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Automating the Workforce for the 21st Century with Ross Blum
Episode 5518th August 2022 • Before IT Happened • Donna Loughlin X StudioPod Media
00:00:00 00:35:00

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If robots are coming to take our jobs, let’s give them a really dangerous one: window washing. Ross Blum, president and COO at Skyline Robotics, joins host Donna Loughlin to talk about his company’s window washing robot, Ozmo. And cleaning is just the start. If Skyline Robotics achieves its vision, inspections, polishing, masonry, repairs, and testing, “all work at height” will be automated. 

Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life. 

JUMP STRAIGHT INTO:

(03:12) - Ross Blum, the boy who grew up among skyscrapers: “Not every kid gets to go to the natural history museum every time they want to go to the Natural History Museum, or go to Central Park.”

(07:28) - Living the Monopoly life right our of school: “I had a legal background and he asked me if I could go sell the company. And so being 26 years old and having no experience doing that, I looked at him in the eyes and told him, ‘Of course I could get this done for you!’” 

(10:41) - The world of window washing: “In Skyline Robotics “We want to automate the field of facade access and make it not just more efficient, but safer. It's an incredibly dangerous and grueling job to be on the side of buildings each and every day.”

(16:14) - The origins of Ozmo, the robot that cleans windows: “When Avi [Abadi] was sort of envisioning these sort of like dull, dangerous and dirty fields that maybe he could create a technology to help support it, candidly seemed like no one was focused on this industry and that no one was really trying to focus their technology to help real estate assets.”

(18:10) - What it is like to work with Ozmo: “Currently we still have an operator [in New York], really just a human in the basket who isn’t doing anything, but is monitoring, making sure that everything is operating safely and can report back that everything is safe. But in a market like our home market in Tel Aviv and Israel, we don’t have anybody in the basket because the technology doesn’t require it.”

 (23:38) - Not a year-round business: “We are still confined by weather. When it is below freezing we shouldn't be operating Ozmo the same way that a traditional window cleaning operation would not operate either.”

(28:16) - On cost versus safety: “While we have great safety regulations in the United States and mostly in Western Europe as well, there are many other parts of the world where safety incidents unfortunately do happen every single day.”

(29:32) - Data Analytics and future applications: “We want them to be able to sign into a dashboard and understand exactly what work has been done today. What cracks and caulking or aluminum or HVAC leakages have been noticed. Help them build preventative maintenance plans, help them build different building operational strategies.”

(32:39) - The future is bright for Ozmo and Skyline Robotics: “I don't see an actual real slowdown in new construction and new development. So what that is telling me is there are still going to be more and more windows to clean. In cities there is major construction happening, not just on a regional basis in the U.S., but really on a global scale as well.”



EPISODE RESOURCES: 

Connect with Ross on LinkedIn

See Ozmo at work in Tel Aviv

Learn more about Skyline Robotics

Connect with Skyline Robotics on LinkedIn and Twitter


Listen to Before IT Happened’s: Making America Safer One Crime-Fighting Robot at a Time with Knightscope co-founders William Santana Li and Stacy D. Stephens


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Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Susanna Camp.




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