No Ifs, Ands or Bots

Courtesy of  Flickr
By Carl Weiss

If you think that household robots are a thing of the future, think again. Robots are starting to poke their heads up everywhere.  Whereas little as a few years ago. The only personal robots were those that swept up after you, the next generation of bots are being primed to do everything from entertaining your children, to performing surgery.  More importantly, the rise of artificial intelligence means that before you know it, you could be competing with bots for jobs.  If you don’t know your droid from a hole in the ground, stay tuned as I part the curtains to show you what’s what with bots.

Robots that Rocked the Millenium
Courtesy of Wikipedi

1998 Furby

While everyone in the 20th century was familiar with movie droids like R2D2 and 3CPO, by the turn of the century, household robots were little more than toys.  Take the Furby, for instance.  Looking like a cross between a gremlin and an owl, this robotic plaything sold nearly 2 million units in 1998 alone.    While these furry bots don’t do much more than blink their eyelids, wiggle their ears and talk, their appeal was in the fact that they came out of the box speaking only Furbish and you as the owner, would teach Furby English.   They also had various pressure sensors such as on their belly and inside their mouths that when pressed would elicit a response.  The unit also came with an infrared sensor that allowed it to communicate with other Furbies.  While amusing, these turn of the century bots didn’t have any practical applications other than entertainment. ( Furby later went on to sell more than 40 million units.)

1999 Aibo

So if you can’t have a robot friend, how about a robotic variant of man’s best friend?  Sony Robotics launched Aibo, the robotic dog in 1999.  This little doggie wagged its tail, did play bows, walked on all fours and did a little doggie dance.  While it won’t fetch your slippers, it also doesn’t need to be house-trained.  It also likes to play with a ball.  While it doesn’t bite or bark, it will give you its paw.  Sony stopped making them in 2006 when they shut their robotic division down.  But you can still find them for sale on eBay and Amazon in the $500-$700 range.  Good dog!

2000 Asimo

Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons
That’s not to say that super cool robots weren’t being developed at the turn of the century.  They were.  They just weren’t being sold to the general public.  2000 saw the birth of Asimo by, of all things, Honda.  Yeah, the same company that makes cars and motorcycles.  While most people think that the robot got its name by shortening the monicker of I Robot author Isaac Asimov, Asimo actually stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.  And the Step part of the title is the key, because Asimo walks, trots, climbs stairs and even kicks soccer balls. 

Looking like a 4-foot tall astronaut, Asimo was designed with service in mind.  Made of magnesium covered with plastic, this bipedal droid was created to assist its human owners.  The rub is that to date; Honda has never offered the unit for sale, which is a shame since this is exactly what the average homeowner wants.  The problem is that each unit costs 6-figures to produce.  As a result, Asimo has served as a kind of robot ambassador by going on a worldwide tour during the years 2003 to 2005.  So if you are in the market for a robot maid like Rosey the Robot, you’re just going to have to wait. 

Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons
2002 Roomba

While not exactly a maid, the Roomba was made to sweep floors all by itself.  Once activated, the droid which looks like a rolling floor scale navigates your home by using sensors to detect dirt, as well as change directions whenever it encounters an obstacle.  It also keeps an electronic eye out for steep drops to keep it from taking a tumble down the stairs.  (As of 2016, there have been seven generations of Roomba.)  When one considers that more than 10 million units have been sold, then one would have to say that iRobot, maker of the Roomba, is the one that really cleaned up.

Designed by Mark Tilden and produced by Wow Wee Toys, was an advanced remote controlled robotic toy that walked, talked (sort of), danced, picked up objects (sometimes) and tried his best to do his owners bidding.  Standing at just over a foot tall, the bipedal bot sold more than 1.4 million units in 2004 alone.  When you consider that each unit costs in the neighborhood of $100, this is a lot of bot for the buck.  Another first for Robosapien was its participation in the world’s first soccer tournament for humanoid robots that took place at the German Open in 2005.

2007 Pleo the Dinosaur

For all of you waiting for a real live Jurassic Park moment, how does a robotic baby dinosaur grab you?  While he won’t menace you and your family, Pleo does have a tendency to nip at fingers.  He also likes to be stroked like a cat and tickled. Like any respectable baby Dino, he will also toddle around the floor.  ($639 on Amazon)

2010 World’s 1st Robot Chorus Line
While they may not give the Rockettes a run for their money, on June 21, 2010, twenty nao robots strutted their stuff on stage to Rabel’s Bolero.  Similar articulated robots are available on Amazon for $420 that dance, do yoga and perform kung fu moves.  Can you say robotic Bruce Lee?

