Robot receptionist starts work at Smart Dubai Office

The robot is the first of its type in the MENA region, and will not replace any team members



The Smart Dubai Office has a new employee unlike any other.

Standing at 1.5 metres tall, Farah is the first robot receptionist in the Middle East – the result of a partnership between SDO and technology business solutions provider Nearbuy, according to state news agency WAM.

Based at the SDO headquarters in Dubai Design District, Farah features a touch-screen panel which visitors to the office can use to check in, automatically alerting the employee they are due to meet. Farah will then escort guests to the meeting room, where their host will join them.

Farah – meaning ‘happiness’ in Arabic – was named following an internal competition at Smart Dubai.

Dr Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, director general of SDO, said: “Smart Dubai is delighted to host this ground-breaking experiment in artificial intelligence – the first of its kind in the region – at our offices.

“Our objective is not to replace humans with robots, rather to understand where we can automate some repetitive administrative functions to allow us to invest in and create new types of sustainable employment opportunities for talented people.

“Farah the robot has not replaced any of our team members seeing as we already had a touchscreen reception facility. It is our hope that this three-month experiment will give us some great insights into the potential uses of applied artificial intelligence in our quest to make Dubai a world-leading smart city.”