Amazon is repurposing its household Astro Robot, to act as a security guard for the business community.

Amazon announced “Astro for Business’, a security solution for small and medium-sized businesses that combines robotics, smart security, and artificial intelligence (AI).”

The Astro Robot had been introduced by Amazon back in September 2021, and back then it said the moving robot was designed to wheel itself around a user’s home, or keep an eye on intruders, or even keep children occupied.

Amazon’s Astro robot. Image credit: Amazon

Astro robot

The Astro robot came with digital eyes on a rotating screen mounted on wheels, namely two primary wheels for motion and a third, smaller wheel at the back to help with navigation around the house at a speed on one metre per second.

A periscope camera could rise out of Astro’s head to take a good look at things above floor level, such as what foods and spices are on a person’s kitchen shelves for example.

Astro was also equipped with Alexa, so the robot can follow the user from room to room while playing their favourite shows, podcasts, or music.

It could also find a user in a house in order to deliver reminders, let them know that a timer went off, take a family photo, and notify the user of incoming Alexa calls.

However there was questions over the commercial success of the Astro robot, and some media suggested it has only sold a couple of hundred units.

This could be due to its rather expensive price tag of $1,599, and being available in limited quantities and on an invite-only basis.

Astro for Business

Now two years later Amazon has announced Astro for Business for the US market only.

And it will cost significantly more, priced at an eye watering $2,349.99.

Essentially Amazon wants businesses to use its Astro robot as a roving security guard in their stores to detect break-ins and other threats.

Amazon Astro for Business.
Image credit Amazon

It combines robotics, smart security, and artificial intelligence (AI), and customers can tailor Astro for Business with separately sold subscriptions including Ring Protect Pro (which links to Ring sensors, cameras etc) and Astro Secure, a new subscription that offers business security features, such as smart alerts, custom patrol routes, and scheduled patrols.

Customers can also add Virtual Security Guard for additional professional monitoring capabilities.

“Security continues to be a headache for business owners,” said Anthony Robson, head of product for Amazon Astro. “According to the National Retail Federation, businesses have faced losses of nearly $100 billion in 2022. But traditional security solutions can be too static or expensive for what businesses need.”

“We think Astro for Business can help with that,” said Robson. “We have been testing Astro in a variety of businesses and have seen firsthand how Astro’s intelligent motion helped provide visibility on blind spots and areas that existing stationary cameras couldn’t see, giving business owners peace of mind because their inventory and property are protected, even when they aren’t there.”

Customers can control Astro by using the Amazon Astro app, making it easy to check in remotely, communicate with employees, change patrol frequencies, and arm and disarm Astro.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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