Robin is the app that puts a stop to the question, “Did you reserve this room?”

robin app smarter meetingsAfter several stints in corporate America, I know exactly how the age old game of conference rooms work. “Did you reserve this room?” If they are same title or lower, the answer is always, “Yes, we did,” then the ensuing question / debate over open rooms, finding them and whether or not outlook in fact ate the invitation. While this system had it’s flaws (namely that if you were in the middle of an important discussion, you might get bumped by those more senior, impatient or heartless), Robin aims to solve the problem.

What happens when two people walk into a room at work?

Usually, they continue and or start the conversation they had about project / plan, etc. That’s why they’re having a meeting. If they could book the room, continue uninterrupted, perhaps that would save 5 minutes? Imagine with a thousand employees, saving 5 minutes a week. That’s the same as adding, every week, two whole weeks of productivity per year. Annualized, that adds two people to the payroll, without a single new staff member.

Those kinds of productivity gains might be fictional but when you consider that office worker productivity is at an all time high, the main areas of innovation for modern spaces are, “How do we give workers back time to get mission critical tasks accomplished?” With a service like Robin, in tandem with things like light switches that go on when you walk into the room, or flick off, if there isn’t enough activity, your office space can become truly smart and context aware. Enough productivity gains, and your company has the upper hand in the category, in recruiting and in retention. While it’s easy to argue that simply adding an automated soap dispenser to the men’s room will not attract new employees, it’s the kind of convenience which makes tech enthusiasts feel like we’re finally making progress.

Cisco Webex or Google Hangouts likely the acquirer?

As more of a feature than a full blown product, Robin is easily an acquisition target for the likes of Google, Cisco Webex or Microsoft, to add to Google Apps, Office in the Cloud, or simply improve collaboration. Dropbox and Box would be two other likely, potential candidates for acquisition, or whatever company has the most meeting rooms and employees who make meetings. From their website, the API for buildings, not just conferences, is launching soon. Examples are interesting, but not comprehensive. Let’s get a bit more creative than this, shall we?

Call Robin and ask:

  1. How many people are in a room
  2. Data based on, let’s see, gender is probably available too, right?
  3. What they’re breathing patterns are like (normal, or heavily exerting themselves?)
  4. …you can see where this goes downhill, fast.

True, the building API might not be that creepy. Let’s hope not. In the meantime, Get Robin, and start making your office smarter. I say this is a winning concept, time will tell if they have a winning business too.