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VentureBeat reports that Walmart has made public “a partnership with Massachusetts-based retail automation company Alert Innovation that’ll see the latter’s Alphabot technology deployed in a 20,000-square-foot extension connected to the Salem superstore by 2019.”

What’s an Alphabot?

According to the story, an Alphabot system “consists of automated carts that retrieve items from storage containers and deliver them to store clerks, who assemble orders and prep them for in-store pickup or delivery. Walmart said that the ‘majority’ of shelf-stable, refrigerated, and frozen foods will be transported this way, the exceptions being produce and ‘other fresh items’.”

VentureBeat quotes Walmart as saying that “with the aid of Alphabot, our associates will have more time to focus on service and selling, the two things they often tell us are the most enjoyable part of the job, while the technology handles the more mundane, repeatable tasks. Although this is a small pilot, we expect big things from it.”
KC's View:
This actually ties into the story above … everybody is looking for the edge, the alliance, the acquisition that they can make that will give them just a little advantage for a few minutes or days or weeks … and then they go hunting for the next one. The thing they cannot do is be complacent.