iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) may be known best for its consumer-focused Roomba vacuums and military-centric PackBots, but this small-cap company has bigger things in mind for the field of robotics.
Just last month, for instance, I noted that iRobot’s RP-VITA medical telepresence robots were gaining traction faster than many investors were expecting. After all, though iRobot debuted the Ava platform on which RP-VITA is based at CES more than two years ago, it only just announced its collaboration with InTouch Health on the system last July.
Even so, RP-VITA also only received its FDA clearance to operate in hospital environments in January, so it came as a surprise when iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) told investors last month that more than a dozen of the automatons had already found a place in the day-to-day operations of seven different hospitals across the U.S. and Mexico.
As iRobot CEO Colin Angle indicated late last year, however, the medical industry is only the beginning: “If we can survive and be cleared to operate in that most challenging environment, that will open the door to many other environments.”
The next revolution
On Monday, iRobot announced the next step for its platform through a new partnership with Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) to create the Ava 500, a telepresence bot focused on enterprise customers “to enable people working off-site to participate in meetings and presentations where movement and location spontaneity are important.”
For example, iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ:IRBT) suggests the system could be used to “enable mobile visual access to manufacturing facilities, laboratories, customer experience centers, and other remote facilities in a supply chain.”