The Best Bots of 2015/2016

Robomow RC306

If you thought the Roomba was a great way to avoid the drudgery of vacuuming, wait until you meet Robomow, the robotic lawn mower.  For 1,200, you get a lawnbot that not only knows its way around your yard, but it knows its way home to its charger.  It even comes with an app that you can use to phone home to tell Robomow when to do its thing.  Your teenager will thank you.

iRobot Looj

Here’s a solution to another dirty job, cleaning out the gutters.  iRobot, the same company that makes the Roomba has created the Looj, the gutter cleaning robot.  I am not making this up.  All that is required is for you to climb a ladder and place Looj on the gutter so it can do its thing.  Looking like a cross between a tiny toy tank and an alley cat, this $300 handybot.

Gourmia GCR-1700 10-in-1 

Programmable Multi Cooker with Exclusive Robotic Hands-Free StirrerYou’ve heard the old adage, “A watched pot never boils?”  Now kitchen appliance maker Gourmia has developed an automated cooker that purportedly can stir and cook all kinds of meals for you at the touch of a button.  While it won’t put the likes of Emeril Lagasse out of business, if you’re all thumbs in the kitchen, you might want to check out this robot chef. ($129 on Amazon.)

Coming to a Store Near You

While all of these bots are interesting, entertaining and even useful, they are still a far cry from being anywhere as intelligent as the movie version of R2D2, not to mention 3CPO.  So when can we expect to see droids that can truly interact with us?

JIBO (Pronounced Gee-Bow)

Touted as the world’s first family robot, Jibo is different from every bot that has come before.  While he doesn’t get around, he moves around, able to swivel his head 360 degrees to track you and yours.  Why would you want him to do that?  He is a terrific cameraman that can capture those magic moments in stills or video.  He’s also the ultimate digital assistant, capable of keeping you up to date with your busy schedule. He’s a storyteller and a digital valet that can order take out and turn on the lights when you enter a room.  So when can you get a Jibo of your own?  Soon, if the folks at have anything to say about it. All you can do for now is sign up for their prelaunch waitlist.

Autonomous AI Personal Robot

Here is a Jibo on a stick that was crowdsourced on kickstarter.  Purportedly able to do most everything that Jibo can and then some, this $1,499 personal digital assistant on steroids is touted as the world’s first artificial intelligence personal robot, she can get around on wheels as she interacts with you throughout your busy day.  She can wake you up in the morning, start the coffee and help you plan your day.  Heck, she can give you fashion tips, keep track of your vital statistics and participate in office meetings, if you can believe her press releases.  She’s supposed to start shipping on April 30, 2017.

Courtesy of Pixabay
No article about bot would be complete without mention droids from Star Wars. In fact, R2D2 was one of the first take home droids to follow voice commands to scout your house or act as a guard to warn you when someone was coming. Ofcourse it could also follow prorammed routs and routines. New StarWrs fan will be happy to know that the cute BB8 droid is has been available to take home since last Christmas when the new episode came out. Like its prediseor R2D2, it can accept programs to perform many different type of task. The coolest thing is it rolls around just like the one in the movie. Here is a list of features from VAT19 website;
  • Controllable and interactive spherical droid
  • Bluetooth-enabled RC droid compatible with iOS and Android 4.4.2+
  • Listens and responds to voice commands
  • “Projects” holographic communications via augmented reality
  • Autonomous behavior and adaptive personality
  • Officially-licensed Star Wars product
  • Includes: BB-8 droid, inductive charging cradle, USB cable
  • External material: painted plastic

The bottom line on personal bots is that while Star Wars fans might have to wait a bit longer before they can have a smart droid of their very own, at this juncture the prospect isn’t in a galaxy far away.

Get your FREE ebook today!
In this article, I have discussed the current state of bot technology, especially for personal use. I have covered what I believe are the 12 best personal bot develop since 1998 through the present. Lots of detail, pictures and video are provided for the reader to view and explore.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family, and co-workers. If you would like to learn more about this subject, visit the notes page on this blog for the BlogTalkRadio show dated 11/01/16. I recommend checking out "The Next Generation - Putting Your Best Robot Forward" and "Praise the Borg and Pass the Ammunition".  You can also search for other related articles by typing in “typing in robots or androids” in the search box top of this blog. Also, don't forget to plus us on Google+.  

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will give you immediate access to it. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Carl Weiss is president of a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida that routinely works with bloggers and other online marketers

Related articles

It's Midnight - Do You Know Where Your Data is?

