Right now, the New Economic Summit (NEST) 2016 Conference is going on in Tokyo, Japan. One of the keynote speakers is Andy Rubin. Rubin was in charge of Google's robotics program in 2013, when the company (now Alphabet) acquired a fistful of some of the most capable and interesting robotics companies in the world. One of those companies was SCHAFT, which originated at the JSK Robotics Laboratory at the University of Tokyo and is best known for winning the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials by an absurd amount. We haven't heard anything at all from SCHAFT over the past three years, and as far as we know, they're still part of Google.
"Digitizing" store shelves is a new imperative for Coca-Cola and other CPG companies. In the face of changing consumer behavior and the new retail playbook scripted by Amazon, CPG brands have raced to hop on the "digitization" bandwagon to erase the advantage e-commerce has over brick-and-mortar retail. Now add this area to their get-even list: store shelves. For decades, CPG companies like Coca-Cola have conducted manual audits and surveys to see if, how and where stores stock their goods on shelves, as well as find out if their goods are next to rivals' products and if any out-of-stock items have been replenished. Thanks to technology, this old-school and time-consuming process, prone to human errors, is increasingly being dropped as CPG brands seek to bridge the gap between what they can see in stores and online.