Planet Business

Fulfilment centres, shocking surveys and welcome to baby Max

 

Image of the week: Robot talk

Under the motto “making a future with robots”, the International Robot Exhibition 2015 has been taking place this week where other than in Tokyo, Japan, the home of robotic innovation. One of its stars is the slightly punchdrunk-looking Sota, aka Prof Hiroshi Ishiguro’s “social talker” robot, which, rather than chatting with mere humans, prefers the conversation of other robots, such as the more elaborate CommU.

At a demonstration this year one CommU asked “do you know Denmark?” A second CommU replied “I love Denmark”, to which the first said “I love Denmark, too”.

To be fair, this is more interesting and sophisticated than 95 per cent of human-to-human exchanges.

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

In Numbers: Spending estimates

€500-plus Sum that 54 per cent of Irish consumers expect to spend on Christmas presents, according to Aviva Home Insurance.

€544 Average amount that people will spend on Christmas gifts this year, according to Eir Connected Living. (This rose to €771 for parents).

€563 Average sum that the Irish League of Credit Unions says Irish people will spend on the whole shebang this year.

The Lexicon: Fulfilment centres

Fulfilment centres, or “fulfillment centers” to give them their more usual US spelling, are not new – Amazon is on its “eighth-generation” design of fulfilment centre – but in the week of Cyber Monday they are topical. Fulfilment centres are the warehouses used by online retailers, from Amazon downwards, to process customer orders. This typically involves a forklift and a labelling machine. “Warehouse”, however, is far too prosaic and last-century a term, so instead it’s all about fulfilment. Amazon has more than 20 of these centres in Europe, where it also offers Multi-Channel Fulfilment and operates a European Fulfilment Network and everybody involved is entirely fulfilled – especially the staff.

Getting to know: Max Chan Zuckerberg

Max Chan Zuckerberg is the newborn daughter of Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, and the one thing we know about her is that she’s going to be rich – but not as rich as she might have been had her parents not pledged to give away 99 per cent of their Facebook stock during their lives. The sum, currently worth about $45 billion, will be assigned to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to “advance human potential and promote equality for all children”.

More exciting news for Baby Max, perhaps, is that her father is taking two months’ paternity leave. “We can’t wait to see what you bring to this world,” Chan and Zuckerberg told her via a lengthy Facebook post. It’s a lovely sentiment, as long as it doesn’t refer to the thrill of nappy-changing.

The list: Unbelievable survey findings

Warning: The results of these company surveys from 2015 will shock you to your core. (Hat tip to Pamela Newenham).

1 Holiday bliss 90 per cent of Irish people feel less stressed and more relaxed after a holiday, according to Expedia.

2 Mistletoe etiquette 90 per cent of employees think the Christmas party might be an inappropriate time to ask for a promotion, says office supply firm Viking.

3 Employee retention 42 per cent of workers say they would be more likely to stay with a company that cares, according to voucher company One4All.

4 European blues 63 per cent of Irish people don’t fancy Ireland’s chances of winning the Eurovision Song Contest by 2025, claims IrishJobs.ie

5 Parental support 63 per cent of Irish mothers think their child deserves a promotion, according to LinkedIn.

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