Shake Shack restaurant trials self order systems to reduce labor costs #Robotics #automation

Having customers place their own order has been in trials – or already implemented – at many restaurant chains as a way to reduce labor costs.

“We need to answer how we take care of our team with that federally mandated wage,” said Chief Executive Officer Randy Garutti during a phone interview. “Our labor costs are skyrocketing.” The new location is “our way of seeing how we are going to do that.”

Source: Shake Shack Claims Automation Won’t Hurt Its Famed Hospitality – Bloomberg

Automation was going to reduce the need for labor regardless of wage laws; however, sharp increases in minimum wage laws are accelerating the trend to reduce the number of workers, where possible.

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Record growth in #automation, #robotics technology sales

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) just rolled out new research confirming record growth in the areas of robotics, machine vision, motion control, and motor technology for the first half of 2017.

Source: Automation by the numbers: Record-breaking year for sales of robots, components | ZDNet

San Diego’s minimum wage experiment accelerating adoption of automation

San Diego raised its minimum wage very rapidly. Data suggests that while the wage hike benefits those with minimum wage jobs, it is also rapidly eliminating low wage jobs all together. Read the entire (and long) story for the details.

This blog has long noted that while automation is going to happen regardless, rapid minimum wage hikes accelerate the adoption of automated systems, eliminating jobs more rapidly:

And California’s decision to speed Darwinian selection also encourages automation. McDonald’s is rolling out ordering kiosks, Starbucks is testing robotic baristas, and hamburger-making machines are nearing production.

One local restaurant owner told me that all his future locations will allow customers to buy and pour their own beers.

A 50-handle system costs $1,800 per handle. That’s well above $1,000 per handle for the bartender-based system, but it pays off in a year by eliminating one or two workers per shift. Presumably someday robots will listen to our problems, too.

Rising productivity is good for the bulk of consumers, because fewer workers equate to lower bills.

Source: Is San Diego’s new minimum wage already hurting its poor? – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Eliminating jobs through automation is not necessarily a bad thing. ATM machines, self service gas, self service check outs are all examples of recent semi-automated services that we take for granted. Throughout history, many jobs have gone away – elevator operators and telephone “manual switch” operators all went away.

If automation frees up labor to be put to more productive uses, this is a good outcome. However, there will be some who are not able to transition to higher value added work and may be come unemployable.

Improving industrial efficiency using #InternetOfThings #Iot sensor technology

Reno startup Filament is gearing up for high-scale production. The startup recently closed a $15 million round of new venture financing. The capital will allow Filament to scale manufacturing

[Their tech is designed to upgrade legacy industrial systems]

First, the device can physically connect to the machine if it has a diagnostic port. Second, the technology can monitor the environment around the infrastructure. Their devices can monitor temperature, humidity, light, sound pressure level and accelerometer movement. Lastly, the devices can provide a large-scale network in areas where there is little or no cellular service or WiFi.

Source: Reno-based tech startup Filament secures $15M in venture financing | nnbw.com

This is a great area of opportunity – enabling the monitoring of legacy equipment. Some times, just knowing the variation in temperature and humidity can be an important piece of information on a manufacturing line, or in an HVAC system or what ever your system process is.

Does the #InternetOfThings increase your privacy, decrease your privacy or leave it unchanged? #IoT

Are there any examples of consumer-level #IoT devices that increase your level of privacy?

I cannot think of any.

  • Does anyone other than us weird computer scientists think privacy and security are problems?
  • Will consumers readily give up all privacy to use a new toy?

The next post, below, is about consumer product manufacturers putting Wi-Fi into everything – from children’s toys to coffee markets, refrigerators, washing machines and products that do not seem to offer real consumer benefits for being always connected.

The obvious benefits include:

  1. Manufacturers learning about how their products are used, identifying failure or maintenance problems, and learning how to build better products from that information,
  2. Collection of marketing data to use in selling more stuff to consumers.

The actual product features do not seem to offer real benefits to the consumer, though. Yet the consumer has likely given up a bit of privacy to enable these capabilities.

Do coffee makers really need Wi-Fi? #IoT #InternetOfThings

It’s not just ovens and refrigerators that are getting wi-fi, often bundled with cameras that let you see your food. It’s also coffee makers, digital thermometers, crock pots and virtually any other small appliance you can imagine.

Source: What Fresh Hell Is This? Kitchen Gadgets You Don’t Know You Need – Bloomberg View

The mostly likely use of Wi-Fi in a plethora of basically dumb home devices (do refrigerators really need Wi-Fi too?) is so manufacturers can keep tabs on how often their devices are used, and how they are used. In some cases, the data might even be sold for marketing purposes – perhaps someone that makes a lot of coffee is a candidate for blood pressure medication?

How #IoT extends the product life cycle for manufacturers. #InternetOfThings

Once products ship, the manufacturer is unlikely to see the product again, except for a few returns. They have only a general idea of how the product is used, based on market surveys, or on product returns.

IoT technology enables manufacturers to monitor products after they are in use at a customer site as the product can conduct self checks and monitor product wear and tear – and send that information back to the manufacturer to identify weaknesses in the product.

Other manufacturers see benefits to monitoring their product usage too:

As prices of communication equipment and sensors continue to drop, smart manufacturers will be able to gather information from a wide range of devices. With connectivity enabled via IoT, these devices will be able to send valuable information back to the seller or manufacturer. For example, a refrigerator could send a signal to the manufacturer indicating a detected malfunction. With this data, the manufacturer would be able to put in measures to prevent the problem in other products in the line. In another example, an air conditioner might be able to detect when it needs maintenance and send a message to the manufacturer, which can then initiate remote maintenance service. As a result, the customer will be happier and the manufacturer can save on the cost of doing business.

Source: How the Internet of Things Makes Manufacturers Smart and Connected | Automation World

On the flip side, some products like Windows 10, collect a very large volume of data and “share” that with Microsoft. Such data can include, for example, the list of applications you have installed on your computer.