Retail Observer

December 2019

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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DECEMBER 2019 RETAILOBSERVER.COM 35 An Industry Working Together to Solve Hard Problems in Food Tech and the Future Kitchen SKS 2019 A t the first SKS in 2015, a group of like- minded folks in the food tech and connected kitchen worlds got together in an old cannery for a day because they knew that change was afoot, and they'd only just begin to think about doing something about it. Sure, it was noisy, crowded, and we only had an old couch on the stage. I still feel bad about making three adults sit there. But the connections formed on that day have flourished ever since. Fast forward to SKS 2019, and it's clear that we've come a long way as an event and an industry. Now we're not only in a beautiful waterfront venue with lots more space for our breakout talks, startup and sponsor displays and dedicated meeting spaces, but the conversation has moved on from the theoretical to practical solutions for getting things done. Here are some big takeaways from the staff of The Spoon during our two days in Seattle. Here, Chris Albrecht, Jenn Marston, Catherine Lamb and Michael Wolf describe what they took away from SKS 2019. CHRIS : Robots are ready to grapple with bigger issues. When it comes to food robotics and automation, the questions are evolving from straight technical ones like "Can a robot do X?" to deeper existential ones like "Great, but what does that mean for the people using and working with them?" During our panel discussion, Chas Studor, Co-Founder and CTO of Briggo, described how, before installing its automated Coffee Haus at SFO, the airport required changes to make the kiosk accessible to the visually impaired. Briggo's solution was to attach something akin to a Bat Phone on the side of the machine. Visually impaired customers can pick up the phone and speak directly with a Briggo rep who'll place their order.

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