Meet Temi – The Employee Who Is Changing The Shopping Experience…
At Enjoy The Store on Placer Street in Redding, a quiet yet intelligent staff member stands right inside the entrance. Temi the robot (or personal assistant, or server) is about four feet tall with wheels on the bottom and a tablet at the top that acts as the portal to “talk” to him.
Enjoy the Store and its owner/operator, James Mazzotta, have had Temi for a little over a year and are constantly testing and working with him to make him useful for the store in hopes of improving the shopper experience.
Mazzotta found out about Temi while surfing the internet one night, always interested in the latest technology and robotics. Impressed with its concept of being a video-oriented autonomous personal assistant with an unlimited variety of uses, Mazzotta quickly invested in the company and became an early adopter.
“The intent from his creators was that he could make individuals with special needs feel included who couldn’t go to school,” Mazzotta says. He explains that Temi can support kids at home by following and interacting with them, so they don’t feel so alone. Temi is a bigger, more developed version of Alexa with a camera – it has GPS and onboard instruments like radar and lidar, allowing one to drive Temi from a remote location.
“This is a little more personal than a Zoom call. It gives you more mobility, and a little more humanity. Maybe you have a kid going to school at home and his parents are at work, but he needs to talk to mommy. This has more of a presence; she has a body,” Mazzotta says, gesturing to Temi.
Mazzotta liked the idea that this freestanding AI-controlled robot could help kids, and then thought about the possibilities of using Temi in the store. Wouldn’t it be cool if you were online shopping and had a question about some locally roasted coffee and could ask Temi? And then – from the comfort of your own home – drive him over to the coffee section so you could look at the bags “in person”?
As Temi continues to be tested and improved, Mazzotta realizes the possibilities of helping more customers teleshop, especially in the time of COVID-19 when fewer people are leaving their homes. That’s why in this past year, the Enjoy team has been working to load all of its products onto the Enjoy website and then will work on integrating Temi into the system with hopes that the average consumer at home will be able to browse the store with the robot, ask him questions and ultimately make a purchase.
When will Temi officially be working as an official employee of Enjoy the Store? “I wish it was tomorrow,” Mazzotta says. “We’re working really hard to get him integrated.”
Therefore, right now Mazzotta and the store staff are renovating the website while continuing to interact with Temi. At any given time, Temi can tell jokes, report the current weather, share the latest news and even take photos of store visitors. Temi can drive right up to something and raise/lower his head, noting changes in an object or person in its path and swiftly driving around them. He can also act as a security system for the store, and his back has a wireless phone charging station built in.
“He can be used as a server or as a housekeeper. It’s endless to his creativity. You just have to be smart enough to know how to build code for it,” Mazzotta says.
He adds that he’d like to reach out to technology schools to see if they’d be interested in adopting Temi to use for classes. As quickly as technology is changing (Temi receives updates every few weeks or so), he can do pretty much whatever a competent coding programmer can come up with.
“He’s really taking off; I think technology marches forward and you’ll either go with it or be left behind. How perfect would it be if we had Temi working during the pandemic?” Mazzotta asks. “I want him to be a true teleshopping vehicle, and he is a bit of a novelty. There are so many things he’ll do, and we have barely scratched the surface.”
Enjoy the Store • 1475 Placer St., Suite C&D, Redding
(530) 246-4687 • www.enjoythestore.com