Walmart Bids Goodbye to Shelf-Scanning Robots: Ends Contract with Bossa Nova Robotics
Case Code: CLBS172
Case Length: 6 Pages
Pub Date: 2021
Teaching Note: Available
Countries: United States
Themes: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Technology in Retailing, RetailTech
The case “Walmart Bids Goodbye to Shelf-Scanning Robots: Ends Contract with Bossa Nova Robotics” is about the termination of the contract between Walmart and Bossa Nova Robotics Inc., (Bossa Nova). The case deals with Walmart’s deployment of Roving Robots to track inventory at its stores in 2017 and then deciding to stop utilizing the Robots in 2020. The partnership between Walmart and Bossa Nova is discussed in detail along with the reasons for the contract for the Roving Robots being terminated.
The case further details the retail robotics industry and the use of robots by other retail companies. There was fierce competition in retail robotics and technology companies in the retail robotics space were vying with each other to bring out a product most suitable for the retail industry. The case ends with the future outlook for the retail robotics space. It remains to be seen whether Walmart does a u-turn and redeploys robots at its stores.
- Understand the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in business.
- Understand the positive and negative implications of AI in business.
- Evaluate how AI can be used to optimize the business process.
On November 2, 2020, Walmart Inc. (Walmart) announced that it had terminated its contract with Bossa Nova Robotics Inc., (Bossa Nova) for ‘Roving Robots’ that were being used to track inventory at its store aisles. Walmart’s ending of the contract with Bossa Nova resulted in a lay-off of 50 percent of the staff at the robotics start-up. Sarjoun Skaff (Skaff), Co-Founder, Bossa Nova, commented that the company had streamlined its operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic and was poised to continue its focus on its core technologies such as AI and robotics. Skaff said, “I cannot comment on Walmart, however, the pandemic has forced us to streamline our operations and focus on our core technologies. We have made stunning advances in AI and robotics. Our retail AI is the industry’s best and works as well on robots as with fixed cameras, and our hardware, autonomy and operations excelled in more than 500 of the world’s most challenging stores. With the board’s full support, we continue deploying this technology with our partners in retail and in other fields.”..
Walmart; Bossa Nova; Roving Robots; Robotics; Stores Inventory; Artificial Intelligence; Machine Vision; Automation; Deep Learning
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