The Digital Helix, with Author Chris Aarons

Today we’re talking with Chris Aarons, one of the co-authors of the Digital Helix: Transforming Your Organization's DNA to Thrive in the Digital Age. Chris shared why tech alone isn’t going to cut it, and talked about the importance of intellectual curiosity, and constantly looking for new learnings and strategies on your path to digital transformation.

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Rock 'Em Shop 'Em Robots (In Retail)

Artificial Intelligence has already rapidly advanced automation tools, and is now taking things a step further by moving into autonomy. The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported that North American robot sales increased 5.2 percent, compared to 2018. And while robots have already been used behind the scenes in auto and fulfillment industries, we’re now ready to see them working alongside their human counterparts. The resources in this Pulse issue explore the presence of robots in the retail space, and what marketers can expect.

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Pulse Issue 14

Rock ‘Em Shop ‘Em Robots (In Retail)

February 2020

By Josch Chodakowsky, Research Manager at Ask the Expert
By Josch Chodakowsky, Research Manager at Ask the Expert
Artificial Intelligence has already rapidly advanced automation tools, and is now taking things a step further by moving into autonomy. The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported that North American robot sales increased 5.2 percent, compared to 2018.  And while robots have already been used behind the scenes in auto and fulfillment industries, we’re now ready to see them working alongside their human counterparts. The resources in this Pulse issue explore the presence of robots in the retail space, and what marketers can expect.
Robotics and artificial intelligence solutions that promise to solve several inventory and labor issues for retailers were touted at the National Retail Federation trade show, NRF 2020. The three biggest areas that robot vendors promised to solve fell around inventory tracking and shelf analytics (noticing when items were out of stock), planogram compliance (making sure that products were placed correctly on shelves to match a planned display), and price accuracy (making sure products have the right price on a shelf, but also to match online pricing). This article offers further takeaways from the show.
As retailers look to trim costs and streamline operations, particularly along the supply chain, robots are only going to become more entrenched in retail’s day-to-day operations, taking on greater roles and interacting with employees and consumers alike as AI becomes smarter. By 2025, more than 150,000 mobile robots will be deployed in brick-and-mortar retail establishments, according to an estimation by ABI Research.
Retail robots prove their worth daily as they gain credibility for helping grocers boost operational efficiencies through faster hazard detection and more fastidious inventory management. They’re capable of performing a variety of tasks, such as augmenting customer service and security teams while also checking on other aspects of store operations, including refrigeration, lighting, and security. Just like with any retail employee, training is required. But how do you train a retail robot? This discusses lessons learned while shepherding grocery robots as they’ve logged more than 250,000 miles of pilot runs and hundreds of actual deployments.
A survey by business process outsourcing firm Sykes Enterprises found that U.S. workers were less fearful of the age of automation than popularly portrayed. Some two-thirds of those surveyed drew a positive connotation with intelligent automation-related terminology. The survey consisted of 17 questions — ranging from how many people they know who have faced job loss due to automation, if any automation programs have saved them time at work this year, what they're doing to stay current with the changes in workplace tech, how their employers are preparing them for the future of work, and more. 
Robots are becoming an increasingly common sight in grocery stores and other large shops around the nation. Retailers often tell their customers that the robots are there to monitor for spills, broken glass, and other hazards. While that is true, it is only part of the story. The real driver behind retail robots is inventory management. It represents the perfect storm of data science, sensors, robotics, and the cloud.
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Knowing that marketers are increasingly challenged in their efforts to keep up with the latest trends and technologies, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) tasked itself with creating a program designed to help marketers anticipate—and prepare for—the future of marketing.

 

ANA Marketing Futures is what emerged. With a focus on innovative topics and emerging trends, ANA Marketing Futures provides resources that will influence and inform via member cases, research studies, and insight from industry innovators. Check back often to learn about emerging trends and become inspired to take steps toward the growth of your business.

 

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