Courtesy of  Pixabay

Data Protection in the 21st Century

By Hector Cisneros

Ok, so it’s midnight, and hopefully, you're asleep, and all your data is safe and sound all over the internet, right? What, my data is all over the internet? How can I protect my data if it’s not in my control? Can I really back up data that’s out on the web? Is my security strong enough to stop hackers? Does my service provider have top notch security? Can I restore any lost or stolen data? If you’re asking these kinds of questions, you're wondering if living in the cloud is safe after all. So, why have a backup at all if the cloud isn’t safe? I have three words for you -  Data Breach, Ransomware, and ID Thief! Ok, so that's five words! But the fact remains, most internet users have more vulnerabilities today than ever before! So, if you want to find out how to better protect yourself and any company data that’s in the cloud, tune in and turn on to this week’s episode of Working the Web to Win where we will explore “How to Protect Your Data in the 21st Century.”

The Evolution of Touch Marketing in the 21St Century

Courtesy of  Pixabay
By Hector Cisneros

Touch marketing used to be the sole domain of junk mail marketers. Then email became the dominant form of touch marketing. In 2010 our digital world shifted again with the emergence of social media. Today, Touch Marketing can be implemented in a variety of ways. Best of all, a marketer can gain synergy by maintaining a unified brand and implementing coordinated campaigns via their Blogging, Social Media and Email Newsletter touch marketing elements. Don't get me wrong, mail and email still work, but they are one-sided conversations with minimal engagement. Engagement is the key! Blogging and social posts are where the real touch marketing battles are being won. So, if you’re ready to learn how to coordinate these marketing elements to maximize your return on investment, read on and discover why touch marketing in the 21st Century is the key to building customer trust and closing more deals in today’s competitive marketplace.

Reach Out & Touch Someone

The big question today is: why should I engage in touch marketing? I’m on page one of Google search! I can buy Pay Per Click to reach prospects. I can use my organic position to gain traffic. Heck, I can even simply email prospects to get people to see my offer! But what if you’re not on page one of Google search or your cost for Pay Per Click has skyrocketed, or worse, you’ve been branded a spammer, and your email marketing is being blocked by everyone on the planet! Now, what do you do? You obviously need another approach.

Courtesy of  Pixabay
I often get asked - Why would I want to use a coordinated touch marketing campaign? The answer is simple. Today, competition is stiffer than ever. Rarely do shoppers buy the first time they visit your website. Trust is at an all-time low! Most internet shoppers believe that the internet is riddled with unscrupulous websites trying to fleece them of their money. Trust is one of the most precious commodities you can provide. It is only second to usefulness, relevance, and timeliness for the product or service you provide.

By combining your blogging, social media, newsletter and email marketing, you can increase the trust factors needed to get prospects to the next step of calling you or buying your product or service. The devil is in the details for this coordinated program to work. The key is to always be congruent with your brand, always be honest with your presentation and always give the prospect a compelling reason to take the next step, whatever that next step is.

Here is a partial list of different types of touch marketing:

Courtesy of  Flickr
  • ·         Ratings - It is very important that you cultivate high ratings and positive reviews in today’s socially active marketplace. People feel that ratings are important and place a high value on them. Having negative reviews can be the death knell for your marketing.
  • ·         Social Network Marketing Posting useful information along with a mix of testimonials and an occasional special is a great way to engage your followers.
  • ·         Blogging - Provide high-quality magazine length blogs with offers embedded in the articles or on the sidebars or the articles provide useful content, have a long shelf life, builds credibility, creates loyal followers and provide strong traffic. A real engagement powerhouse.
  • ·         Article Marketing – Article marketing allows you to gain a higher level of credibility by being published on third party e-zines. Many allow backlinks and author profiles, and some allow ad’s and offer embedded in the article designed to produce the right kind of Website traffic, even phone calls.
  • ·         Social Media Promoted Ads (Social PPC) – You can use social PPC to target your followers and those who like your social sites. You can run boosted ads in the timeline or sidebar ads. These can be useful if your ad motivates followers to return to your fan page or promotional page. It gives you another shot at them to take a look at your offer.
  • ·         Podcasting – A lot of people love podcasts. It’s another way of providing content that can contain a soft promotional offer with testimonials and endorsements. Podcasts have a long shelf life, especially if it’s produced as an Internet radio show. It can also be fodder (additional touches) for your social nets.
  • ·         Newsletters - Email newsletters to your opt-in customer/prospect base. These infotainment newsletters can be used to create more traffic (a very high organic ranking factor) and to give your prospects/client a second bite of the blog or offers promoted in the newsletter.
  • ·         Sponsored Articles & Ads – These are a hybrid between blogs and PPC
    Courtesy of  Pixabay
    marketing. Often they are run on Yahoo or Bing. They are becoming popular on the social nets that offer newsfeeds like LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • ·         Retargeting Ads – These are network ads that continue to follow a visitor and serve them the same or similar ads that they are interested in. It’s a type of PPC ad except it's not running in search. Here again it adds an additional touch.
  • ·         Industry Specific Directory Ads – If your industry has a directory that has a highly targeted audience, it may be a fruitful place to run an ad to gain additional branded touches. 
  • ·         Partnership Banner Ads – These run on blogs, video channels, and other symbiotic websites. It's completely okay to enter into an arrangement with another company that has the same customer demographics, along with the high traffic you’re looking for. Make sure it's cost-effective and feel free to negotiate for perks and exclusivity.
There is no doubt that being listed on page one of Google organic search is a great place to be. However, it is much harder today to achieve a page one organic position in the search engines. Having said that, understand that it’s not the only way to get traffic and sell your goods on the web. Touch marketing has always been a staple of many businesses. Newsletters, catalogs, postcards and their electronic counterparts have been used successfully for years. The second biggest marketing battleground on the internet is the social networks. In our socially active world, the social media battleground can often generate high traffic at a lower cost than search engine position or pay per click. We have seen client blogs produce 25 to 100 percent more traffic than their website generated. Good, high-quality blog content is a powerful marketing weapon when used as fodder for the social nets.

