Telecom company AT&T has partnered with Jabil division Badger Technologies to equip autonomous robots with 5G wireless networking capabilities to accelerate automation in the retail industry.
Retailers currently use Badger’s robots to identify out-of-stock, mispriced or misplaced inventory and store hazards, as well as enhance operational efficiencies and customer experiences.
The advanced mobile data collection systems collect and share important in-store data and images to assist retailers. However, they can be a burden on the store’s existing Wi-Fi network.
To resolve this problem, the AT&T Foundry is currently testing 5G connectivity with the robots in a multi-access edge computing (MEC) environment in order to provide uninterrupted network connectivity.
The telecommunications firm focuses on delivering reduced latency and high throughput to Badger Technologies and retailers, enabling them to process and share vast amounts of data while running other in-store network applications.
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Badger Technologies CEO Tim Rowland said: “5G is an important next step to helping ensure shared visibility across critical inventory, POS and operational systems.
“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 also offers more private network connections to Badger through its multi-access edge computing solutions, allowing it to increase hyper-local data processing and gain more control to track data transfer in and out of each store.
This is expected to allow the company to better address mounting privacy and security concerns among retailers.
AT&T business chief marketing officer Mo Katibeh said: “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 computing power and lower latency needed to increase revenue, improve in-store experience and elevate employees to better assist customers.
“Badger Technologies’ robots can help retailers make sure they have products in stock and in the right place, increasing customer satisfaction. That leads to increased revenue. That’s the power of data.”