Robotize This! The (Im)Personal Care Industry MIND(s that filled) THE GAP(s) [XVIII]
In recent years, there has been more and more talk about digitalization and the use of robots in redundant activities, and the discussions also touch on people’s fear of being replaced by robots. Specialists appreciate, however, that robots do not come to replace humans, but to bring value to a company. At the same time, there is a greater openness on the part of decision-makers on the integration of the digital technologies in the activities of companies. Robots can bring a certain degree of satisfaction even to employees, since they no longer have to do certain repetitive tasks and have more time to learn something new, develop in another direction or simply focus on their basic work.
Currently, humans and robots are already working together. Robots assist and relieve humans of certain operations, facilitate multiple stages of automation and increase productivity. The Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) is an additional element, as it combines human skills with the efficiency and accuracy of machines.
Depending on the domain or area of application, man and robot can work closely together, but differently. The letter “C” in HRC can represent different aspects of collaboration:
- Coexistence: human and robot work without protective fences in neighbouring workspaces. Therefore, they do not share the same workspace and work independently of each other on various workloads.
- Cooperation: within the process of human-robot cooperation, man and robot operate in the same workspace. They alternately process various work tasks in a process. No direct interaction takes place.
- Coworking: human and robot interact with each other in a common workspace. For example, the robot hands something to the human, or they simultaneously perform various work tasks on the same piece.
Beauty and the robotic beast
One area that has expanded a lot lately, offering many opportunities and in which robots can be integrated into routine work is, surprisingly for “traditionalists” who praise both human touch and… talk, make-up. The job of make-up artists is not a very easy one, because, besides skill, it also involves a high aesthetic sense.
It is considered that a beauty specialist is not only a make-up artist, but also a photographer, a content creator. He/she must have a sense of beauty, colours, symmetry, shapes, be a fine observer, communicate with the clientele and offer the best solution in terms of make-up.
The art of professional make-up is related to the personal care sector. The trends are constantly evolving and, with them, the requirements and demands of the clients. The make-up service is increasingly used among women because, together with the other services in beauty centres, it creates a personal brand. In other words, the imprint that a make-up artist leaves, through his/her work, on the image of a person defines the traits and qualities of the wearer.
The collaborative robot, also known as the cobot, has slowly become known to the general public, and small and medium-sized companies can enjoy the many advantages that these extremely easy-to-use robotic arms provide. It is not only the appearance that distinguishes them from the classic industrial robots, but also the way in which they operate, because it is about robots that cooperate with employees, not robots that take the place of employees.
Replacing the human touch…
The most well-known robot in terms of appearance may be Clockwork, a manicurist robot that creates dazzling, red manicures. We don’t know where the creator of this robot found inspiration, but it is incredible! Everything happens so swiftly, Clockwork completing each nail in around 30 seconds. Currently, only San Francisco and 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City offer the robo-mani, which costs $8 for a basic service and $10 for a topcoat. You can remove your hand from the machine at any time during the procedure, and the robot utilizes a soft, plastic-tipped cartridge to paint your nails.
Nathan Harding, a robotics engineer in Oakland, spent four years creating a pair of devices that work together to do eyelash extensions in 30 minutes or less. The name of this robot is Luum. Laura Pochop, who recently used the service, expressed her joyful surprise at the encounter and with the device’s efficiency. All this for a terrific price: the service is about $160 for a complete set of lashes and $85 for refills. The productivity of the lash technicians is only being increased by this robot. Of course, the customer can choose an employee to perform the service; Luum is only there to assist.
Although it is technically possible, humans cannot be replaced by robots. In addition to adding value to the business, they also benefit the staff by performing a significant portion of the labour. They are somewhat able to mimic human abilities and senses, especially sight.
Even if the topic of robotics ethics is still in its infancy, Clockwork and Luum are undoubtedly raising significant concerns about the future of the beauty business. Even if a machine could be trained to create abstract art, it couldn’t replace the imaginative and forward-thinking artist who created it. Robots will never possess humanity, which is something the rest of us do. However, some individuals are introverts. Given that these people don’t need to interact with others, a robot that can paint their nails or apply makeup is welcome in this situation. It has to do with personal tastes and closeness.
… as well as human talking
Robots can now be programmed to perform a complete manicure in approximately 10 minutes at reduced costs, but with high accuracy, using artificial intelligence and 3D technology.
Yet, another category of robots emerging as a result of digitalization are chatbots. In personal care industry this may, for some, look like a sacrilege, since chitchatting/gossiping seems part and parcel of the “cosmetics & co.” services. As messaging apps grow in popularity, chatbots are playing an increasingly important role in this technology-driven component. Smart chatbots created for conversations are often interfaces for mobile apps and change the way companies and customers interact.
Chatbots allow companies to interact with customers in a personal way without spending on human representatives. They offer a personal alternative to frequently asked questions or written guides, and can even sort questions, including transferring a customer’s problem to a human operator if it becomes too complex for the chatbot to solve. Chatbots have become popular as tools to save companies’ time and money, as well as for the extra convenience offered to customers. Many of the questions or problems of customers are common and one can easily answer them. In make-up services, chatbots can be integrated in daily business operations to save costs.
The challenges that social media currently brings and the trends in the field determine the beauty industry to modernize its working techniques, to improve its promotion strategies, to attract customers, to become more creative, more involved, more active. Robots can contribute to all of this, given the advantages that their use offers and the forecasts that say that they will play an important role in the economy of the years to come.
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