“How may I help you?” Robot Pepper put into service on Wednesday greets customers at Woori Bank’s headquarters in central Seoul. The bank plans to expand the use of robots for customer service in its branches across the nation. [photo by Lee Choong-woo]
Seeking advice from or discussing daily office matters with robot colleagues would not be an uncommon scene in Korea in the near future with many places in the country including banks, stores and airports already employing robots to take over some customer service jobs.
Woori Bank said Pepper robot developed by Japan’s Softbank Robotics came to work at its headquarters located in Joong-ju, central Seoul, for the first time on Wednesday. The country’s first customer service robot deployed in the banking sector will play many roles including greeting and guiding customers, recommending financial products and introducing events. Pepper, equipped with a voice recognition system, is also able to answer some simple questions. Pepper robots whose daily work hours are from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., as well as from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. will also join Woori Bank’s Yeouido and Myung-dong offices soon.
Pepper has also been put into service at Kyobo Book Center in Hapjeong, Seoul, on Wednesday to inform customers about how to use its services and mobile application. LG Uplus, local mobile carrier, started using Pepper for customer service on the same day at its flagship store in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province.
Since August, an artificial intelligence (AI) robot has been helping foreign shoppers by providing interpretation and translation service at Hyundai City Outlet in Dongdaemun, Seoul. At Incheon International Airport, five robots made by LG Electronics have been guiding passengers and another five robots have been cleaning the airport since July.
The 18th World Knowledge Forum (WKF) hosted by Maekyung Media Group between October 17 and 19 will be the first forum to have robot moderators. FURO, developed by local tech company Future Robot, will introduce speakers at a session named Insight 30 where speakers will discuss various topics including brain science, fine dust particles and data management. FURO is expected to explain why Jeffrey Godsick, executive vice president of Sony Pictures, is picked as the first speaker of the session. FURO will also be deployed at the entrance of the forum hall to offer information of the WKF.
By Park Yong-beom and Park Joon-hyung
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