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Harnessing Robots For The Future Of Retail

It may take Western retailers a while to feel the pressure of implementing the use of robots and automated distribution centres, but their Chinese counterparts are already taking speedy measures to ensure fully automated stores are in place in 10 years’ time.

JD.com’s big boss Richard Liu said the reason being is that shoppers in China have ever-changing demands, whilst those in America and Europe tend to be more loyal to retailers who provide them satisfactory service.

Chinese customers are always looking for something new, which when matched with speedy delivery becomes all the more attractive to them.

Putting loyalty aside, though, the reality stands that there’s no stopping the rise of the robots. In fact, they have already infiltrated various industries-auto, healthcare, gaming-including retail.

Whether consumers and retailers accept it or not, they are bound to witness a robot-driven industry before they know it.

That is clearly evident in the method of expansion online retailers are utilising. And we’re not just talking about Amazon and JD.com whose fulfilment centres abound with mechanical workers, as numerous online shops are in the process of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) platforms into their businesses too, such as machine learning, speech recognition, and chatbots, among others.

“Sooner or later, our entire industry will be operated by AI (artificial intelligence) and robots, not humans,” were Richard Liu’s words at the annual World Retail Congress in Madrid, Spain.

He was quick to add, though, that it’s going to take another decade to prepare the industry and consumers for stores powered by machines as the future of retail rests on a lot of ceaseless innovations. This, he said, will eventually lead to cost reduction and improved customer experience.

Coming from the head of a company that owns a fully automated warehouse and uses drones and robots to deliver packages, that statement doesn’t seem to require further convincing documents.

However, whilst there are big retailers who shared Liu’s point of view, such as Shop Direct and Marks & Spencer, who have in fact announced staff layoffs, as they’re poised to automate their distribution centres, others were vehemently against it.

Among them is Tom Athron, group development director at John Lewis, as he believes one cannot function without the other. He stressed that nothing can make the industry stronger than it already is than the combined powers of robots and human beings.

“Humans and machines together will always be more powerful than machines on their own or humans on their own. If consumers don’t want the human touch in retail then we are in real trouble as an industry,” he remarked.

Whilst automation can get mundane tasks done faster than with humans, hence their consideration in the day-to-day operations of a business, it’s missing a quality which only resides in the human heart-empathy.

Speedy delivery isn’t the lifeblood of retail, but customers are. So the absence of human interaction is likely to kill retail in cold blood and there’ll be no one to witness its death but robots.

Do you think the world is ready to witness that?

Article Source: 


It’s Time for Drone Delivery

The other day, I was sitting with a group of college students at Starbucks, we were discussing startup businesses. They were brainstorming of what type of business to start. A guy in an ice cream truck pulled up and the driver ran into Starbucks. I joked as he ran by, “don’t you sell any coffee flavored ice cream?” Everyone laughed as did the driver as he briskly rushed the door open and ran in. “Maybe he is just using the restroom?” We all laughed again, and then saw him get pick-up his pre-made coffee he must have ordered with his smart phone Starbuck’s app.

As he was leaving he told us while we sat at the outdoor table that he did sell coffee flavored ice cream. I asked if I could buy a round of ice cream for the group. He apologized and said; “Today, I am delivering Amazon Packages, as a delivery contractor, my brother is using all his vans, so I am helping out, we are really busy – Prime Day Delivery!” Everyone was intrigued, and he broke into a stride saying; “Chow” as he left, and he turned on the music for us as he drove away. What a cool small business owner. We all laughed again, he was so busy he just needed more caffeine to finish his hectic day.

Our group then went back to brainstorming on what a smart business might be for a startup. I laughed and said: “Hey, you have to be observant, we just saw a guy in a friggin’ ice cream truck delivering online packages because they didn’t have enough vans or people to help, that means there is demand in the market not being met.” I started asking them a series of questions:

– How could you deliver more efficiently?
– How could you streamline the delivery business model?
– How could you revolutionize the package delivery business?
– How could you find other underutilized vehicles and people to deliver?

And, then I reminded them that Amazon now has a market value of $1 Trillion. I asked them about other observations they just had?

– Why can’t that ice cream man deliver Starbucks?
– Why not start a drone business to deliver Starbucks and Amazon?
– Why not figure out how to solve those delivery challenges with software, apps, drones, combination?

I reiterated; “Let’s face it, you know there is unfulfilled demand in the marketplace for new delivery companies and better options when you see an Ice Cream truck delivering online packages as an Amazon Contractor.”

I explained that you have to observe everything and think. I explained that we can’t be too busy here brainstorming that we stop observing, the clues are everywhere, right in front of our noses. If you are at a loss for ideas, look around, read the newspaper, listen to people complain, think about things that would make problems go away for people – then try to come up with solutions for these challenges – solutions that you can make a profit in providing.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Lance_Winslow/5306

Hydroponics: The Next Generation Farming Approach

Hydroponics involves the process of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in sand, gravel, or liquid, without using soil. Due to the increasing success rates associated with the commercial hydroponics industry and the increasing difficulty of growing crops on soil, the hydroponics market is expanding exponentially. Many off-season fruits and vegetables can be produced around the year under controlled conditions using hydroponics. The main countries actively practicing hydroponics are the United States, Australia, Spain, Holland, Canada, New Zealand, Italy, Mexico, and China. The major crops that are grown hydroponically are cucumber, lettuce, tomato, peppers, strawberry, leafy vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, etc. This method is widely adopted, due to its integrated pest management approaches.

