Bossa Nova robot coming to Walmart in Taos
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Bossa Nova is coming soon to the Taos Walmart, but you won‘t hear Brazilian music when you enter the store or see customers dancing in the aisles.
Instead, you may glimpse a sleek 6-foot-tall shelf scanning robot resembling a vacuum cleaner glide past as you shop. Ragan Dickens, the director of corporate communications for Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas said the Bossa Nova robots will not replace the customer service associate, “but rather enhance the shopping experience for customers and make the business of inventory and stocking the shelves more efficient.”
The Walmart employee normally tied up in a time-consuming inventory, “will now be available to help you navigate the store and find what you need, so you can move on.” Dickens continued, “The technology helps to improve the accuracy and availability of products and improve the customer service experience.”
The phrase Bossa Nova literally translates to “new trend”; however, robots have been around for decades performing everything from dismantling bombs in war zones to helping astronauts perform housekeeping chores in zero gravity on the international space station. According to reports from the pilot program, this new technology relieved employees tasked to perform the monotonous shelf-auditing tasks and insure the shelves of Walmart are always stocked with enough product and the correct price tag.
Traditionally this task involves a human walking down an aisle with a scanning gun and pointing it at empty spaces on the shelf. Bossa Nova makes it easier for associates to stay on top of restocking missing items. In addition, the robot helps to forecast shortfalls and price fluctuations before the shelf is empty or an item is left on the shelf after a sale with the wrong price affixed.
The Bossa Nova robot technology headquartered in San Francisco, California is now operating inside 50 of Walmart’s stores, and according to Dickens, the integration with human counterparts is going well. In some stores, employees have affectionately embraced the technology by programming a name to light up on the robots front panel display.
Integrating Bossa Nova into Walmart stores nationwide will roll out over the next few years, and Taos may not see the technology for awhile. Dickens could not confirm a timeline but said the reports from store managers and customers in the pilot program are all positive. Even children are delighted following the robot as it glides through the store detecting boxes or people in its path, surveying miles of shelves, looking for empty spaces and price tag irregularities.
A Walmart customer service associate in Taos who requested anonymity because of his job said he’d “heard of the technology through management” and that he works with the store’s inventory team who performs the tasks associated with keeping track of products and pricing. He said he would embrace a technology that could streamline the process. He added, “Being on the frontline helping customers when they come through the door is the best part of my job,” he said.
Bossa Nova is a scanning tech robot that helps track inventory.