“The plumbing industry is constantly evolving with huge advances in technology," Plumbing & Mechanical Editor Nicole Krawcke notes. "What Bob Oates Plumbing has done is amazing. Roto-Bot could possibly be the solution to the skilled trades shortage. Let’s just hope the robot future is more like WALL-E and less like Skynet.”

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The company published this release on their website:

Bob Oates Sewer & Rooter, a family-owned and operated plumbing company, is announcing the launch of new AI-powered plumbing services, Roto-Bot, enabling more contactless interactions while helping the company scale.

“This past year has made us rethink a lot about our business - from how we interact with our customers to how we run our business today and in the future,” said founder and owner Bob Oates. “As we looked at the way automation has changed the customer service industry and is even steering the future for automotive with self-driving vehicles - we turned to the technology experts in our own backyard to help us envision how AI could help better our own business.”

In 2017, many AI experts claimed that plumbers and electricians would be the last to get replaced by robots. Since that time, the use of AI has intensified and changed the dynamics of many industries. Research firm Gartner predicted that 85% of customer interactions will be managed without humans by 2021. And according to AMEINfo, an estimated $5 billion will be invested in chatbots by 2021. The pandemic has only accelerated new technologies that allow for more contactless experiences.

As a long-standing community member in one of the most tech-forward cities in the world, Bob Oates Sewer & Rooter leveraged the expertise of their corporate neighbors to carve the next turn for the plumbing industry.

“Artificial intelligence is transforming nearly every aspect of our culture - from medicine to cars,” said computer scientist, and leading voice on AI, Matt Robinson. “But applying it to such a human-based business like plumbing felt like we were really carving a turn for a broader range of service industries.”

“We’ve always been a customer-oriented brand. We’re about people-helping-people,” said John Peterson, President of Bob Oates Sewer & Rooter. “By leveraging the expertise of the many tech giants in our own backyard, we have been able to find a way to help more people, more quickly and safely with the launch of Roto-Bot.”

Roto-Bot offers all of the skills and services a trained plumber offers, without human contact. Directed by a certified plumber outside your home, this ‘robo-plumber’ can scan situations, gather data and administer the fix without a team of plumbers entering your home. Beta tests with Roto-Bot yielded a 93-95.47% success rate in fixing minor to major plumbing issues.

“The Bot’s accuracy and performance reinforce the pivot we’re making towards an automated future. We think this will change the plumbing industry forever,” Oates said.