Tag Archives: technology

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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The Changing Face of Selling Furniture

Consumers are used to buying small items such as books, music, and household goods online thanks to Amazon and other ecommerce retailers. But what about shopping for larger and more expensive items such as furniture? Is there a market for online sales of furniture?

It turns out that the answer to that question is “yes.” Wayfair, Inc., a Boston-based retailer has no physical stores with very minimal inventory, but it has grown to be the largest online-only retailer in the United States with revenue more than $2.25 billion! The company advertises itself as selling “a zillion things home” and carries more than seven million products, from rugs to sofas. Utilizing a supply network of more than 7,000 different furnishings suppliers, the company ships large bulky items direct from suppliers to the consumers.

While it might initially seem that consumers would not be interested in buying furniture online, Wayfair uses a unique combination of Web site along with television shows to showcase its products and designs. The show “The Way Home” sponsored by Wayfair airs on Lifetime TV on Saturdays. Different episodes focus on design challenges including the latest trends, utilizing small spaces, and decorating on a budget.

Go ahead, see how to make over your least-favorite room on a budget!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  2. For furniture buying, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
  3. Next, show Wayfair’s Web site: https://www.wayfair.com/
  4. Show Wayfair’s TV show: https://www.wayfair.com/thewayhome/?&episode=10&clip=1
  5. How is the company using integrated marketing communications?
  6. For furniture, who is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Wayfair. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source:  Wall Street Journal   

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