According to a report in Digital Trends, Pepper, which is a 120-centimeter tall robot that can recognize faces and emotions, respond via voice or on an embedded tablet and can be programmed with data so that it can perform specific tasks, will demonstrate to customers of HSBC a bit of what the future will bring. The robot isn’t able to do more complex jobs, which is why it’s being used in the beginning to showcase retail banking of the future. Digital Trends reported Pepper will be able to provide information about HSBC’s financial products and services, inform customers about its mobile banking app and explain the different options for customers support. It can direct customers toward the right staff within the bank as well. HSBC, noted the report, said Pepper would pose for selfies, tell jokes and break out into dance if human staff isn’t at the ready.
While Pepper may be able to draw curious visitors to HSBC, Digital Trends noted it could be hard for Pepper to engage people once the novelty wears off. The report noted that in Pepper’s home country of Japan, Pepper doesn’t get much in the way of attention by consumers with many ignoring it. In Scotland, one store owner said it was nothing more than a walking sign, noted the report. But with advances in robotics, Pepper should be able to do more things that make the robot more worthwhile “We’re focused on developing the ‘branch of the future,’ and our use of Pepper will streamline branch operations and delight our customers, allowing bank staff to have deeper, more high-value customer engagement,” said Pablo Sanchez of HSBC in the report. HSBC said it’s the first bank in the U.S. to have a robot in retail banking operations. The company has plans to roll out more Peppers in branches around the country in the next few months, reported Digital Trends.