Merchant Innovation

LG’s New Hub Robot

It’s just a few days into 2017, and already it looks to be the year of the bots.

With CES 2017, the annual global consumer electronics and technology tradeshow, just days away, technology companies are teasing eager technophiles with teaser product announcements.

South Korean electronics company LG plans to debut a number of robots for the home and outdoor and public spaces at this year’s CES. What little LG revealed clues users into a trio of “non-cleaning” robots (LG debuted an automated vacuum at last year’s CES), including a lawn care robot and a robot designed for the travel industry, something to give out information to travelers in airports and hotels. Some have speculated that the travel industry bot will function similarly to the way Pepper navigates retail and banking spaces.

The one bot that has everyone talking is LG’s upcoming Hub Robot, a smart home gateway hub and personal assistant. LG has stated that all of the robots it plans to showcase will feature some form of artificial intelligence (AI), though the extent of their capabilities has yet to be revealed. LG’s new robot collection will be unveiled at LG’s CES press conference on Jan. 4. More updates will come as CES 2017 commences.

The hub could be in direct competition with the likes of Amazon’s incredibly popular Echo line of AI smart speaker products, or it could potentially be compatible with Alexa’s functionality. LG and Amazon announced a partnership back in September to collaborate on smart home technology. LG has enabled Alexa to work with its own smart home device, SmartThinQ Hub, to connect with home appliances over the internet.

Some 850 new exhibitors are expected to show at CES this year, including Baidu Intelligent Systems, Bing, Comcast, eBay, Nissan, Twitter, and more. Self-driving technology, smart homes, eCommerce and enterprise solutions, and smart energy, among others, are anticipated hot topics for this year.

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