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Dubai firm aims to cash in on growing demand for personal robots
October 5, 2020
  • Dubai firm aims to cash in on growing demand for personal robots

  • The company gets about 75% of its pre-orders from consumers in the US and Canada.

  • Device comes preloaded with $250 worth of ad-free games and hopes to sell 20,000 units in three months.

  • Working on a B2B robot targeting shopping malls, schools, hospitals and governments.

Dubai-based Misa Robotics aims to cash in on the growing demand for personal robots at homes due to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision and natural language processing.

The company’s first robot – Misa – is expected to be launched globally by the middle of next month.

Deepak Bhatia, Founder and CEO of Misa Robotics and iLife Digital Technology, said that the product has been on Indiegogo for some months with an inaugural price of $349 compared to the regular price of $399.

He said that the early demand has been quite positive despite Covid-19 and have got 500 pre-orders without the product is ready.

“The Indiegogo campaign targeted the US and Canada customers. We were supposed to launch the product last month but we had to upgrade the wheel roller under the robot and that has delayed the launch,” he said.

However, he said the first product was delivered to a customer in Canada whose daughter is fighting the last stages of cancer. She has been following us even before we started our campaign and now, she has lost her vision.

“Her last wish was that she wants to welcome Misa before she leaves the world and she wrote us a letter. So, we made an exemption and gave her the old model. Some elderly people have also ordered the devices to set early reminders and some kids have ordered it for education and edutainment purposes,” he said.

Preloaded with $250 worth of ad-free games

The company got about 75 per cent of its pre-orders from consumers in the US and Canada.

“We got about four per cent from the Middle East and that was organic. We haven’t promoted it or marketed it in the region. We have got preorders from 45 countries,” he said.

Bhatia said that Misa has facial recognition and deep understanding and it can speak in English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Japanese and Mandarin.

“It has a voice AI and voice is the most difficult aspect of the project. It can move in the house through voice as well as through a smartphone app. With the app, users can do home automation, security, social interactions with the expression of emotions, or assistance robot for seniors and family,” he said.

The wakeup word is “Hey Misa” and it can recognise it in 100 different ascents.

The device comes preloaded with $250 worth of ad-free games, Karaoke app, books, learning apps and videos such as Little Miss, The Moomins, Mr Bean, Peter Rabbit and Mr Men.

Bhatia said that security and privacy issues are taken care of and it does not record any personal conversations as in Amazon Alexa. The app can be downloaded from Apple and Google Play stores.

The company has already selected distributors in some countries.

In the UAE, it is going to be Jumbo Electronics, certain high-end stores of LuLu and Carrefour and in talks with Virgin Megastore. It is going to be priced at AED1,499.

In Saudi Arabia, it is Extra; in Kuwait, it is Alghanim Industries, Eureka and Best Al Yousifi; in India, it will be with online retailers – Amazon and Flipkart.

“We spoke to some key online retailers in India and pricing is a challenge. The clientele is expected to be from the middle class to upwards. I do believe that Tier 1 cities have the budget.  It is expected to be priced between Rs26,000 and Rs30,000,” Bhatia said.

Working on a B2B robot

Personal robots are set to be an $18.85b opportunity by 2020 as the Asian market for robots will explode with China emerging as one of the major countries, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis.

“So far, home care robots dominate with regard to consumer adoption and integration into smart home management,” Jonathan Collins, Smart Home Research Director at ABI Research, said.

Bhatia said that they will be producing 20,000 robots for the next three months and in preparation for the festival season.

“We have already got orders for about 65 per cent of the production volume from retailers and distributors across the world. We have made a lot of tie-ups such as Wikipedia, news updates, games, flight bookings and Expedia for hotel bookings. The data is pulled from the partners and can recognise more than 500 skills.  We are in the process of adding iHeartRadio and waiting for the final approval.  Since it is working on the cloud, we can keep adding features and skills,” he said.

If everything goes as planned, he said that they can easily sell more than 100,000 units in 2021.

Moreover, he said that they are already working on a B2B robot targeting shopping malls, schools, hospitals and governments.

“We can provide customised software for different sectors with auto docking and facial recognition technologies.  It will at least take a year to develop a B2B robot,” he said.

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