DUBAI- The Smart Dubai Office, SDO, has partnered with regional technology business solutions provider, Nearbuy, to host a trial of the first robot receptionist in the Middle East.

Farah, which stands at 1.50 metres tall, started work today at the Smart Dubai Office headquarters in the Dubai Design District. It features a touch-screen panel where visitors to the office can check in, automatically alerting the employee they are meeting of their arrival. The robot will then escort guests to the meeting room, allowing them to settle in while waiting for their host to join them.

Farah, which means happiness in Arabic, was named following an internal competition conducted at Smart Dubai.

Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office, welcomed her new team member, saying "Smart Dubai is delighted to host this ground-breaking experiment in artificial intelligence the first of its kind in the region at our offices. Our objective is not to replace humans with robots, rather to understand where we can automate some repetitive administrative functions to allow us to invest in and create new types of sustainable employment opportunities for talented people.""Farah the robot has not replaced any of our team members seeing as we already had a touchscreen reception facility. It is our hope that this three-month experiment will give us some great insights into the potential uses of applied artificial intelligence in our quest to make Dubai a world-leading smart city. We are also looking forward to sharing the insights with other partner government entities as we additionally seek to maximise the use of new technologies in the public sector," she added.

Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2017.