iRobot's Roomba: Bringing Robots into Homes

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG206
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 1990-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Available Organization : iRobot Corporation
Industry : Robotics, Consumer Appliances
Countries : USA, Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

iRobot was founded in 1990 by Dr. Rodney Brooks (Brooks), Colin Angle (Angle), and Helen Greiner (Greiner). The company was named after 'I, Robot'a well-known book by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov...

Design and Development

iRobot believed that the Roomba, its flagship product, was the first practical and affordable home robot. Since its inception, iRobot had been working on developing a robot that could clean floors...

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Bringing the Roomba into Homes

The manufacture of the Roomba, based on its final design, raised several challenges for iRobot's Hong Kong-based contract manufacturer, Jetta Co. (Jetta). The development team expected the production issues to be resolved in two weeks, but the process took four months...

Expanding The Market

iRobot continued to improve upon the original Roomba. It introduced several new features for the next generation of Roombas, called the Roomba Discovery Series, launched in September 2004. It introduced features like a self charging home base (to help the Roomba find the charger and recharge its battery on its own), dirt sensors (to detect areas that were dirtier), a scheduler, and a remote control...

A Robot in Every Home

According to Greiner, it took black-and-white TVs six years, mobile phones four years, VCRs five years, and air-conditioners seven years to cross the threshold of the one million sale mark. The Roomba had surpassed that figure in two years...

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