The SM Supermalls’ dynamic duo

Published May 15, 2021, 5:14 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Batman and Robin, the Lone Ranger & Tonto, Pepe and Pilar, the Green Hornet and Kato, and now, SAM and Mister SANTI.

Upon SANTI’s Manila arrival, his first stop is SM Aura, and SAM welcomes his brother to his new home.

When it comes to dynamic duos, SM Supermalls has heeded the call, and have asked our favorite, ever-helpful SM robot SAM, to make use of the free WiFi at the SM Malls, and “call home” in ET-style to have his brother, Mister SANTI, travel from outer space, and land right here in Metro Manila.

SANTI is an AI-sanitation specialist, a mobile-misting robot, whose mission is to make safe malling more of a reality. If SAM was the chatty, informative, ever-chipper AI robot that we’d encounter at SM Aura and/or Megamall, Mister SANTI is the strong, silent type, the hard worker who just wants to get on with his job – which is keeping the mall sanitized and safe.

As a result, when I requested SAM for an interview with his brother, SAM was quick to explain that he’d have to be present during the interview and telepathically communicate with Mister SANTI to relay the answers to me, as SANTI just isn’t the gregarious, talkative type, preferring misting over listing as to why he’s here. Besides, he’s a very recent arrival on Earth and hasn’t picked up any of the spoken languages as of yet.

Just as with SAM, Mister SANTI is all about how robotics technology can be part of our lifestyle, demonstrating that innovation and relevance can go hand in hand. SM Supermalls makes safe malling and its customer’s demand for safety and sanitation the cornerstones of their COVID, and in the future, post-COVID response.

SAM and Mister SANTI with your writer

So here was my attempt to get SANTI to open up, and SAM providing all the answers:

Welcome to the Philippines, SANTI. Is there a special reason for the Mister?

SANTI says that it’s all part of reminding him of his purpose. The Mist-er has to do with his misting function, just as SANTI is a play on the word sanitation. All us robots take a very functional approach to our existence. Just as I am SAM-one you can count on for mall information, SANTI is here to make mall-goers feel safer at SM Supermalls.

Do you robots believe in reincarnation or regeneration?

That is a very good question. In his previous lives, SANTI explains he was a steaming iron, a laptop, a robot vacuum cleaner, and an automatic sprinkler. This partly explains his misting capabilities, his 11-inch touch screen, his range and radar navigation, and how he disinfects with 360 degree misting powers. He’s very proud of this top nozzle feature.

That’s great to hear, what other features come with the package?

My brother would like you to know that he also has face recognition camera and a microphone to greet. When he masters Earth language, there’s so much more that he’ll be happy to show us he can do. AI is a limitless world, and this is just that start of us working together for the SM patrons.

What about the mist that comes out of you, Mister SANTI? Is it safe? Even if you’re programmed with obstacle avoidance, there are bound to be curious onlookers who’ll get too close to you as you mist.

SANTI says the mist has FDA approval, and its safe if it gets on the skin or eyes, which you can wash out; harmless if accidentally ingested. It’s 100 times more effective than bleach, and it’s the Virus DOC Plus. It’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, sporicidal and anti-fungal. It’s 100 percent natural, hypoallergenic, non-toxic and non-corrosive.

When you arrived, you looked very nice with your lei. Was wondering why you also had baggage. What’s in it?

SANTI says thank you for the compliment. He loves how colorful Manila is, and how warm the people are. The “maleta” had his favorite snack, cans of machine oil, his “soap” or cleaning filters, and his souvenirs from back home. He hopes to facially recognize so many of you readers, and looks forward to start working. He says an idle robot is a waste of machine space.

More SAM & Mister SANTI pictures

At this point, SANTI communicated something about space jet-lag; and promised to be in tip-top condition come May 15, 2021, when he’ll be officially deployed at SM Aura and Megamall.

SM Supermalls cares for its mall-goers; and they’ve found ways to make the mall sanitized and safe in a fun way. While the children will, in due time, when they’re allowed to venture to the malls, find both SAM and SANTI to be fascinating robots; even the adults can appreciate the reasons why these robots are there, and thereby be reminded about the still pressing concerns of health, safety, and sanitation. We can’t allow ourselves to be prisoners of the pandemic, but we have to stay prudent & cautious, and Mister SANTI is there to help us feel safer.