RAC Retail Robotics Initiative

The goal of the Retail Robotics Initiative is to unite industry, academia, and investors around the common objective of advancing robotic and data applications in retail environments.

RAC Retail Robotics Advisory Board

Pano Anthos

Founder and Managing Director, XRC Labs

Founder and Managing Director, XRC Labs

Pano leads XRC Labs as its Founder and Managing Director. Having founded four startups around key platform shifts, he saw the seismic shift coming to retail and with the right vision and timing recruited Parsons School of Design and Kurt Salmon a part of Accenture Strategy to be founding sponsors. Now with 55 accelerated startups, 10 active world-class retail sponsors, 250+ business mentors, Pano has built a world-class ecosystem for retail and consumer goods innovation at XRC Labs. He speaks regularly at NRF national and regional meetings, Shoptalk, and RILA executive conferences. He leverages a deep startup network in Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston to fuse leading technology, E-commerce and user experience innovations to existing customer-oriented businesses.

Brad Bogolea

CEO and Co-Founder, Simbe Robotics

CEO and Co-Founder, Simbe Robotics

Brad Bogolea is CEO and Co-Founder of Simbe Robotics, where he is responsible for the company’s vision and execution of its leading automation solution for the retail industry. The NRF Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the National Retail Federation (NRF), has named Brad to “The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future.” Prior to Simbe, Brad spent 10 years in the energy and wireless sensor industry.

Jeff Burnstein

President, The Association for Advancing Automation

President, The Association for Advancing Automation

Jeff Burnstein is the President of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the parent group of the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, the Motion Control and Motors Association (MCMA) and A3 Mexico. Together these trade groups represent over 1,000 global companies involved in robotics, vision, motion control and motors and related automation technologies.

Key A3 activities include an annual Business Forum in Orlando every winter, content-rich websites, development of standards, the collection of statistics and sponsorship of leading industry events including the biennial Automate trade show and conference. Burnstein joined RIA in 1983 and has held a variety of senior positions, culminating in his promotion to President of A3 in 2007. He is a frequent commentator on issues such as the impact of automation on jobs and the future of automation beyond the factory floor.

Jeff Donaldson

CEO, Intriosity, and former CIO, GameStop

CEO, Intriosity, and former CIO, GameStop

Jeff Donaldson serves as CEO of Intriosity. Prior to this, he was GameStop’s Senior Vice President of GameStop Technology Institute and served as GameStop’s CIO. In his fourteen years at GameStop, Jeff played a key role in the creation of GTI, and GameStop’s new IT structure introduced in 2013. The new structure includes four strategic areas – IT Strategy, Architecture Design, IT Delivery and the GameStop Technology Institute. Each area is designed to accelerate the identification and adoption of new capabilities and solutions to address the ever-changing IT challenges impacting business today.

Following GameStop’s acquisition of Electronics Boutique in 2005, Donaldson led the effort to integrate the EB and GameStop technology systems into a single platform. Before coming to GameStop, Donaldson was vice president of information resource management at The Associates. Prior to that, he held progressive management positions with AMR Corporation/The SABRE Group, Texas Instruments, and the Illinois State Government’s technology team.

Dr. Martial Hebert

Dean, School of Computer Science, Professor, and Director, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

Dean, School of Computer Science, Professor, and Director, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

Martial Hebert is a Dean of the School of Computer Science, Professor of Robotics at Carnegie-Mellon University and Director of the Robotics Institute. His research interests include computer vision and robotics, especially recognition in images and video data, model building and object recognition from 3D data, and perception for mobile robots and for intelligent vehicles. His group has developed approaches for object recognition and scene analysis in images, 3D point clouds, and video sequences.

In the area of machine perception for robotics, his group has developed techniques for people detection, tracking, and prediction, and for understanding the environment of ground vehicles from sensor data. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Computer Vision.

Dr. Don High

former Chief Scientist, Walmart

former Chief Scientist, Walmart

Dr. Don High is an inventor and data scientist with an exceptional track record as an inventor as Chief Scientist at Walmart's technology groups. He inspires innovators globally to produce amazing results in robotics and aeronautics. Associated research and development initiatives put 680 inventions into the patent queue with more than 250 published and more than 140 granted.

Don received his BA from Calvary Bible College and University, his Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University, and his Ph.D. in Industrial and Organization Psychology from Northcentral University.

Dr. Kevin Lynch

Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director, Center for Robotics and Biosystems, Northwestern University

Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director, Center for Robotics and Biosystems, Northwestern University

Kevin Lynch is chair of the mechanical engineering department at Northwestern University and director of the Center for Robotics and Biosystems. His research is in robotic manipulation, locomotion, human-robot systems, and robot swarms. He is editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics, co-author of leading textbooks on robotics and mechatronics, instructor of six Coursera online courses forming the “Modern Robotics” specialization, and an IEEE fellow. He received his BSE in electrical engineering from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Andra Keay

Managing Director, Silicon Valley Robotics

Managing Director, Silicon Valley Robotics

Andra Keay is Managing Director and Founder of Silicon Valley Robotics, the leading non-profit robotics cluster. The process of commercializing innovation is at the heart of Silicon Valley Robotics, and lessons learned are applied globally. Andra is an expert in aligning the multidisciplinary stakeholders required in a high-tech innovation cluster and speaks regularly on the growing business of AI, robotics, and the ethical issues that emerge.

