In the collaboration, Badger Technologies, a product division of manufacturing services company Jabil, is working with AT&T to test 5G wireless connectivity with its autonomous retail robots. The company's robots are designed to enable retailers to improve operational efficiencies and customer experiences by identifying out-of-stock, mispriced, or misplaced inventory, as well as store hazards.
While such advanced mobile data collection systems can fill major gaps in the collection and sharing of vital in-store data and images, say the companies, they can also tax a store's existing Wi-Fi network. To better enable seamless network connectivity, the AT&T Foundry - a network of startup incubator facilities - is testing 5G connectivity with Badger Technologies' robots in a multi-access edge computing (MEC) environment.
The goal, say the companies, is to demonstrate how 5G using millimeter wave spectrum and edge computing could provide Badger Technologies and retailers with the lower latency and high throughput required to process and share vast amounts of data while running concurrently with other in-store network applications.
"5G is an important next step to helping ensure shared visibility across critical inventory, POS and operational systems," says Tim Rowland, CEO of Badger Technologies. "Working with AT&T enables us to better support our retail customers by delivering information faster to increase store efficiencies, improve customer service and boost profits."
AT&T’s multi-access edge computing solutions, says the company, could also help it increase hyper-local data processing by providing a more private network connection than typically associated with in-store Wi-Fi. This gives Badger Technologies more control over what data travels beyond the walls of the store and what data stays onsite, which effectively addresses mounting privacy and security concerns among retailers.
Mo Katibeh, Chief Marketing Officer, AT&T Business says, "In-building cellular solutions, including 5G and edge computing, are critical drivers of digital transformation for retailers. These technologies will eventually equip robots with both the compute power and lower latency needed to increase revenue, improve