By Steve Moran

Each year Amazon holds a technology showcase where they talk about the new cool stuff they are rolling out. One of those was a new robot they are calling Astro. It is essentially an Echo Show on wheels. Though it has some cool new features:

  • A small cargo space
  • A two-foot telescoping neck
  • The ability to map a floor plan
  • The ability to stop and avoid humans
  • A Wall-E from the Disney movie feel
  • Shapes, sounds, and movements of the robot were specifically engineered to evoke empathy

Cost $1,450

It Will Sell Out

They expect demand to outstrip availability, so Amazon has a reservation system in place (yes I have already made my request).

It will do a bunch of things though:

  • Amazon sees it being used as a “whole house” robot guard. 
  • They also envision families putting it in the home of an older family member to keep watch over them.

They believe that in 5-10 years essentially every home will have at least one robot.

Robots and Senior Living

Yeah I know, I have been beating the robot drum a lot. But here is the hard truth: senior living is in trouble. It is natural, of course, for the industry to put its best face forward. But most senior living communities are not making acceptable returns and many are in the red. Occupancies are low, costs are high, staff is burned out; the list goes on and on.

There are 3 things that can turn this around, though one I would not count on:

  1. A Miracle – Even though I am a very spiritual person, I am convinced you would be foolish to bet on this. Though some leaders think demographics is the miracle in waiting, it is NOT!
  2. Great Leadership – I am working on a major keynote to tackle this so you will be hearing more about it in the coming weeks. But the bottom line is there are a handful of operators out there who are crushing it in both occupancy and staffing. You get a hint as to who these operators are by looking at who REITs are handing troubled communities to.

    Leadership is actually the single most important on my list of 3. It is something anyone can fix. It costs nothing or next to nothing and it promises to vastly increase market penetration.
  3. Technology – Technology is not the entire answer and robots are not the entire answer. But add tech to great leadership and you end up with something that is better than we have ever seen. Robots are part of it. Web tools that help you market better are part of it. AI that allows you to better use your data is part of it. Sensors are part of it.

When you combine technology with great leadership something very special happens. Residents have great last chapters, team members love coming to work, and occupancy soars.