Everyone has focused on whether Ocado, the online grocery delivery group, was going to be taken over by Amazon. And when it confirmed that Amazon was not in talks with the company, the share price plummeted.
But this is just a distraction.
Ocado is one of Britain’s most exciting tech companies, as it’s racking up massive revenue growth and creating a whole heap of technology that it can hive off and sell on to other businesses should it wish.
And today, Ocado proved that by announcing the launch of the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP) with Cambridge Consultants, which is the world’s first in radio design that allows Ocado to control 1,000 machines, communicating with them 10 times a second, all within an area the size of an Olympic swimming pool.
The innovative wireless solution is also scaleable — so could potentially handle 20 times the number of movements.
To put into perspective how major this tech is, it’s on the scale of attempting to control the movements of all the aircraft that fly in and out of London’s Heathrow Airport in a day — but all at the same time and while they’re circling around within a few kilometres of each other.
The system helps the company further reduce the need for human workers inside its vast customer fulfilment centres, where it packages shopping for delivery.
There’s a pretty cool video showing the warehouse in action that you can see here but here’s a snippet of the automated warehouse in action:
“It was clear early on that no technology existed which would do what Ocado needed,” said Tim Ensor, head of connected devices at Cambridge Consultants, which has one of the world’s largest independent wireless development teams, in a statement.
“That meant they needed to create a completely custom solution to achieve the required performance — but do so in a way that had a manageable risk profile and in the minimum amount of time. They engaged us to help them achieve this.”
Not only does it maximise warehouse efficiency for Ocado — it will transform warehouses across the globe. In fact, Ocado is selling the system to international retailers, so this could become a reality.
But interestingly, Ocado pointed out that “as well as logistics, the system could potentially be used to control fleets of semi-autonomous vehicles at sites such as factories, construction sites and airfields. Ocado is the intellectual property owner and has filed a number of patents for this new technology.”
In fact, one of the patents look awfully similar to one Business Insider picked up in May last year.
It already posted an incredible set of numbers earlier this month, such as profits soaring 65% year-on-year and gross revenue rocketing 15% to over £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion), so the money from tech sales could boost its bottom line significantly.
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