Industry News Details

The Amazing Ways Ocado Uses Artificial Intelligence And Tech To Transform The Grocery Industry Posted on : Oct 30 - 2020

While many know UK company Ocado as an online grocery retailer, it's really one of the most innovative tech companies in the world. Ocado was founded in 2000 as an entirely online experience and therefore never had a brick-and-mortar store to serve its customers, who number 580,000 each day. Its technology expertise came about out of necessity as it began to build the software and hardware it needed to be efficient, productive, and competitive. Today, Ocado uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in many ways throughout its business.

From Online Retailer to Ocado Technology

Since 2000, Ocado tried to piece together the technology they needed to succeed by purchasing products off the shelf. They quickly realized these off-the-shelf solutions weren’t suitable for the unique demands of an online grocery, so they set out to build the hardware and software they needed. Today, the Ocado Smart Platform runs end-to-end e-commerce and is being sold to other brick-and-mortar grocery retailers such as Canadian grocer Sobey’s, French retailer Groupe Casino, Aeon in Japan, Kroger in the United States, ICA in Sweden, and others around the world. Ocado Technology is helping to provide software as a service and hardware to help other grocers operate profitably and sustainably online. Ocado Technology has led the industry in innovation for years, from launching the first grocery app in 2009 to being the first UK supermarket to have an Alexa app.

Automated warehouses

Ocado’s warehouses are fully automated. The company’s warehouses illustrate the power of Industry 4.0, where technology trends such as the Internet of Things, robotics, big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are at work every day, making Ocado's operations streamlined and efficient—in just 5 minutes robotics can complete 50,000 orders. The choreography of the robots—a swarm—is something to behold as they navigate around warehouses the size of several football fields, pick up bins and deliver them to pick stations to complete customer orders. Ocado made this system completely scalable to accommodate the evolving needs of online grocers during changing seasons, promotions, and events such as a global pandemic. This robotic workforce is powered by big data and artificial intelligence and becomes better through machine learning. Machine learning determines the traffic flow of the robots through the warehouse to prevent collisions and to optimize efforts, calculates the precise placement of bins for maximum efficiency, and also monitors the health and maintenance needs of the robots to reduce any downtime. Artificial intelligence also helps the system understand what products are in stock through real-time availability, so they are able to give customers what they expect to receive. View More