‘beam’ into work
Question of the Day
So far, Double Robotics has sold more than 800 units that cost $1,999 each, said co-founder Mark DeVidts.
At $16,000 each, the Beam isn’t cheap. But Suitable Technologies says it was designed with features that make “pilots” and “locals” feel the remote worker is physically in the room: powerful speakers, highly sensitive microphones and robust wireless connectivity.
The company began shipping Beams last month, mostly to tech companies with widely dispersed engineering teams.
Not surprisingly, Suitable Technologies has fully embraced the Beam as a workplace tool. On any given day, up to half of its 25 employees “beam” into work, with employees on Beams sitting next to their flesh-and-blood colleagues and even joining them for lunch in the cafeteria.
Software engineer Josh Faust beams in daily from Hawaii, where he moved to surf, and plans to spend the winter hitting the slopes in Lake Tahoe. He can’t play ping pong or eat the free catered lunches in Palo Alto, but he otherwise feels like he’s part of the team.
“I’m trying to figure out where exactly I want to live. This allows me to do that without any of the instability of trying to find a different job,” Mr. Faust said, speaking on a Beam from Kaanapali, Hawaii. “It’s pretty amazing.”
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