Fotorobot seems to be a manufacturer of systems that automate 360 product photography. Here's an example of some of my work of what he's referring to, however this is shot with a DIY solution and not with their robot product. If anyone is interested in building your own just let me know. For e-commerce I really think it adds to the customer experience since they can't physically interact with the product.
Such robotic equipment is cool but quite expensive and I agree with the previous poster that a DIY rig would often suffice. Here's our quick guide on building a nice small DIY 360 photo turntable out of two round plywood sheets and a lazy susan ball bearing ... very handy for anything that can be shot sitting on a table as-is or even suspended if you put a C-stand or a boom arm above it and use some fishing line.
360 Photography makes it possible for the user/visitor on a manufacturer or retailers web site to virtually hold the product. This makes it possible for the customer to make their own decisions about the product. They know that they get to see every angle of the product, not just the "money" shot of the product.
If it is a "design" item, they know how it is surfaced, how it catches the light and such.
If it is more towards the electronics category, they have the ability to rotate the product and see what types of interfaces, plugs and mountings the product has.
If it is a larger object like a car, they get to see the product from the front, side and tail, an example is what does the police car look like in the rear view mirror.
If it is a museum pice, you get a chance to see what the item looks like all around. We never get the chance to "pick up" that 130 year old baseball.
On top of the ability to show every angle, the client has the ability to add call outs for locations in the rotation(hotspots). This helps educate the user on the item and its functionality.
In the beginning, most items that were photographed were handheld/consumer electronic items. Cell Phones, Set top DVD players, Clothing, Sporting equipment. Today larger items can be photographed such as Bedroom suits, BBQ Grills, Tractors, Caskets. For us it is anything smaller than 16ft by 16ft.