After years of development, Lowe’s has rolled out its Lo Bot, a helpful machine created to guide customers around the company’s massive big-box stores. Ask Lo Bot where an item is and the robot will take you right to it.
The Lo Bot isn’t the only robot showing up at retail operations. Another robot, a humanoid known as Pepper, has been showing up in different stores around the world. A version of Pepper has been infused with IBM’s Watson cognitive computing technology. The Watson integration is open to app developers and could lead to all new capabilities for the robot.
Behind the scenes, Amazon has been employing robots to revolutionize e-commerce for some time. Amazon’s Kiva robots swarm around the company’s warehouses at 3 to 4 miles per hour, allowing the company to squeeze in 50% more inventory in its warehouses. The little robots pick up shelves from far off places in the warehouse and bring them directly to the humans who will pack items from the shelf.
Andra Keay, the founder of Robot Launchpad, told Forbes here that the reason robots are so effective is, they “are capable of great skill and sophistication in very narrow areas. What interests me is we can add robot assistance at parts of the value chain that people don’t do well and don’t tend to like doing.”
These robots all have one thing in common, their connection to the Internet. They are part of the boom that is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT isn’t computers or tablets or phones, the more traditional places people have logged on to their web browsers, but is instead the collection of devices, tools, and even robots that are connected to the Internet with the intention of performing their job better.
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