Skip to Content
Uncategorized

The Machines of Walmart Have Had a Banner Year

December 21, 2017

It has been Walmart’s year of emerging technologies, and so far, it seems to be paying off.

In 2017, shelf-scanning robots began patrolling the retail giant’s aisles, VR was used for employee training and tested for digital shopping, and Walmart partnered with Google to use AI to bolster online shopping. 

As if that weren’t enough, Recode reported Wednesday that the company is now developing a cashier-less store—sound like anyone we know? (Cough, “Amazon’s Grocery Store Doesn’t Have a Single Checkout,” cough). Referred to as Project Kepler, the technology to create the store is being developed through its startup incubator, Store No. 8.

Investors, at least, seem quite happy with the focus on technological innovation, as Walmart’s shares jumped to an all time high last month after third quarter earnings were published last month.

Of course, the past year has been kind to Amazon and the corporate world in general, so it’s difficult to say whether Walmart’s happy returns are the result of its investments in cutting-edge technology. Many of the moves are, after all, meant to pay dividends down the road, rather than in the short term. The raft of whizz-bang announcements certainly attracted its fair share of headlines, though—so in 2018, it’ll be interesting to see if the company for which the term “big box store” was basically invented has truly pulled off a technological transformation.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?

Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.

How to befriend a crow

I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.

Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not

Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.