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iRobot's Cisco-Based Ava 500 Telepresence Robot Now Available

March 18, 2014 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Jeffrey Burt / eWeek

The robot, which is controlled remotely via an iPad, leverages Cisco's EX60 personal video endpoint and iRobot management tools.

iRobot's Ava 500 video collaboration robot, developed in conjunction with Cisco Systems, is hitting the market. The Ava 500 is designed to enable remote workers to not only participate in meetings, but also to move around a building and collaborate with co-workers in areas that otherwise would be difficult, such as hallways, manufacturing floors, data centers and laboratories, according to iRobot officials.

Users can control the robot via an Apple iPad, maneuvering the Ava 500 down hallways and into rooms. In addition, the robot, which iRobot and Cisco first spoke about in June 2013, can map out a building, then be programmed to arrive at a particular meeting area at a scheduled time without any intervention by the user.

The robot is being showcased this week at the Enterprise Connect 2014show in Orlando, Fla., at Cisco's booth and that of Yorktel, an Ava 500 reseller. The robot is another way to extend the reach of video conferencing throughout an enterprise, according to Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group.

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