As people return to offices and other workplaces as the COVID-19 pandemic finally eases in the U.S., robots are increasingly viewed as necessary for protecting their health. Canon Solutions America Inc. today announced a new strategic collaboration with SoftBank Robotics America. The alliance will focus on commercializing robotics and integrated automation as part of Canon Solutions America’s larger Workplace Health Solutions portfolio, starting with the Whiz cleaning robot.
“Our alliance with Canon Solutions America speaks to the speed and scale of demand for robotics under the reinvention of what it means to share and trust indoor space,” stated Brady Watkins, senior vice president and general manager of SoftBank Robotics America. “It’s a new era for the workplace, one where robotics, automation, and data are helping to safely welcome people back.”
“As one of the largest distributors of workplace solutions, Canon Solutions America is uniquely positioned to integrate continuous, connected, clean technologies into existing ecosystems and enable a successful return to work,” he said.
Melville, N.Y.-based Canon Solutions America is a unit of Canon U.S.A. Inc. that provides printing systems, document management, and professional service offerings.
Whiz cleans multiple facilities
San Francisco-based SoftBank Robotics said that more than 30,000 of its robots are currently used in more than 70 countries. The company serves applications in retail, hospitality, healthcare, and education, among other sectors.
Whiz combines autonomous navigation technology with the Whiz Connect cloud connectivity and integrated analytics for smarter cleaning and healthier environments, said SoftBank. Whiz uses BrainOS, Brain Corp.'s cloud-connected AI software platform for building, deploying, and supporting commercial autonomous robots at scale.
The mobile robot is already cleaning commercial spaces including major office complexes, connected campuses, and healthcare providers. SoftBank claimed that “Whiz’s unobtrusive visibility, HEPA-equipped cleaning, and data-confirmed results are integral for the cleanliness priorities of the modern workplace.”
Canon builds automation portfolio
Canon Solutions America said that Whiz represents an evolution of its “commitment to offering innovative solutions in the workplace, introducing robotics into the Canon Solutions America customer technology environment.”
The Whiz offering brings together Canon Solutions America’s services with SoftBank Robotics’ experience in collaborative robotics and automation. Canon noted that in addition to its Workplace Health Solutions portfolio, Whiz will expand on its current automated offerings including welloStationX, Check-In Online, and Parcel Pending by Quadient.
“We are pleased to be partnering with a leading technology organization, SoftBank Robotics, to expand our existing Workplace Health Solutions portfolio, while offering our customers peace of mind that their office space will be frequently and efficiently cleaned and connected for near-time insights to help facilitate the return to the workplace,” said Peter P. Kowalczuk, president of Canon Solutions America. “We look forward to continuing to expand this portfolio by offering new, innovative technology and solutions in the robotics space to our customers.”
Whiz is currently available from Canon Solutions America in select markets in the U.S. and can be purchased through flexible options that allow for either capital or financed expenses, such as a robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) model.
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