Silicon Valley Robotics is the leading non-profit robotics cluster. The process of commercializing innovation is at the heart of Silicon Valley Robotics. We take the best ecosystem practices from Silicon Valley’s history of innovation (transistors, computers, mobile, internet) and apply it to the emerging industries of robotics and AI. SVR partners with many global organizations to develop ecosystems, to teach innovation practices, to provide a landing pad for visiting companies, and to make connections with robotics and AI startups and investors.

Dr. John Ostrem

CEO and Co-Founder, AvatarMind

CEO and Co-Founder, AvatarMind

Dr. John Ostrem has over 25 years’ experience developing new technology, bringing products to market and founding new companies. He is the CEO and co-founder of AvatarMind, a company that makes the iPal social robot for children’s education, elder care, and retail/hospitality. He founded China MobileSoft in 2001, a company that developed Linux-based telecommunications software for the Chinese and International markets, and has served as its Chairman, CEO, and CTO.

Subsequently, he was CTO and Chief Scientist of Nexage, a company that provides mobile Ad optimization and brokering services. He is a member of the Technology Advisory Panel for Robotics for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Dr. Ostrem began his career as a scientist at SRI International (the former Stanford Research Institute). He has a Ph.D. from the University of California.

Dr. Todd Murphey

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Todd Murphey is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences in the Feinberg School of Medicine, both at Northwestern University.

He received his Ph.D. in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology. His laboratory is part of the Neuroscience and Robotics Laboratory, and his research interests include robotics, control, computational methods, assistive/rehabilitative robotics, and computational neuroscience. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2006, was a member of the 2014-2015 DARPA/IDA Defense Science Study Group, and is a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Marios Savvides

Founder and Director, Biometrics Center and Research Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, CyLab, Carnegie Mellon University

Founder and Director, Biometrics Center and Research Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, CyLab, Carnegie Mellon University

Marios is the Founder and Director of the Biometrics Center at Carnegie Mellon University and is a Research Professor at the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department and CMU CyLab.

His research is mainly focused on developing algorithms for robust face and iris biometrics, as well as pattern recognition, machine vision and computer image understanding for enhancing biometric systems performance. He received his B. Eng. in Microelectronics Systems Engineering from University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the U.K., his Master of Science in Robotics from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, also at Carnegie Mellon University.

Tim Rowland

CEO, Badger Technologies

CEO, Badger Technologies

Mr. Rowland has more than 38 years of engineering, manufacturing test, sales and strategy experience. Currently, Mr. Rowland is CEO of Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil. In this role, he is responsible for driving all aspects of the sales, development, delivery and service for Badger Technologies suite of retail offerings.
Prior to Badger Technologies, Mr. Rowland spent 28 years at Lexmark where he successfully launched an engineering startup focused retail robotics (acquired by Jabil in 2017). Mr. Rowland also spent 10 years at IBM in various manufacturing test engineering, development and research roles. Mr. Rowland is a graduate of Georgia Tech with a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering.

Dr. Robert Zhang

Co-Founder and President, CloudMinds Technology

Co-Founder and President, CloudMinds Technology

Dr. Robert Zhang, is Co-Founder and President of CloudMinds Technology, where he is responsible for the company’s global business and product strategies, operations, and strategic partnerships. Prior to co-founding CloudMinds, Robert worked as Head of Service Strategy and Operations for Samsung Telecommunications America.

Robert earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computational Mechanics and M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Illinois, an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University, and a B.S. from Tongji University, China.

RAC Retail Robotics Activities

 

Raise industry awareness. Examples include:

  • Emerging Trends in Retail Robotics, RAC Research Article, May 2020.
  • “Grocery Stores turn to Robots during the Coronavirus,” CNN Business, April 7, 2020.
  • “Retail’s Robot Revolution,” Stores Magazine, July 2019.
  • Why is there Robots in my Store,” NRF Big Show Presentation, January 15, 2019.
  • “Robot Radical: Talking about the Future of Retail Robots,” Stores Magazine, April 2018.
  • “Retail Robots: The Next Frontier,” Retail Executive Magazine, January 2, 2018.
  • “Retail Robotics: Potential Applications and the Human-Less Store of the Future,” Journal of Retail Analytics, 4th Qtr. 2017.

 

Industry Conference: RAC Robotics Research Project (meeting October 31, 2019, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL)

 

Other activities:

  • Work with existing and emerging robotics companies to aid them in expanding their business by introducing them to retailers and helping them to secure pilots. In addition, aiding these firms in developing new applications of data.
  • Assist retailers in understanding the benefits associated with implementing robots into their stores and for process automation.
  • Publish research. Currently, we are interested in a test of a robotic RFID project.
  • Creating industry standards around robot generate data and bot-to-bot communication protocols, as well as testing of 5G applications and the use of synthetic training data.

“Why is There Robots in my Store?”

28 MIN VIDEO

At the NRF Big Show on January 15, 2019, Steven Keith Platt (Platt Retail Institute and Retail Advisory Council) joined Nick Bertram (GIANT Food Stores) and Tim Rowland (Badger Technologies) for an exciting panel discussion.

Details about the event: nrfbigshow.nrf.com

Sponsors