Recently the LeadershipGarage presented the results of a research study on remote communication using the Beam Smart Presence system. The Beam Smart Presence system is a controllable robot with display which enables users to simulate a physical presence during remote conversations. 15 participants were present on Beam robots at the Beam Shop of Suitable Technologies in Paolo Alto, California, while sitting in places as distant as Germany, France, and Israel. Our research analyzed its use in business environments, and found three distinct levels of immersion into the system required for successful communication. Prof. Dr. Sabine Remdisch, director of the LeadershipGarage, and Louise Kyhl-Triolo, head of the Airbus Leadership University were personally present to lead the presentation. Two researchers from the LeadershipGarage who conducted the interviews also beamed in to summarize results, Nina Woock and James Long.
Different situations in which the participants used the Beam were analyzed. These included one on one situations as well as team meetings with audiences as large as 60 people, and also in combination with other forms of digital communication such as video conference. The main results of our study focused on three levels of immersion into the Beam Smart Presence system. These were the Personal, Interpersonal, and Organizational levels. We detailed these levels as well as their respective aspects which need to be addressed in order to ensure successful communication. After the presentation, all participants drove their Beams to form a discussion circle. Here we dove further into some topics including building trust remotely. We were also able to hear some reflections and reactions directly from participants in the study.
Coordinating and participating in a meeting with almost a dozen robotic participants presented new challenges and the need for thorough technical preparation. It embodied the digitally progressive and experimental design of both this research study as well as the continued research of the LeadershipGarage.