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Is virtual the new present? - Meetings via robot in Industry 4.0

For a good year now, a lot has changed in everyday business life: instead of meetings in person, virtual meetings are now part of the daily business. But is it really the same to use webcam and headset as to sit across from each other in a meeting room and work together on a solution, or even to discuss things in a relaxed atmosphere?

Many employees stated, especially during the first lockdown, that the lack of contact and personal support from their colleagues at home was a strain on them. In some cases, the team feeling was lost and communication channels became longer and more complicated. We took this feedback to heart and tried to equip employees with webcams as needed, if these were not already integrated into their laptops, and increased the number of (digital) team meetings.

A similar concept of virtual meetings can now also be implemented using robots: with the help of telepresence robots, you can "be there" virtually without having to be physically present. This is made possible by the mobile robot "Double 3", which is rented out by our sister company Robshare. The innovative concept allows people all over the world to connect to the robot via laptop, tablet or smartphone and participate in meetings or events "virtually". The person connected can freely navigate the Double 3 through the real venue, see everything that is happening on site via camera, and even speak to the people present via microphone and ask questions. These possibilities for interaction almost give the "digital attendee" the feeling of being there live.

Thanks to this innovative meeting form, it was already possible to hold the in-house Hybrid.Expo organized by the HAHN Group, in which customers could participate either in person or via Double 3. This hybrid concept and the interactive participation via mobile robot provided a consistently positive feedback from the visitors. Due to the numerous positive reactions we were able to increase the number of our customer meetings in Rheinböllen in the last weeks: no matter if existing customers wanted to have a look at their machine in the assembly hall or if potential new customers wanted to get a first impression of our capacities and premises - via Double 3 they could drive through our halls as if they were physically on site. Among other things, this led to the situation where customers "met" their own colleagues by chance during a meeting with the mobile robot, who were guests of ours in Rheinböllen. Even the Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, recently paid us a virtual visit and didn't miss the chance to drive the Double 3 through our showroom.

Nevertheless, despite all the informative, revealing and sometimes even funny meetings, we believe that there is no substitute for real eye contact or even a handshake. All the virtual and digital meetings are indeed a great way to bridge the current time and to respond to all given requirements, but we can hardly wait for team meetings to take place in presence, for our customers to visit us as usual in Rheinböllen and for us to visit them all over the world. Until then, we continue to rely on webcam, Double 3 and all the innovative technology that makes our time in lockdown easier. 


Do you also want to take the opportunity to discover our showroom in Rheinböllen via Double 3? The Hybrid.Expo of the HAHN Group continues this week (23. - 25.03.) into the second round. Take the chance and learn more about the innovative products and technologies of our company network. All information and a way to register can be found here.


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