TAIPEI Oct 6 Pepper, SoftBank Corp's humanoid
robot, greeted customers at a Taiwan bank and a life insurer on
Thursday, one of the first countries outside Japan to use the
shiny machine in a front-line role with clients.
The robot was handed an employee ID card at a First
Commercial Bank branch in Taipei and joined staff in an exercise
routine before meeting the public.
"I think this is pretty good for customers ... to kill time
or to have more fun interacting with Pepper," said bank customer
First Commercial, a unit of First Financial Holding Co which
plans to roll out 20 Peppers islandwide, said the robots would
mainly interact with customers.
Pepper also started work on Thursday for Cathay Life
Insurance, an arm of Cathay Financial Holding Co, which plans to
deploy 10 robots.
Pepper is a key plank in SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son's
vision of future technology centered on the "internet of
things", a network of devices, vehicles and building sensors
that collect and exchange data.
The robot, which costs 198,000 yen ($1,900), is being used
as a waiter, salesman and customer service representatives in
about 500 companies in Japan, including Nestle, Mizuho Bank and
"Taiwan is the first country outside of Japan in which
Pepper will start to provide direct service for clients," said
Jeff Lin, a director with Perobot Co Ltd., which oversees the
sale and maintenance of the robots in Taiwan.
($1 = 103.5000 yen)
(Reporting by Reuters TV; Editing by Darren Schuettler)