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QNAP to launch smart home assistant in the form of AfoBot

QNAP to launch smart home assistant in the form of AfoBot
QNAP Systems, a global provider of network storage solutions, will soon launch an all-in-one smart home assistant AfoBot that is capable of multiple home tasks, including remote elderly care and monitoring.

Equipped with an 8-inch touchscreen (serving as the robot’s face), a camera, a speaker and two microphones, the robot is well suited for video call, a function that is needed mostly by adults who want to be able to check in on their elderly parents or little kids at home.

With voice recognition capability, the robot essentially can also serve like smart speaker Amazon Echo, reporting news, setting alarm, playing music, calling taxi and controlling home devices upon user requests.

With facial recognition and its touchscreen face, AfoBot can have wider applications, in healthcare, retail and hotel industries, among others. The healthcare industry is believed to have potentially the greatest unmet demand, according to Aaron Lee, Vice President of QNAP’s Consumer Solution Business Division. Healthcare industry clients also make up the largest share of existing clients, Lee added.

Taiwan (where QNAP is based), Japan and China will all face the population aging problem, Lee noted, adding that the related demand will emerge over the next 3-5 years. In Taiwan, demographic dividend will register a negative growth staring in 2022, Lee said.

In regards to its healthcare functionality, AfoBot’s video call allows a doctor, caretaker or family member to talk with an elderly at home. The SoS function is also built in AfoBot so that an elderly may call for help in case of an emergency.

QNAP aims for deep integration with service providers. One of the collaborations offers a smart mattress that can measure an elderly’s breathing and heartbeat on bed. When abnormalities are detected, AfoBot will use its camera to check on what’s going on and send alerts to caretakers or family members if necessary.

QNAP prides itself in providing flexible service to its clients. It is able to provide comparatively smaller quantity and greater types of services to meet client requests, Lee said. Up to 80 percent of QNAP’s workforce consists of software engineers, and the company can offer customized software for video calls, P2P and other cloud applications. The healthcare industry, in particular, requires greater customization service, Lee noted.

As one of the largest storage solution providers in the world, QNAP has as many as five million network-attached storage (NAS) servers around the world. This enables robust cloud access and always-on software update for the client.

Asked how QNAP stepped into the smart robot business, Lee said the company’s strength lies in NAS technology which can serve as a home data center. With all the data, machine learning or artificial intelligence can also be performed. However, with no face, ears or eyes, the company lacks a user interface to interact with consumers, Lee said. “AfoBot makes up for what NAS lacks. It is also complementary in the sense that it can dig out information stored in NAS, to play media file, for example, and also that it can store data like IP camera footage in NAS.”

Product Adopted:
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