April 14, 2006
A new profession for Hello Kitty?
From Business 2.0;
Can a robot replace your receptionist?
Diane Anderson, Business 2.0 Magazine
April 11, 2006: 3:50 PM EDT
So far, computers have displaced assembly-line workers, telephone operators, and musicians. Now a Japanese staffing firm wants to add front-desk personnel to the list. In February, Nagoya-based People Staff launched a service called Robot Dispatch: For $424 a month - or one-sixth the cost of one of the firm's human temps - Japanese companies can rent an electronic receptionist shaped like Hello Kitty.
Manufactured by Business Design Laboratory, also based in Nagoya, the 20-inch-tall Hello Kitty Robo can recognize as many as 10 faces, ask visitors to speak their names, and tell them when the person they have come to see is ready. With 20,000 stored conversation patterns, songs, and riddles, the robot is arguably more entertaining than many real attendants. Cheaper too. "Many Japanese corporations don't have a person at reception," says Chihiro Yamada, a People Staff spokeswoman. "If a company wants to hire a receptionist, we can save them money."
Read the rest here.
If link is not accessible for free past this month, Business 2.0 is available through Business Source Complete. (UIUC id & pw req'd)
Posted by Becky at 12:50 PM
October 26, 2005
Business News: Wal-Mart Seeking Ways to Reduce Benefits Costs
From the New York Times:
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
and MICHAEL BARBARO
Published: October 26, 2005
An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart.
Posted by Becky at 10:10 AM