Boots & Sabers

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1759, 09 Feb 17

Droid Room Service

This seems like a great application for automation.

The M Social Singapore hotel is introducing a droid that can deliver room service to guests. It navigates using 3D cameras and can negotiate lifts and manoeuvre around people wandering down the corridors. The M Social is far from the first establishment to employ such robots. The machine, called Relay (pictured), which is made by Savioke, a Californian firm, already does shifts at some Aloft and Residence Inn hotels.

Tom Breedon, the general manager of the Residence Inn at Los Angeles airport, says using the robot for deliveries increases revenue per available room, a key industry measure, by at least 0.5%. This is partly because a robot is cheaper than a human (the Relays are leased for $2,000 a month; they cannot be bought). But it is also because guests are so taken by the novelty of being served by a robot that they order more room service.

Note the price point.

At $2k/month, that’s the equivalent of about $11.5/hour (assuming 2080 work year). And the robot comes without the headaches of recruiting, calling in sick, bad behavior, law suits, benefits, etc. Also, the robot can work almost 24 hours a day, so it is really providing the equivalent of 4.2 FTEs.

On the flip side of that equation, the company that makes the droid is based in San Jose, California, and is likely paying engineers, software developers, technicians, etc. well into six-figure salaries to create these devices.

Creative destruction is not a bad thing. It is essential to economic and human progress.


1759, 09 February 2017


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Demonstrating why capitalism is superior in every way to liberal Marxism.

  2. Le Roi du Nord

    “liberal Marxism”.  Now there is an oxymoron for ya…..

  3. Jason

    Owen, why use a 2080 work year? You could more accurately use something like 7300 work year (20 hours a day 365). Maintenance and charging can be done when the kitchen is closed. Under $4 per hour is even more profitable. Oh, I’d wager that as this spreadsheet we will find many enterprising companies that will sell rather than lease. Just think they can then make their money selling a Remote Monitoring service full of big data acronyms and spin around preventative maintenance, “predictive maintenance”, uptimes, security updates and other IOT buzzwords.

  4. Jason

    Wow my autocorrect is going crazy. Sorry Roy Do Nerd,

    This – “Oh, I’d wager that as this spreadsheet ” should read “Oh, I’d wager that as this spreads”.

  5. Owen

    I liked it the first way better. Made one think…

  6. Kevin Scheunemann


    Just pointing out that in liberal Marxist North Korea this would be a bloody slave being whipped from the forced work camps vs. a robot.

    Capitalism is much better.

  7. Le Roi du Nord

    “liberal Marxist”  is an oxymoron, particularly when applied to N K.  .

  8. penquin

    As more and more automation is used in the workplace, we see more and more workers with no jobs available. So what does society do with ’em?

    Our current plan seems to be lockin’ ’em up in prison…how much longer can that be sustained?

  9. penquin

    “Demonstrating why capitalism is superior in every way to liberal Marxism.”

    You really think that Somalia has a higher standard-of-living than the Netherlands?


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