Competing With Amazon: Ocado Technology Believes Their Smart Grocery Store Fulfillment Centers Have A Leg Up on Amazon
Ocado Technology was conceived by three scientists in a tiny office in West London. Back in the year 2000 robots were still more of a dream than a reality. Most examples were still in the movies and in the pages of science fiction novels. However, 19 years later much has changed. Our world is about to embrace 5G technology that some say will bring about a new robotic age. And Ocado has grown from a single room to over 13,000 employees around the world.
One of my smartest friends Isaac Schwartz, a Portfolio Manger at Robotti & Company told me I had to look at Ocado. The firm was putting together grocery store deliveries with over 54,000 products available to be selected for a given order. Ocado's ambition was very impressive. Ocado's Director of Robotic and Autonomous Systems Alex Harvey said in a recent interview:
"We want to use self-guiding vehicles and develop technology to transport goods directly to the consumer's kitchen. Part of what Ocado offers to customers is not just a purchase of the bathtub trunk to the door of their home, but if we are invited, we can do it directly to the kitchen.
No sense for Ocado is yet to come up with an autonomous car model. There are enough producers of self-governing cars. What we want is to be able to use standalone cars, no matter which manufacturer, put in some of the Ocado cargo containers with a built-in robot inside and it can take the purchases from the boot of the self-driving car home of the client."
Last year Ocado announced a partnership with scientists from 5 countries to develop robotic hands so soft, there would be no visible puncture on an apple picked from a tree. Ocado is also partnering with leading grocery stores around the world. Ocado is making the case to Kroger's and Waitrose that they can build them a better automated system than Amazon has. The value proposition of skipping an internal Ai & Robotics buildout and potentially have greater technological capability than Amazon is tremendous. Ocado says their technology is completely open and they look forward to working with businesses tiny and tremendous. We will keep our eye on Ocado!
Written by Alexander Fleiss