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Business Tech Roundup: Walmart Rolls Out AI Forklifts

By April 28, 2024No Comments

(This column originally appeared in Forbes)


1 — Walmart is putting AI-powered electric forklifts to work.

Walmart is planning to test a robotics workforce in four of its distribution centers. The latest details indicate that 19 FoxBot Class 1 forklifts will be deployed to handle heavy labor. This next experimental round will be monitored by executives as Walmart works toward its goal of wider automation by 2026. A “stand-up autonomous forklift designed for load/unload operations on warehouse loading docks,” (Source: Electrek)

Why this is important for your business:

While major car companies struggle to get their self-driving vehicles working on public roads a number of companies are settling for getting their autonomous vehicles working inside the warehouse, where the space is more easily defined. Large organizations like Walmart have the budget to test and deploy these AI forklifts, for example. Ultimately and as the price comes down we’ll see most businesses with warehouse or retail operations doing the same.

2 — HP empowers small businesses with innovative tech — ahead of National Small Business Week.

Like many other big brands, tech giant HP Inc. is showing its support of small businesses with special offerings planned around National Small Business Week (April 28 — May 4). Among them include an All-in-One plan that simplifies printing needs with automatic ink cartridge refills, 24/7 tech support, and more for a low monthly fee; an HP EliteBook 860 laptop with AI-powered features; devices such as wireless earbuds and speakerphones for business communication. (Source: The Independent)

Why this is important for your business:

National Small Business Week is this week, which means it’s a great time to look for deals from tech companies like HP looking to promote their products and services to small businesses. I won’t list them here. But they’re out there.

3 — Ikea plans to train thousands of its employees to use AI.

When it comes to integrating AI with business operations, Ikea is focused on employee engagement as the home goods merchant is planning to train 3,500 of its employees in AI literacy. (Source: Digital Commerce 360)

Why this is important for your business:

According to the company, rather than scaling back its workforce with automation, Ikea is investing in its workers with this training to expand their capabilities. According to the report, the extent of the training will be based on the individual’s role in the company. Executives will take part in “AI Exploration Days” to strategize how the technology will align with company priorities. I think we’ll be seeing many companies do this to not only allay fears of AI but to introduce ways for people to do their jobs faster and with greater ease.

4 — A tech founder creates new AI platform for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“Tech-preneur” Laticia Austin recently announced the launch of iThinkContent, an all-in-one platform for entrepreneurs, small business owners and their support teams. “Our mission has always been to support and empower entrepreneurs,” she shared. “We’re taking this a step further by providing a one-stop solution for all content creation needs by leveraging the latest in AI technology.”(Source: KXAN Austin)

Why this is important for your business:

Created to help professionals manage their digital content, the platform offers AI-powered tools such as text and image generators, chatbots, an AI YouTube video creator, and AI code generator. “Content is king,” Austin said about the inspiration behind iThinkContent.

5 — Best plumbing software of 2024.

Forbes Advisor presents the best plumbing software for this year to manage scheduling, invoicing, inventory, and client info — especially helpful with periods of work overflow. GorillaDesk gets the highest rating for small businesses; RazorSync is ranked best for “streamlined scheduling.” Zuper Pro is listed for high efficiency with customer relationship management. Sychostream has the best automation features. Visit the link for the whole list. (Source: Forbes)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s a great list from a great team at Forbes that reviews technologies and other services for small businesses. It’s worth the time to explore the content that Forbes Advisor offers.

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