Disruption as Innovation
It's no secret that our space industries are undergoing a fantastic transformation. SpaceX is taking humans to the Moon. Blue Origin is landing and reusing rockets. And Virgin Galactic is making space planes a reality. However, it's not just space that is experiencing a revolution. Things a little closer to home are also changing.
Like our homes and the places that we go to provide for them.
Need proof? Have you entered a store recently? If so, you were probably greeted by, well, a greeter. This is fairly typical; however, around the globe, a new kind of greeter is popping up—and they're metallic.
Take, for example, the newest assistant at Lowe's: the LoweBot. It's an autonomous robotic store assistant that can help both customers and employees in a number of ways. Initially introduced in 2016, the bot can locate products in multiple languages and aid in navigation around stores. Ultimately, this frees employees to complete tasks that require more skill and expertise.
The LoweBot can also scan items and perform other tasks that are more repetitive in nature. Currently, the robot is only in use in stores in the San Francisco Bay area; however, with 1,840 stores across North America, if this little bot becomes ubiquitous, it could help rewrite the future of employment throughout the nation.
As explained on the Lowe's Innovation Labs site, this kind of disruption is precisely what they are working towards. The company asserts that they are working to "build an innovation roadmap and rapidly prototype new technology in real-world, living labs." To this end, the robot is a trial that is meant to both usher in beneficial change and provide us with one glimpse of what our future might (and maybe should) look like.
Bots Are The Beginning
However, this is just the start of how our everyday world, and thus, our very lives, are being transformed. If you need more convincing, meet the Holoroom.
The Innovation Labs first introduced the world to the Holoroom back in 2014. The room served as a parallel to the Danger Room from X-Men, except that, instead of giant robotic enemies to smash, the experience gave customers new skills, teaching them how to complete various tasks and make home improvements that, ordinarily, they wouldn't be able to do without an expert to assist.
Another iteration of the Holoroom also allowed individuals to visualize and actually create their dream spaces in virtual reality. So instead of walking about the store trying to piece various merchandise together, or browsing about an online store, customers could actually walk around inside the room they created and truly see it come to life.
Ultimately, work like this reveals that the future isn't some far-off finish line that we are trying to get to, and it's not something that exists at the periphery—it's something that is happening right now all around us; it's something that we are building each day.
Brick and mortar stores are already on the brink of some real changes, and by investing in innovation and R&D, Lowe's (and companies like it) are ensuring that they have a place at whatever table the future builds.