Crystal and Oscar on patrol as Our Tampines Hub becomes latest mall to use robots

Equipped with 360-degree cameras and sensors, Crystal and Oscar can detect incidents such as overcrowding and smoking.
Equipped with 360-degree cameras and sensors, Crystal and Oscar can detect incidents such as overcrowding and smoking.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Visitors to Our Tampines Hub (OTH) might have seen new additions to the mall in the past six months: two robots named Crystal and Oscar.

Crystal, a security and concierge robot, roams the interior ground floor, providing visitors with directory information and real-time conversations with customer service officers. Her counterpart, Oscar, provides surveillance outdoors.

Equipped with 360-degree cameras and sensors, Crystal and Oscar can detect incidents such as overcrowding and smoking, and funnel the information to the smart command operations centre, where a human team decides on where to deploy security personnel, Certis Group said in a statementon Thursday (Dec 3).

The robots are also equipped with facial recognition systems which, together with the onboard cameras, help them to locate missing persons based on photos provided.

OTH is the latest to automate concierge and surveillance operations, after similar robots were rolled out at Jewel Changi Airport and National University Health System hospitals this year.

After being trialled for about six months, Crystal and Oscar were launched last Thursday as part of Certis' Smart Networked Security, comprising robots and data analytics platform Mozart.

"Smart Networked Security is our next-generation solution that can help businesses like OTH in terms of securing high density spaces through the integration of robots, artificial intelligence and, more importantly, skilled manpower," said Mr Fuji Foo, chief digital officer at Certis.

Mr Vincent Chang, OTH's deputy director of facilities management, said: "We see an average of about 1.5 million visitors every month. With multiple F&B outlets, hawker centre and 24-hour supermarket, in addition to a large number of visitors that we receive, safety and security in the hub are crucial."

According to Certis, high-density communal spaces such as OTH face a myriad challenges, such as a lack of total visibility and difficulty in tracking lost children. Crystal and Oscar increase patrolling in large-scale areas and relay information in real time, reducing response time by security officers in such situations.

Having autonomous robots patrolling alongside its security officers can help provide added security and visibility to the venue, Certis added.

Visitors also enjoy greater convenience as they can obtain information on mall events from Crystal which roves around, instead of having to locate the concierge in the 5.7ha space.

The shift to automation at OTH will help increase the productivity of the security workforce and allow it to take on higher-value tasks such as making decisions based on the data output of Mozart, said Mr Foo.

There has already been a 25 per cent increase in productivity by the human security officers at the hub, according to Certis.

Mr Chang said :"Crystal and Oscar give OTH a much needed bird's eye view of our operations by harnessing real-time data insights for greater efficiency and faster response time."