OPERATIONS

Office Depot expands in-store 3-D printing

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boca Raton, Fla. – Office Depot is expanding 3D Systems Cube 3-D printing services to 150 Office Depot stores nationwide.

Customers can experience 3-D printing demonstrations in stores in eight states or print on their own by purchasing the Cube or CubeX applications from www.officedepot.com. Participating states are California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.

The 3D Systems Cube is equipped with a tablet-like touch-screen and 16 different color options, including two that glow in the dark. It prints objects up to 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5” in size. It prints objects in all sizes up to 10.8” x 10.45” x 9.5.”

“We received an overwhelming response from our initial pilot program in Denver,” said George Hill, Office Depot’s senior VP of copy and print depot. “Customers ranging from tech buffs and entrepreneurs to marketers, educators and stay-at-home parents commented on how they would utilize 3-D printing in their lives. With that insight, we knew we needed to expand the scope and offer these demonstrations to markets across the country.”

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Report: Wal-Mart to lay off 150 in India

BY Dan Berthiaume

Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart India is laying off roughly 100-150 senior to mid-level employees. The Financial Press quotes anonymous executives as saying Wal-Mart India, which currently employs about 1,100 workers, beefed up staffing in anticipation of an expansion that has now been put on hold.

Wal-Mart runs 20 wholesale stores in India. The retailer previously ran them in a joint venture with Indian company Bharti Enterprises, but since that partnership was dissolved in October 2013 Wal-Mart India has been taking on Bharti employees.

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Report: Dept. of Commerce to issue facial recognition guidelines

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. — The U.S, Department of Commerce will reportedly start meeting with companies including Facebook, Apple and Wal-Mart in February 2014 to create voluntary guidelines for the commercial use of facial recognition technology. According to Bloomberg, the Department of Commerce plans to have formal guidelines ready for release in June 2014.

The guidelines, which would only apply to commercial entities and not to government agencies, would require companies to notify consumers before using facial recognition technology and receive their permission to apply it to them. Companies that agreed to follow the guidelines and then failed to do so could face sanctions from trade groups as well as class action lawsuits.

A representative of the National Retail Federation (NRF), which will represent Wal-Mart at development talks with the Department of Commerce, is quoted as saying the NRF has concerns about stifling development of facial recognition technology before its full capabilities are known.

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