Award Nominated Presentation on Service Robotics

Charles Colby, our Chief Methodologist and Founder, gave an award nominated presentation on service robotics at the Frontiers in Services Conference in Singapore this month.  Titled “Service Robotics: Trends in Acceptance and Factors in Willingness to Accept,” he covered 3 years of trending research starting in 2015 based on Rockbridge’s National Technology Readiness Survey.  Service robots are increasingly important to services firms, performing functions such as cleaning, self-service retail, deliveries, serving in restaurants and transportation.  He showed how consumer acceptance of service robots steadily declined over 3 years of tracking, against a backdrop of exciting product announcements and notable failures such as self-driving vehicle crashes and privacy concerns.  One major factor behind the downward trend in acceptance is in perceptions of “control,” including our ability to control them and the robots’ ability to put us in control.  Another factor appears to be declining interest in the topic, particularly among thought leaders.  Charles’ co-authors were Prof. A. Parasuraman, University of Miami, and Prof. Sunil Mithas, University of Maryland.  The presentation was commended as a finalist for the Best Practitioner Award.