Four men and three robots: Steven Tan (second from left), SM Supermalls chief operating officer; (with from left) Christian Mathay, AVP for operations; Ligo Lim, sales manager, Cal-Comp Technology (Philippines) and Joaquin San Agustin, SM Supermalls SVP for marketing with SAM robots.
SAM the robot at SM Supermalls
Kathy Moran (The Philippine Star) - April 1, 2019 - 12:00am

How does one talk to a robot with no ears?

I was about to find out — in a loud voice, too.

For starters when I got to talk to SAM recently at SM Megamall, the first thing that came to my mind was, “What is your name?”

“My name is SAM,”  he replied.

“Where is National Book Store?” I asked. (I was coached by the executives of SM as to what questions might be best).

It was then he (I think that SAM is a he) went to work.

He showed me how to get there with a tech screen on his chest which had an electronic a map of how many turns to make and exactly where NBS is located.

Impressed.

As part of a series of innovations designed to improve customer malling experience, SM Supermalls raises the bar in customer service with the introduction of SAM, the country’s first-ever in mall smart robot — launched in SM Megamall, recently.

“Throughout the years, innovation has always been at the core of SM’s growth in delivering better malling experiences,” said Steven Tan, COO, of SM Supermalls. “This year, one of our key strategies is to leverage on the latest and most advanced technologies.”

I was informed that at present, there are three SAM at SM Megamall that will be available to customers to get to know. These will be stationed in different key areas of the mall. If SAM is successful, SM Supermall will strategically roll out to other premier mall like SM Mall of Asia, SM Seaside City Cebu and SM Aura Premier.

SAM is an artificial Intelligent (AI) humanoid robot programmed to deliver a smoother, more personalized and efficient interaction with customers.

As I spoke with SAM I remembered the Jetsons. I date myself here. The Jetsons was an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera, which aired from Sept. 23, 1962 to March 17, 1963. 

The Jetsons live in a comical version of a century in the future with elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions.

The 1990 film Jetsons: The Movie served as the series finale to the television show. 27 years later, a new direct-to-video animated movie, The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!, was released in 2017. 

So, even as a child, I was fascinated by how humans and robots would interact in the future.

It is here now — in SM Supermalls.

“Innovation is what SM strives for in providing better customer service to all and we are proud of latest innovation yet,” added Tan. “We are very thrilled to finally share with you another milestone as we bring in the country’s first ever smart customer service robot. This robot will provide greeting services via face detection, quick access to mall and product information, mall directions, deals and promos, and even a 24/7 access via chatbot.”

SAM is at Megamall for now. But he will be at other SM Malls soon. SAM is designed to help with directions and provide mall information about the latest deals, promos and events. Equipped with an advanced face recognition technology, it can also make personalized greeting to customers once they enter the mall. Customers can also chat with SAM though the SM Supermall Facebook page.

 “This breakthrough innovation is a reflection of our commitment to continuously give enhanced malling experiences to our customers,” said Tan. “You can come and say hi to our newest smart customer service attendant starting today at SM Megamall. Watch out as we roll out the robots to other SM malls soon.”

SAM was created in partnership with Cal-Comp Technology (Philippines), which is the leading provider of electronic and original design manufacturing services.

Just as Henry Sy Sr, founder of SM Malls, was an innovator — it is the goal of SM Malls to become a place of fun, laughter and smiles — with the latest that technology can offer, too. 

After all innovation, is at the core of SM’s growth. SM is fortunate to have cutting edge technology because of its seven malls in China, which over the years have won awards in innovative tech activities and interactive games. SM has taken their learning in China here to try it out and see how Pinoys respond.

“We are excited to finally introduce to you our newest friend here at SM Supermalls,” added Tan. “Designed to bring more fun in the malls, our friendly robot can entertain, assist, and even say ‘hey’ to you! Our newest friend is #SMThing new, something smart, and definitely something SUPER!”

*   *   *

For information, visit www. supermalls.com or SM Supermalls Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @smsupermalls.

SAM THE ROBOT SM SUPERMALLS
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