Hydroponics – Market Dynamics

Hydroponics is termed as one of the fastest-growing soil-less farming practice at a global level, wherein, a tailored nutrient solution, which is of superior quality, helps in the growth of a plant in a sustainable manner. One of the major growth drivers for the hydroponic industry is the documented higher yield as compared to the traditional agricultural techniques. Along with profit farming, growing consumption of exotic, salad crops, and increasing need for global food security are the factors that are expected to drive the market. Lack of awareness regarding the soil-less agriculture system and initial high cost are the factors that might hinder the market growth. Increased cultivation of medicinal plants, globally, and customized farming approach may provide future growth opportunities for the industry.

Will hydroponics revolutionize the way of irrigation?

According to a report by a market intelligence firm, the global hydroponics market is estimated to record a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period 2017-2022, and the market value is anticipated to reach USD 30,849.83 million by 2022. The market growth of hydroponics is majorly due to the increasing focus on adopting innovative and efficient technologies to improve the yields. Tomato is one of the primary crops grown through the hydroponic system, globally. According to a USDA/ERS report, the volume of hydroponic tomato imports from countries, such as Canada, Mexico, and the Netherlands, has increased drastically, and the imports now account for a significant share of the total US fresh market tomato imports. Lettuce and leafy vegetables, pepper, cucurbits, and other vegetables, are being increasingly cultivated hydroponically.

According to our analysts, Europe is traditionally the largest market for hydroponics, implementing advanced techniques in hydroponic smart greenhouse horticulture. The matured European market demand for hydroponics is led by countries, such as the Netherlands, Spain, and France. Asia-Pacific forms the second largest market for hydroponics, which is expected to grow at a steady pace during the forecast period. The North American region led by the United States and Canada, is expected to grow at an improved pace during 2017-2022.

Competition Analysis

The global market for hydroponics is concentrated within major technically advanced regions. Greentech Agro LLC, Argus Control Systems, Logiqs BV, Koninklijke Philips NV, General Hydroponics Inc., Greentech Agro LLC, and Lumigrow Inc., are some of the major players that are active in the industry. R&D pertaining to the region- and area-specific requirements is being consistently adopted by industry players. Mergers and acquisitions are also one of the key activities that are adopted by the major players. Lawn-and-garden giant, Scotts Miracle-Gro, spent USD 136 million for Gavita, a Dutch grow lighting and hardware company. Through its subsidiary, Hawthorne Gardening Co., Scotts Miracle-Gro invested in companies, such as Boulder’s AeroGrow, an indoor gardening company, and acquired California’s General Hydroponics Inc. for USD 130 million. The company also spent USD 77.1 million to acquire Botanicare.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Rohith_Sampathi/2434563

Advantages of Aquaponics When Compared To Soil Based Agriculture

Aquaponics is a system which combines basic aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. This method uses the waste products from fish to supply nutrients for plants. These plants, such tomatoes or lettuce, are therefore grown in water with grown bed. The use of the waste water created by the fish purifies the water thus making the environment they live in safe. The toxins created by the fish are removed form their environment. An automatic recirculating system is used to drive this process.

This system of aquaculture allows the farmer to grow many types of plants at a reduced cost when compared to most common soil based methods. Growing plants such as vegetables have a number of maintenance issues not found in aquaculture. Soil based gardens will require weeds to be removed. This process will have to be done as weeds use up valuable growing space. Weeds also use nutrients intended for the vegetable you want grow in your garden. Removal of these weeds will take work and you may have to use chemicals. This will not be the case in a hydroculture system, as weeds will not exist in the growing environment.

Other maintenance in the common agriculture system is watering and fertilization. In a hydroculture system you will not have to worry about watering your plants as they are growing in water. providing plant food will not be an issue. Most of the nutrients needed to grow your vegetables will be provided by the fish located in the hydroponics part of the aquaponics overall system.

Aquaponics is a closed loop system which involves recirculating water through the hydroponics component. This means the same water is being use. From a conservation point of view this means water lose will be at a minimum when compared to most soil based agriculture systems. Plants are grown in a reservoir with a grow bed, where they use the water from the tank containing your fish. It is here where the water is purified and circulated back to the tank in which the fish are living. This is what is called a symbiotic relationship.The plants essentially clean the water for the fish. The plants use the nutrients proved by the waste from the fish. Little water is wasted and food for the plants is provided by the waste water from the fish tank.

There are a number of designs available for a home based aquaponics garden. Having proven aquaponics construction plans will you get your garden up and running in a timely and cost-effective manner. Plans to build a closed loop water based garden can be found on the internet. Some of these plans will be free. Other more detailed plans will require a minimal charge.

