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Smart Dubai testing robot receptionist

Robot will receive visitors, show them to meeting rooms at Smart Dubai HQ

Smart Dubai is trialling the Farah robot for reception duties.
Smart Dubai is trialling the Farah robot for reception duties.

The Smart Dubai Office (SDO) is trialling a new robot receptionist at its headquarters office.

The robot, which has been provided by business solutions provider Nearbuy, will assist visitors to the SDO by allowing them to check-in on touchscreen panel and then escorting them to a meeting room. The robot is also able to take orders for refreshments and transmit them to the office pantry, as well as security screening and taking payment orders where needed

The 1.50 metres tall robot, named ‘Farah' (‘happiness' in Arabic) is based on advanced wayfinding robot technology developed by German company Werobots.

Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, commented: "Smart Dubai is delighted to host this ground-breaking experiment in artificial intelligence - the first of its kind in the region - at our offices. Our objective is not to replace humans with robots, rather to understand where we can automate some repetitive administrative functions to allow us to invest in and create new types of sustainable employment opportunities for talented people."

HE Dr Aisha added: "Farah the robot has not replaced any of our team members seeing as we already had a touchscreen reception facility. It is our hope that this three-month experiment will give us some great insights into the potential uses of applied artificial intelligence in our quest to make Dubai a world-leading smart city. We are also looking forward to sharing the insights with other partner government entities as we additionally seek to maximise the use of new technologies in the public sector."

Nicolas Standeart, CEO and founder of Nearbuy, which owns Farah, said: "As well as adding some fun to the workplace, robots are already providing invaluable, reliable and cost-effective business support to a number of companies globally. As a UAE home-grown company that is pioneering tech-based business solutions internationally, we are delighted to be partnering with Smart Dubai to experiment with workplace-based artificial intelligence in this exciting city we intentionally chose as a home base for our global business. We have no doubt that the insights gained will go on to benefit many organisations in the region and further afield."