By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Simbe Robotics unveils autonomous robotic shelf auditing and analytics solution for retail.
There is a new player in the area of service robotics with the introduction of Tally, a fully autonomous robotic shelf auditing and analytics solution for the retail industry designed by Simbe Robotics. The robot is designed to travel aisles scanning and auditing merchandise on the shelves in order to facilitate product placement, inventory, and shelving. Tally is fully autonomous, and returns to its base to recharge.
Out-of-stock items, empty shelves, and other in-store inconsistencies cost global retailers nearly $450 billion a year. Simbe Robotics sees Tally as the solution to these challenges. Tally can operate safely during regular store hours alongside employees and shoppers, performing repetitive and laborious tasks associated with auditing and restocking shelves.
According to Simbe Robotics, Tally is the cheaper, more accurate, and more efficient solution, and requires no infrastructure changes in order to operate. Retailers have historically relied on manual labor and their existing IT systems to account for inventory availability, an approach that is both costly and riddled with inaccuracies. The Aberdeen Group found that 70 percent of retailers rated themselves only “average” or “below average” when asked about their inventory management.
“When it comes to the retail industry, shopper experience is everything. If a product is unavailable at the time the shopper wants to buy it, the retailer has missed an opportunity and disappointed their customer,” according to Brad Bogolea, CEO and Co-founder of Simbe Robotics. “Tally helps retailers address these challenges by providing more precise and timely analysis of the state of in-store merchandise and freeing up staff to focus on customer service.”
Tally can also be integrated into existing IT systems, and uses the open source Robot Operating System (ROS). Tally weighs 30 pounds and stands 38 inches tall, with an adjustable and modular mast of sensors for capturing shelf data.
According to Robohub, Tally is just one of several new service robotics businesses emerging this year and Silicon Valley Robotics is starting a series of case study reports on the service robotics industry. The first report, scheduled for release on November 18, features Savioke, Fetch Robotics, Fellow Robots, and Adept Technologies.
Retail robots already in use include OSHbot, a life-sized robot already being deployed in select Lowe’s stores to guide customers to the items they desire. And Fetch, a rolling robot, can use its single arm to select items from shelves and ready them for shipping, according to Fortune.
Amazon has also been using robots in its distribution centers to increase efficiency. “The Amazon fulfillment teams are dedicated to innovating in our fulfillment centers to increase speed of delivery while enabling greater local selection at lower costs for our customers,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations and customer service, explained in regards to the introduction of the robotic workforce. According to Clark, the latest innovations not only benefit Amazon customers, they enhance the workforce carried out by the fulfillment center’s employees.