We have also seen instances where combining blogs, social networks, and email newsletter elements have increased a client’s traffic by 150% or more. On top of that, their close ratio went up by 35% as well. These numbers are consistent across most industries. However, it is extremely important that the content and branded elements be delivered in a timely and regular schedule. Any sign of incongruence hurts the overall ability of the campaigns to build trust and get the prospect to take the next step. Here is a must use checklist of items, that when implemented, will ensure a high level of success.

1.    Quality - Your content needs to be of high quality. This is especially true for blogs and articles.
Courtesy of Working the Web to Win
Make sure all your content is proofed and error-free!
2.    Useful - Your social content has to be useful to build trust and loyalty. Posting direct sales ads will not help you.
3.    Timely - Your content needs to be timely. Posting information about Christmas in March won’t cut it.
4.    Relevant - Your content needs to be relevant to your prospect's needs. It’s all about them and not about you or your product.
5.    Funny - Old fashioned infotainment also plays well. Funny still helps the sale.
6.    Compelling offer - Your content has to contain a good reason for the prospect to take the next step. Your offer has to remove the risk from the transaction. It needs to build trust as well.
7.    Easily understood - Your content and your offer cannot be complex or lengthy in nature. If hard to understand or takes a lot to digest, it will not build trust and the prospect will not move forward.
8.    Video - Use video wherever possible. A short video of 90 seconds or less can convey a highly motivating message.
9.    Pictures - Good pictures or images will be more compelling than just words alone.
10.  Testimonials - People believe your customers more that they believe your ads. Use customer testimonials and positive reviews to help prospects take the next step.
11.  Focused - Make sure all of your landing pages and website pages are subject-focused, easy to understand, and are professionally proofed and error-free.
12.  Trust Elements - Make sure all of your landing pages and websites have the top five trust-building elements on them. These include Easy to find phone number, mailing address, unique selling proposition, testimonial video and compelling offer.

Courtesy of Pixabay
It today’s highly competitive marketing arena, businesses have to take their marketing game to the next level to win prospects over. Even though internet sales are up every year, trust on the internet is at an all-time low. The constant media attention about hackers, the increasing number of phishing sites and ransomware scares, all tend to make the prospective shopper more hesitant when it comes to making a final buying decision. Today’s internet marketer needs to concentrate on building consumer trust if they want to get prospects to take the plunge and buy their products and services. Following the steps and implementing our checklist items will ensure your business can obtain consumer trust and get prospects to take the next step in the buying process. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

In this article, I have provided examples of why touch marketing is important in today’s highly competitive marketing environment. I have included examples of various types of touch marketing, success story examples and a checklist that contains a dozen items that will ensure your success.

If you’d like to read more articles like this, check out: Is it Time to Fire the Postman?, 21 Century Email - What's New, What Works, What's Scary, Touch Marketing – How to Win the Day & Get the Girl and Seven Valuable Benefits Social Networks Provide and Social Media Marketers Covet. You can also type “Touch Marketing” in the search box at the top of this blog to find even more.

Get your FREE copy today!
If you feel your business could use some marketing help, contact us at 904-410-2091 and we will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, coworkers and associates.  If you have something to add related to this article or have a different opinion, place them in the Comments section below.  

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below, and we will give you immediate access to it. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.

Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business.  Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer on EZine Online and is an active blogger (including ghostwriting).  He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above.  He’s also the co-author of the book, “Working the Web to Win,” which is now available on

Related articles