Fair warning, readers, this is going to be an angry column based on my recent experiences, as well as family and friends, with mobile apps and other business-to-consumer interfaces. This is anger based on frustration brought about by a need to constantly correct issues and follow up on just about every significant transaction made through a B2C (business-to-consumer) Website or mobile app. The cast of characters include Amazon, Wal-Mart, Apple, banks, insurance companies including MetLife, Cablevision, and local merchants. In short, just about everyone I need to use in my daily life.
Since 2011, when I began contributing to this magazine, I have keep an eye on Amazon, reporting on its patenting activity around logistics processes, its use of robotics and other automation in the ongoing improvement of its fulfillment centers, and the strategic positioning of these centers close to high-density population centers to support its quest for same-day deliveries.
My recent experience demonstrating an AR (augmented reality) workflow at ProMat, the largest material handling tradeshow in the United States, falls under the category of teaching old dogs new tricks. I am the old dog; AR is the new trick. The good news is learning to use AR was not difficult, and the experience was positive and even fun to do.
We are seeing 2017 is starting off with a significant media focus on voice recognition technology, with prominent publications such as The Economist double-downing on its coverage by making it the cover story and sole subject of its first Technology Quarterly of the New Year.
Wikipedia broadly defines the IoT (Internet of Things) as a “network of physical devices that enables these objects to collect and exchange data.” A physical device can be a sensor, a car, a building and any other “smart” object. Things that were once considered “dumb” can be made smart by embedding sensors in them. There are now billions of devices collecting and exchanging and receiving data to keep check on our lives, economy and planet. Every smart device is a point or node in a network.
My highly personal and unscientific survey of the media coverage about the IoT (Internet of Things) suggests that glowing reviews of progress and future brilliance overwhelmingly outweigh cautionary commentary.
Most consumers who shop online have no awareness of the complexity of the supply chains that have been created to fulfill orders and deliver them on a promised or guaranteed date.
Since the introduction of Scientific Management in the 1880s by Frederick Taylor, human labor in factories and other commercial venues such as distribution centers has been scrutinized with the objective of increasing the productivity of workers.
I woke up this morning to find a front page story in The Wall Street Journal about the vandalizing of robotic sign wavers in Los Angeles.
Previously, we described how the change in the way customers buy what they want from retailers had challenged fulfillment operations in distribution centers.
Put yourself in the position of the head of a small to midsize company that makes products that have served customers well, products that functioned perfectly as standalone items dedicated to a particular purpose.
On August 12, the University of Cambridge (UK) first published highlights of efforts by its researchers to design, build, and deploy a “mother” robot capable of making 10 “children,” determine which of the 10 were the “best fit” to its intended use, and then incorporate the features of the best child into the next generation of children it would produce
Most of us have heard a rising tone of alarm from technologists, educators, social scientists, and politicians about the growing gap between the “haves” and “have nots.”
The successful CEO is many things, but foremost, a leader. Leaders require courage, the conviction of their beliefs, and the savvy to bring together as one the many moving parts of a modern company.
Some things we see directly with our eyes, and some we do not. In fact, there are many things we do not see directly, but find evidence of their existence through intermediaries which we have built: Our scientific instrumentation.