Best Regards

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Paul_Luciw/816160

What Would Be the Best “Hello World” for Biosciences?

The first step that a beginner hacker or programmer takes towards a technical and logical deepening is to program the famous Hello World. It is a kind of computer pattern, so, the first step for future algorithms. And there is no computer programmer or hacker in the world who has not already created a Hello World, even just to test a new compiler or a new programming language. However, if there is this pattern, or rather, this START for hackers and computer programmers, then what would be the best model pattern or start for biohackers? Some method for beginners to have as a model in the field of biosciences.

Biosciences are not something popular yet, and there is a great barrier for ordinary people to work on issues like genetics. It seems absurd to think that common people could work with genetics, even as Hobby, as well as work with other classical sciences. The same was true about computing in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, but with the advancement of the microtechnology industry, especially microelectronics, devices such as hardware have had a reduction in world prices and scales. With this advancement in popularization and access to materials, we all know how the advance in computing took place, forming a breeding ground for hackers. What is questioned now is the possibility of this same fact with biosciences. A popularization and access to materials, devices and knowledge to further strengthen the incipient hacker movement. There are cheap KITs and materials for biohackers, it’s are already being made available, although considered amateur by some specialists, but, which hacker did not begin as an amateur, and in a short time, it flouted the highest technologies. We cannot deny that it is already a beginning, and there is a huge field to be improved. However, the focus of this article is on the search for a method, not the materials now. In the case, the method for biohackers is connected in a Hello World for the biosciences, for a model or a START to the new biohackers. Something so simple, but that carries the maximum of concept. A method to become standard for biohackers, just like there is Hello World. This method is what we are looking for right now! Recalling, the concept of method is an organized set of procedure, technique, or means of doing something methodically and patronized according to a highly organized, logical, and systematic plan or process of research, instruction, investigation and presentation.

As important now as the growth of the biohacker movement is the pursuit of this standard, this method. Something like performing a PCR polymerase chain reaction, or even extracting DNA from cells, and even more sophisticated devices like the connection or interfaces between biological platform and computing. In relation to hackers these are self-taught, and referring to the concepts to work with biosciences there are no excuses. Because we have never had so much knowledge on an open and organized platform as today, one example is the Microsoft ™ Khan Academy ™ platform. In addition to so many other examples. In short words, anyone today can become a hacker, as well as, become a biohacker with a basic method. A method for biohacking – An agile method, a step by step, with the basic introduction, as the famous Hello World in programming, in which it will result in a revolution HYPE for biosciences. What would be required for a hacker or novice programmer is summed up with a machine that is a computer, a compiler, and the concept of programming logic. The first step of every computer is started by the famous “Hello World”. You can say that programming Hello World is the gateway to the hacker and programming world. It is a practice, a standard in this field. The question we are raising in biohacking. It is formalized by the question: What would be the best “Hello World” for biosciences?

So far, biosciences have been stuck in academies and private laboratories, but with the advancement of knowledge and easy access to new gadgets and handmade equipment’s and instruments, at reduced prices, it has become easy and cheap to purchase materials for bioscience work in a popular way. It is a revolution like the advance of computers in its popularization, generating hackers. At present, the new breakthrough hacker is in adding the classic sciences in their actions. Thus, appearing characters or agents named biohackers and even nanohackers. These will make use of biosciences to hack into the human genome, as well as generate innovation. No one can deny a sentence: what would current computing be without hacking a few decades ago? We can even say that we are in a dilemma nowadays. The traditional means of producing science are stagnant and slow. And this new agent the biohacker as you begin your global operation will bring HYPE gas and acceleration to innovative science and technological innovations.

About the actual science, an interesting case is presented in the plateau effect concept – more details can be seen in the book of the same name. This concept refers to a kind of paralysis in the progress of knowledge and science, a psychological slowness and other factors. The concept is well exemplified to those who are learning a new language, but at a certain stage, progress suffers a slow and paralysed due to several factors. It is not very different in the progress of biosciences, and one of the reasons for this laziness, faced with so many variables is the high complexity. However, just as the hacker movement has oxygenated computing with many innovations, the biohacker movement, while there are pros and cons, will undoubtedly oxygenate biosciences and other conceptual sciences. This new action matrix will bring an icebreaker, a kind of HYPE acceleration in what is stagnant. There is much academic concept and little practical use now. There is no denying, there is a new complex matrix in the formation. The CRISPR and biohacker movement has even been a subject of Nature ™ journals in 2017.

In fact, not only is the question of the best method to generate a START, for amateur biohackers, in this case, a suggestion would be in a popularization of the PCR method, remember PCR as Polymerase Chain Reaction, but this is one of the possibilities in front of so many others. Opening to new business with the biohacking movement is unprecedented. The possibility of outsourcing for analytical tests, the leasing of laboratories, the sale of KITs for biohackers, new means of testing and a plethora of collaboration and unlimited competition. It is practically a new world that is forming in biosciences, a matrix in complex formation.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Edilson_Gomes_De_Lima/2472861

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