At a small coffee bar named Crown Coffee in downtown Singapore, a fully autonomous robot barista named “Ella” makes a perfect cup of coffee every time. Ella is named after the wife of Crown Coffee’s CEO/founder, Keith Tan. Ella is a six-axis robot that runs on a constellation of Intel parts mentioned below:
- an Intel® Movidius™ vision processing unit
- Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit
- Intel® Xeon®
- Intel® Core™ processors.
Intel tech powers everything Ella does:
- Taking orders remotely via an online app.
- Making your cup of coffee.
- Notifying you when it’s ready.
- Serving it.
- Finalizing your bill.
- Charging your credit card.
Intel helped Keith Tan realize this idea of a robot barista. They understood the problems and partnered with him to design and develop prototypes.
Ella solves many challenges.
- The compact unit takes up only a fraction of the space required for a traditional coffee bar, translating into a cheaper retail footprint.
- Keith Tan can guarantee quality and consistency in every cup served.
- Ella frees up labor that allows Tan to reassign his staff to other in-store tasks such as greeting customers or cleaning.
- One of the most critical issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e., it gives the customers surety of safety as Ella operates in a sealed chamber, maintaining zero human interaction with the product from the moment it’s made till it’s served hot.
Ella opens new possibilities to the food retailers to enable futuristic contactless service and help develop alternate revenue models with Ella’s data.
Keith Tan and his teammates are planning to scale the solution to 40 other locations across Singapore, then to Japan, and then the rest of the world. This is going to be transformational and will be part of the significant landscape of smart cities where AI-driven robots become deeply ingrained into our daily lives. This is also the New Retail, which eases retail labor shortages while providing re-skilling employment opportunities for value-added technology and engineering people.