Smartphones Are Out, Robots That Replace Baristas Are In At LG
LG Electronics who saw their shares surge 25% last week on news that they are looking to get out of the smartphone business is now attracting investors with their plan to be a major player in robotics and artificial intelligence technology a move that could see barista’s replaced with robots and mail staff replaced with robots.
Currently the company, is selling 10 kinds of robots including vacuums, now seeking more innovation opportunities with global partners to grow their robotics business with the local Australian subsidiary potentially selling robots for business and the home in the future.
Five years of failure in the smartphone market, was the catalyst for the Company to now look at how they exit this market.
In Australia LG is having another crack at trying to break into the PC market with a new premium notebook set to be launched shortly, the move which some observers claim is set to see the Company struggle due to the competitive nature of the PC market.
Both LG and Samsung have failed in the PC market in Australia in the past.
Brian Kwon, LG’s CEO, said in a memo to employees last week that the company is open to all options for its mobile business.
“LG Electronics believes we have reached the point where we need to make the best decision about our mobile phone business, considering current and future competitiveness,” Kwon said. “We are reviewing directions of the mobile communication division, opening the door for all options.”
LG’s smartphone business has posted more than $4 billion in losses over the last five years as it failed to keep pace with market leaders including Samsung Electronics, Huawei Technologies, and Apple.
Analysts saw the exit plan as positive, believing it will help transform the company into a player focused on home appliances, electric vehicle parts and robotics.
At the 2021 Virtual CES event LG Electronics played up the potential of their CLOi UV-C robot, which can move around and sanitize indoor spaces with ultraviolet light.
When launched, the CLOi UV-C robot will be LG’s first robot to be available to businesses and households in markets such as Australia and the USA.
The disinfection machine is, however, just one of an array of robotic solutions that the company has introduced over the past few years.
Last year, LG Electronics commercialized several assistive robots that can be used in public spaces, including restaurants, hospitals, and convenience stores.
In July LG Electronics supplied its first autonomous driving robot to Seoul National University Hospital — the first time a commercial assistive robot was introduced to a local hospital.
Deployed to the outpatient unit, the CLOi ServeBot assists hospital staff by delivering treatment kits, medical devices, and other necessities.
Another LG Electronics robot, which features three drawers that can hold up to 15 kilograms, made its way into LG Science Park in Seoul last year.
The self-driving delivery robot navigates its way through the nine-floor building, using elevators, to deliver parcels. It was the first robot in the country to receive the Ministry of the Interior and Safety’s approval to travel via elevators.
The CLOi BaristaBot holds the title of the country’s first certified robotic coffee master, with a license from the Korea Coffee Association. The product started working last week at LG Twin Tower in Yeouido, Seoul.
LG plans to deploy the robots at major LG Best Shop branches starting this year, the company said.
According to the Korean Herald, LG Electronics announced in 2020 it was collaborating with Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Kim Sang-bae, a renowned robot scientist who has led the MIT Biomimetics Robotics Lab for a decade.
The company also established the LG Boston Robotics Lab to accelerate research into its robots’ ability to recognize and manipulate objects.