How the Evolution of the Internet of Things will Grossly Change Grocery Shopping
I pulled up to a grocery store, yesterday, to find a man standing in front of what looked like a massive box with nothing but a small touchscreen displaying information.
After I parked my car, and actually walked into the store with my significant other, we noticed that the giant box had a three-step process posted on its side, explaining its very purpose:
- Order your groceries online.
- Receive a text when your parcels are ready.
- Come and pick them up.
“That’s great!” My fiancée exclaimed. “I can order my groceries from home, and when I come to pick them up, the kids can stay in the car.”
No, we’re not married yet, nor do we have kids, let alone the bigger vehicle that we’ll need when the family starts to grow. But our cognitive gears are churning as we prepare for our future.
The truth is, however, that our evolving world of the Internet of Things entails a future that spans well beyond our imaginations.
For now, we can log into our account, pick our products, and place an order, which is then received by a warehouse and filled by the workers putting parcels together. Once it’s ready, we receive a text which prompts us to get into a car, pick the order up, and take it back home.
That’s our present Internet of Things. Not the future awaiting us.
A Waterloo, Ontario-based company, Clearpath Robotics, has already begun deploying autonomous robots that function as warehouse trollies to fill orders. The speed and precision with which they’ll be able to retrieve products will one day oust their human counterparts’ efforts to do the same.
As a disclaimer, certain futuristic predictions scare people because of the jobs that will be lost, but I’m confident that the very ingenuity that is making those jobs disappear will create new opportunities. With more time on our hands, our minds will be free to explore new possibilities, create never before seen careers, and even focus more on the people and things we love.
We’ll figure it out. We’re not robots, after all.
Back to the Internet of Things.
Witnessing autonomous robots, coupled with Google’s development of self-driving cars, only leads me to believe that my wife and I won’t even have to worry about getting in the car with the kids to pick our parcels up, as we’ll eventually have vehicles capable of driving themselves to the store, once they’ve received confirmation of our completed order, of course.
And the people who don’t have cars? Their parcels will be dropped off by the drones that Amazon developed.
One mustn’t forget, however, that in addition to Artificial Intelligence and autonomous robots, we live in an age of Big Data and almighty algorithms that continue to automate so many other everyday processes. So if no one’s actually filling our order in the warehouse, and if no one’s actually driving our car to the store – or navigating the delivery drone – then why would anyone have to actually log in and place an order?
After a few of our own, manual, online purchases, our refrigerator, together with the other appliances, storage areas, and myriad apps, will algorithmically track our choice of products, dietary needs, rate of consumption, and spending patterns, resulting in timely orders that will be automatically sent to the grocery store, and then delivered to our front door.
My only responsibility will be to restock the kitchen and pantry.
That is, until I have my own autonomous robot at home.