Bossa Nova ro­bot com­ing to Wal­mart in Taos

Edi­tor’s note: This week we launch a new monthly col­umn about new tech­nol­ogy and how it stands to im­pact our daily lives. Know of a cool tech in­ven­tion you think we should know about?

The Taos News - - BUSINESS - Tamra Tester­man Tamra Tester­man is a play­wright and free­lance writer based in Taos. Her web­site is http://www.tam­rat­ester­man. com/.

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.

Cour­tesy photo

Bossa Nova is a scan­ning tech ro­bot that helps track in­ven­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.