Zenplace robots lead home showings in San Francisco


Zenplace, a San Francisco-based property management startup, is using robots to lead potential tenants around for showings, according to SFGATE.

The company says the idea to replace a person for a 3-foot-tall robotic device came about to ease the scheduling process for real estate agents and tenants.

Realtors have the ability to control the robots remotely from anywhere. If a tenant walks by a Zenplace home during showing hours, they can actually schedule a tour by smartphone or simply by unlocking the front door.

The app provides an access code for the door as well as step-by-step instructions for the real estate robot.

Having launched Zenplace in the summer of 2017, there are currently a few hundred robots acting as home tour guides in the Bay Area.

The remote realtors can even switch out their faces for images of other neighborhood amenities, or rental history information.

Removing the normal hassles of transportation, replacing a body for a robot may make meeting sales goals more feasible.

Some realtors say the downside of the devices is that they can’t emulate the unique qualities of human interactions you find beyond the screen. Other businesses are replacing humans for robots as well.

The company can be compared to Beam, a Palo Alto startup that is also trying to bridge distance with the assistance from semi-autonomous devices.

The 53-inch, battery-powered device looks like an elliptical machine, without the exercise component.

It allows workers or others to navigate around an area and do everything that people in real life do such as discuss project strategies, attend meetings, or make small talk.

But it also lays the groundwork for a society in which leaving one’s home is a rare occurrence these days.

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