Naver — a soup-to-nuts internet conglomerate in South Korea — has been experimenting with integrating robots into office life for several months. Inside a futuristic, starkly industrial, 36-story high-rise on the outskirts of Seoul, a fleet of about 100 robots cruise around on their own, moving from floor to floor on robot-only elevators and sometimes next to humans, rolling through security gates and entering meeting rooms.
Naver’s network of web services, including a search engine, maps, email and news aggregation, is dominant in South Korea, but its reach abroad is limited, lacking the global renown of a company like Google. The company has been on the hunt for new avenues for growth. In October, it agreed to acquire Poshmark, an online secondhand retailer, for $1.2 billion. Now, Naver sees the software that powers robots in corporate office spaces as a product that other companies may eventually want.