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Swisslog, for the first time, partnered with Etisalat to showcase its latest robot-based solution ItemPiQ, which is specially designed for repeated, reliable picking of a wide range of items for the fast delivery of orders at low operating costs. Alain Kaddoum, General Manager at Swisslog Middle East explained more about the solution and Swisslog in general, during an interview with Telecom Review at GITEX Technology Week.

With picking and palletizing making up to 60% of warehouse operational costs, the ItemPiQ robot can handle a wide variety of common products in retail, e-commerce and pharmaceutical industries weighing up to 1.5kg and can reach 1,100mm. By using 3D vision technology for object recognition, ItemPiQ’s unique gripper can pick up to 1,000 items per hour and allows picking of a wide range of products of different shapes and sizes, error-free.

Swisslog partnered with Etisalat for the first time at GITEX this year. Why did you choose Etisalat in particular and what does this partnership entail?

Etisalat was looking into showcasing a unique unmanned retail experience so we collaborated with them to integrate logistics automation in their GITEX experience which focused in part on the smart retail industry. The solution we provided - ItemPiQ is an automatic picking robot arm for the retail and e-commerce customers that is based on machine learning algorithms. Through it, we were able to add value to the retail experience presented to the visitors of Etisalat’s booth at GITEX.

How are Swisslog solutions paving the way for Industry 4.0?

Everything happening currently in the industry goes under the umbrella of Industry 4.0. The main idea is to have modular factories, integrated solutions and smart solutions which are driven by AI and Big Data. Logistics automation is also an integral part of Industry 4.0. We are highly developing robotics and machine learning and AI algorithms in our solutions to shift from traditional warehouse manual solutions to intelligent and forward thinking warehouses or what we call the warehouse of the future.

How can Swisslog’s logistics automation solutions help the UAE achieve Vision 2021?

UAE Vision 2021 is all about making Dubai smarter and connected. Our solutions are based on data connectivity and our main mission is to make warehouses smart. AI and robotics are transforming the logistics industry which was considered as the backyard of all the retail, e-commerce and pharmaceutical spare parts. However, state-of-the-art solutions are now deployed in warehouses, thus making them smarter.

What are your goals for 2020 and are you planning on announcing new partnerships soon?

This year we’ve been lucky enough to win a new project with a client but details are confidential for now. Around a dozen of automated warehouse projects has been achieved so far mostly in the UAE. We are aiming to launch more solutions in the retail sector and e-commerce which is booming and will most certainly attract more investments in the coming years.

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