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article imageLG's robot for 'connected life' refuses to talk on-stage

By James Walker     Jan 9, 2018 in Technology
LG's CES press conference was derailed by its Cloi robot which ignored verbal commands. Cloi is supposed to act as a hub for LG's new range of smart home devices. The incident has resurfaced concerns that IoT development may be progressing too quickly.
Managing your smart home
LG's press conference was the first of the day at CES in Las Vegas. The company unveiled a new line-up of connected appliances including TVs, smart speakers and vacuum cleaners. It also launched the CLOi robot, an effort to personalise technology and encourage adoption of digital assistance.
So far, the plan hasn't gone smoothly. Described as the "ultimate in simplicity when managing your smart home," CLOi failed to respond to several requests designed to demonstrate its functionality.
After initially behaving normally, CLOi stopped answering commands during the smart home section of the demo. The robot sat silently when asked by LG marketing chief David VanderWaal to suggest recipes for chicken, check what was planned for dinner and ask a smart washing machine to check if the washing's finished.
It's far from the first time a tech demo has gone awry. Nonetheless, the rest of LG's press conference was overshadowed by the incident. The company was mocked by Twitter users quick to note the apparent irony in CLOi's "ultimate in simplicity" tagline. The BBC reports that comments on LG's YouTube livestream of the event became flooded with jokes about CLOi's demo.
AI not ready for primetime
While CLOi's on-stage failure may have been down to an early bug, the issue has done little to reinforce confidence in AI and IoT. It's served as a reminder that a true smart home experience is still a long way off, with the real-world functionality of current assistants often unappealing to consumers.
With customers already questioning why they need in-home assistance, failed demos of supposedly next-generation products could hinder the entire AI ecosystem. During the conference, VanderWaal described the coming year as "a tipping point" for smart homes. The future of the concept is still far from certain though, with current ecosystems failing to convince homeowners they can be useful. LG said it's committed to developing new robot hardware, adding that the CLOi range will "deliver real convenience" in the home.
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"As an important part of our future growth engine, LG is committed to expanding its portfolio of robots that can deliver real convenience and innovation in our customers' lives," said Ryu Hye-jung, head of LG's Home Appliance smart solution business. "We will continue to develop a wide range of products across commercial and home robots while seeking new opportunities to contribute to the advancement of the robotics industry."
LG's also launching three other business-focused robots in the CLOi range. These include solutions specifically designed for use in hotels, airports and supermarkets. LG envisions CLOi serving consumers as they arrive in public places, improving efficiency and saving time.
More about Lg, lg cloi, Robots, Smart home, IoT
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