Thursday in CE: Wal-Mart Testing Logistics Robots in Some Stores
Having been a sales floor team member at another big box retailer, I can certainly empathize with the logistics team employees who have the tall task of walking each and every aisle to make sure the shelves are stocked with product. It’s a grueling and time-consuming task having to scan empty spots, check to see if the product is in the back, and then replenish the product. And, more often than not, that product is out, which means having to put that SKU into a system so the nearby distributor knows to put that product on the next available truck in order to get that product back in stock.
Wal-Mart thinks it’s found a way to ease the burden on actual employees with regard to in-store logistics, freeing up their time to work on other tasks. Their answer, it seems, is a team of shelf-scanning robots that can do the work for them.
According to a report in Reuters, Wal-Mart is testing out these robot logistics team members in about 40 stores, tasking them with identifying empty shelf space, scanning said space, and replenishing inventory—all at a faster clip than what a human employee is capable of.
“If you are running up and down the aisle, and you want to decide if we are out of Cheerios or not, a human doesn’t do that job very well and they don’t like it,” Wal-Mart CTO Jeremy King told Reuters.
According to King, the robots are roughly 50 percent more productive than their human counterparts. They can scan shelves three times faster, they’re far more accurate, and they do so without complaining. (All fair points.) Additionally, as the robots scan shelves, they can identify if a customer—or a lazy employee—has left a product in the wrong spot.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) October 26, 2017
For all of the effort companies have put into developing smart light bulbs, there might be an easier (and less expensive) way for consumers to take control over their lighting situation—the switch itself.
Noon Home, a smart product manufacturer, is banking on that concept with the launch of its Noon Smart Lighting Starter Kit. Available for $400, the kit comes with a master Room Director Switch and two extension switches that would give the user control of far more than a single light bulb.
The price might seem a little high, but consider how many lamps and other lights you have throughout your home, and then consider replacing them all with smart bulbs that can range in price from $20-$50 depending on the brand and other factors. That can add up quickly when you’re talking about controlling a whole home or even a couple of rooms. And they don’t last forever, so they’ll need to be replaced at some point.
That makes the switch option a little bit more appealing, I’d say.
More CE News
- The new Apple Watch, which lets users stream music and radio over LTE, might just be the best version of the iPod in 2017.
- To help in the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced his company would install solar panels and energy storage batteries to help the country get back online. It’s already helping to turn the lights back on at a local children’s hospital.
- A U.S. District Court judge got a little salty when commenting on the continued legal battles between Apple and Samsung, which are going on five years now.