Suitable Technologies just announced their new Beam+ remote presence robot and is offering the first 1,000 units at a price of $995 (thereafter it will be $1,995). First shipments are scheduled for Summer, 2014.
The new Beam+ clearly separates from the corporate Beam in their advertising videos on their website: Beam has a leasing plan and is oriented for business use; Beam+ is a straightforward purchase and geared for home and small business use. Beam+ uses your home or business wifi signal (instead of switching between two dual-band radios and 4G), has scaled down battery life (2 hours instead of 8 on the original Beam), has a 10″ screen (instead of 17″) and has an array of four microphones (compared to 6 on the Beam).
For start-ups and other small businesses – with consistent flooring and strong Internet bandwidth – the discount-priced Beam+ seems like an affordable device to enable roving employes and consultants to check in and move around the office while traveling. Plus it’s fun and techie. Certainly it’s a bargain compared to the $16,000 purchase price for the original Beam.