Category Archives: Classroom Activities

Register Robot System in Japan

Do you ever get tired of waiting in line to check out of a grocery store? In the future, the check-out process will be streamlined, using more robotic registers. Recently, Panasonic teamed with Lawson food stores in Japan for a trial run of its new robotic check-out system. The “Reji-Robo” robotic check-out uses RFID tags to scan the items in a shopper’s basket, and then even bags the groceries automatically. (RFID tags are thin, small electronics components that wirelessly communicate within a short distance.)

Panasonic’s robotic check-out is somewhat similar to Amazon Go’s concept store in Seattle. However, with Reji-Robo, customers get a sensor-equipped basket when they walk into the stores, then choose items and place them into the smart basket. In a step beyond Amazon Go, the Panasonic basket once placed in to the robotic check-out system, automatically computes the transaction, the bottom of the basket opens, and the items are automatically lowered into plastic bags for the shopper.

The RFID system also holds promise to speed up the supply chain, increase accuracy, improve productivity, and improve inventory control and tracking.

What’s in your basket?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss some of the more frustrating and costly parts of retail and shopping.
  2. Show the Panasonic video: https://youtu.be/Hpp-3Ver7ig
  3. If students are not familiar with Amazon Go, view the video and concept at: https://www.amazon.com/b?node=16008589011#
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is Panasonic using for this product? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market robotic check-out systems.

Source: Brandchannel.com

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New “Handle” Robot from Boston Dynamics

Robotic technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. But the ultimate in robotic technology today undoubtedly comes from Boston Dynamics, a spin-off from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company has a variety of robots with two legs, four legs, and wheels. They can run, leap, fly, walk, and climb buildings.

The newest robot from Boston Robotics is called “Handle.” This robot stands 6.5 foot tall, can travel at a speed of 9 miles per hour, and can even jump a height of four vertical feet!  Handle can go up ramps, spin, bend, travel over uneven ground, stairs, and pick up and carry objects up to 100 pounds.  It uses electric power to operate hydraulic actuators and can cover 15 miles on a single battery charge. The robots use sensor-based controls and computation to build complex, state-of-art robotic devices.

Handle joins a unique product line of sophisticated robots. See them all and be amazed!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the concepts of products, product line, and product mix.
  2. Bring up Boston Dynamics’s Web site and YouTube page: http://www.bostondynamics.com, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7vVhkEfw4nOGp8TyDk7RcQ.
  3. Show the latest video of Handle, plus other videos (these are guaranteed to get students excited).
  4. Using Boston Dynamics, illustrate the concepts of products, product lines, and product mix.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with an example of other companies and state the products, product line, and product mix.

Source:  Boston Dynamics, YouTube

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Sharing Happy Hour with Pets

Americans increasingly treat pets as more than just an animal or belonging – we treat our pets as important members of the family. Pet owners now look for healthier choices and lifestyles for pet care, fundamentally shifting consumer behavior and spending. The pet care industry represents more than $20 billion in the U.S., and, according to Nielsen Research, 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. This attitude carries over into shopping for food, treats, toys, and specialty items.

Therefore, it was just a matter of time for companies to develop new product so that humans could share celebrations and happy hour beverages with their pets. The newest category of product is faux wines for cats (and dogs, too)! With clever names and packaging, the category is expanding. People can buy their kitties bottles of “Catbernet,” “Pinot Meow,” and “Meowgarita” from Denver-based Apollo Peak. Or, buy “Dog Perignon” and “Dogtini” from Pet Winery in Fort Myers, Fla.

Of course, since alcohol can harm animals, these wines are actually alcohol-free. Using organic ingredients and catnip, the beverages are aimed at people who want to enjoy celebrations with their pets. But, as most cat owners know, cats can be quite finicky. In taste tests, some cats loved the products, while other cats simply showed their disdain.

Happy hour, meow?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many have pets? How much do they spend on their pets?
  2. Show the Web site for Apollo Peak: http://www.apollopeak.com/
  3. Also show Pet Winery: https://www.petwinery.com/
  4. Videos can be viewed at:

https://youtu.be/g1b4V_DJ-oo

  1. The Chew: https://youtu.be/4DiO8MZTmnU
  2. Divide students into teams.
  3. Using a market-product grid, have students develop target markets for pet owners. Then, put categories of products across the top (Ex: food, toys, treats, wine…)
  4. Which target markets represent the best opportunity for pet wines?
  5. How should the products be marketed?

Source:  New York Times, Nielsen Research

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