Pepper is indeed the closest to Mitra in our category. It is a beautiful robot built through a decade of hard work by Aldebaran and later acquired by Softbank. They have been around for a long time, have a lot of global brand recognition and is a much-matured product.
However, Pepper robot has a few handicaps in comparison to Mitra:
- Has smaller wheels and not designed for a lot of movement.
- No provision for autonomous navigation.
- No inbuilt support for face recognition or contextual conversations.
- It is available only in Japan and notoriously hard to get one.
- Softbank reportedly imposes a lot of restrictions. For example, it limits on how the customers use and publicize the robots bought.
We have worked successfully to eliminate these restrictions. This exception is what differentiates us from Pepper.
Also, at Softbank Robotics, it has to fight for executive attention with other robots – including the more popular Nao and the upcoming Romeo. We have no need to do that as of now.
With Mitra robot, we are trying to fix these issues and also use the strength of Bengaluru services ecosystem. This will help us to build a lot of software integration with enterprise software to provide a seamless value addition for end users. While robots traditionally were seen as mechanical gadgets, we wish to change that perception by making them an electronics gadget is primarily driven by software applications.
Talking about business, we already have 6 of the largest companies in India as our customers. The plans to support deep product integrations in a variety of sectors is on the cards. All these customers already knew about Pepper and then came to us.