The Daily Reckoning – Midea, a Chinese appliances company, sees a big future for robotics on the production line. In July, it became the largest shareholder of Kuka, German robotic company that produces robotic systems for a wide range of production line tasks.
Perry Kramer, vice president of the Boston Retail Partners consulting firm, sees heavy investments in warehouse automation.
Showroom tech will follow while customers become used to robots that recognize them by name, know their purchase preferences and lead shoppers to their usual products. The retail workforce will shrink in number, Kramer says, but will be paid better for the required technical expertise workers will need to keep the digital showrooms running smoothly.
Glimpsing that future, Google in recent years has bought seven robotics companies with specialties in gripping, lifting and moving things.
Staples, The Gap and other retail chains already rely on sophisticated robot integration in their warehouses.
Take a look at Amazon’s distribution centers. Instead of humans wandering aisles picking up a book here and an electric toothbrush there, robots are doing the lifting and sorting. They hoist racks of goods containing products, order and trundle them to the person packing the shipment, who then selects the needed items.
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