iRobot and Cisco plan to jointly market the Ava 500 video collaboration robot in an effort to target enterprises.
The Ava 500 combines iRobot's autonomous navigation with Cisco's telepresence software. The aim is to "enable people working off-site to participate in meetings and presentations where movement and location spontaneity are important."
In a nutshell, the Ava 500 is designed to bring collaboration, mobility and telepresence to manufacturing facilities, labs and supply chain outposts. One use case would be for the Ava 500 to go on a factory floor tour and bring it to remote colleagues. Ava 500 could also show up at meetings and for remote corporate training functions. iRobot is best known on the consumer side for its Roomba autonomous vacuum cleaners and for its military robots.
On the tech front, iRobot took its robotics platform and combined it with Cisco's TelePresence EX60 end point and Aironet 1600 Series wireless access points. The 21.5-inch HD resolution screen is mounted on top of Ava. A remote user controls the Ava 500 with an iPad interface, selects destination and chooses what employee and room to see. The robot is designed to take the remote worker where they need to go. There's an option to be private or public, which includes the remote worker's face appearing on the Ava 500 screen.