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Is AI The Future Of Retail?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly becoming a key element in the modern, technologically driven world.  Along with other industries, AI is also making its presence known in the retail industry. 

Artificial intelligence is used to define the intelligence demonstrated by machines.  Through AI, machines can store data from previous experiences, adjust to new inputs and can also perform human like tasks.  By combining large sets of data, iterative processing and detailed algorithms, AI is able to learn quickly from patterned data.  AI can become a crucial part of retail business, if integrated properly. 

AI can be beneficial when it comes to daily task management and gaining insights about customers.  Using AI in retail stores can also contribute to time management for business owners as well. This could also help in customizing the shopping experience of customers all the while creating a better business due to customer interaction.  This, inturn, helps the business gain more customer insights.

Moreover, using such technology in the retail industry will leave less room for errors.  It will also help owners keep tabs on shoplifting as every item will have a record in the store database.  AI operated retails would be able to work 24*7 without any manpower, resulting in more profits for retail businesses.

Even though AI supported retail stores are still far away, two of the world’s biggest retailers, Amazon and Walmart, already introduced stores which are entirely AI dependent. 

In 2018, Amazon announced a chain of convenience stores named Amazon Go, which are partly automated.  The stores use several different technologies like computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion.  The ceilings of the stores are equipped with multiple cameras and the store shelves have weight sensors attached to them.  These weight sensors help in the detection of the items taken by a customer and the item is automatically added to the customer’s virtual cart.  Introduced on January 22nd 2018, Amazon Go has 18 outlets in the United States.

Meanwhile, Walmart, in April 2019, introduced its Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL.)  Based in New York, this store comes equipped with artificial intelligence cameras, interactive displays and massive data centers.  This store is also used by Walmart as a lab to explore the future use of AI in the retail industry. 

While AI operated stores are beneficial to everyone, the cost behind such a project can be a real nightmare.  Implementing high tech devices can be expensive, especially for small businesses and also increases dependency on machines.  However, the benefits of this technology are much higher, to be ignored completely.

Incorporating artificial intelligence into the retail sector may sound like science fiction.  However, the efforts put in by these giant retailers and the advancement of technology mean AI operated retail shops will be a part of our future.

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How This Bangalore Based Augmented Reality Startup Helped Contain Wuhan Covid-19 Outbreak

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How This Bangalore Based Augmented Reality Startup Helped Contain Wuhan Covid-19 Outbreak

When news about a new type of virus broke out, the world was not ready for what was to come.  The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan province of China. This is now established as the  epicenter/epicentrum that quickly paralysed the entire Country, before the virus spread to other countries.  Currently, the virus spread to almost every nation on the planet with Italy, Spain, America and Germany being some of the worst affected countries.

The virus seems to have finally subsided in Wuhan and life is slowly returning back to normal.  However, when the virus was at its peak, ventilators were the need of the hour. The virus affects the respiratory system and symptoms include difficulty in breathing.  Beside the lockdown which played a part in controlling the spread of the virus, ventilators supplied by Huber & Ranner, a German company played a vital role in combating the illness.  

However, the technical team could not travel from Germany to Wuhan in order to install the ventilators and demonstrate how to use them.  This is where a Bangalore based startup BlinkIn, stepped in to the rescue. According to reports, BlinkIn developed an augmented reality (AR) product named Scotty to provide visual guidance to the technicians in Wuhan.  They did this based out of their office in Pocking,Germany. All that the technicians in Wuhan had to do was to click on a link to see a visual demonstration.

Scotty was unlike the other AR products available currently and what makes it special is its simplicity of use and the ease of deployment.  Scotty uses WebGL, a JavaScript API(Applications Programming Interface,) to render graphics on to a compatible browser. Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of BlinkIn, Harshavardhan Kumar says “WebGL lets you access a mobile phone’s GPU (graphics processing unit) to run computer vision algorithms. That’s how we bring AR experiences through the Web rather than a mobile app (sic.)”   All the technicians at Wuhan had to do was point their phone screen at a ventilator and an installation point, and the AR markers helped indicate how to set the ventilators up as a technician walks through with instructions over voice communication.

The idea behind Scotty was to use lightweight technology in order to provide just enough AR support to get the job done ‘then and there.’  Scotty requires minimal computational power unlike traditional AR, which relies heavily on heavy downloads, graphics processing units and figuring out how to use it.

It is truly wonderful to see how different technologies are adapting to these uncertain times and it will certainly be interesting to see how AR can be merged into other technologies as well in the future.

 

ALSO READ: Coronavirus Pandemic Testing Startups By Disrupting Supply-Demand

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Fake Amazon App Takes A Dig At Toxic Dating Culture

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Dating took to the digital platform, where people could just log on to an app and look at people nearby, displayed as per the user’s preferences.  The dating culture took a turn for the worse with people becoming increasingly vain and letting it affect them to the extent of them having mental breakdowns.

Content creators Suzy Shinn, Ani Acopian and Morgan Gruer came up with an idea to collaborate with an animation company, Thinko, to create a dating site which looks strangely similar to the Amazon e commerce platform.

The work is meant to be a satirical take on the increasingly toxic dating culture prevalent in society today.  The site ‘sells,’ or rather auctions off people with a price tag. The people are priced differently and have love languages added into the descriptions so people can choose or buy a digital date according to their preference.

For example, a woman named Amy, aged 29, has a description which says she is “trained as barista,” “famous on TikTok,” “has a child” and “WARNING: won’t text back.”

The entire web page looks like a carbon copy of Amazon, including the checkout process and the buying options.

Clickbait ads which say “Find singles near you” are a testament to how easy it is to influence people under the guise of a date.  Therefore, it came as no surprise once the site went online that it attracted criticism, horror and ridicule. Social media had multiple reactions, with people saying black people are priced less than white people in view of the Black History Month.  Others took it with a pinch of salt and saw the humor behind the satire.

Regardless of the reactions it attracted, the creators managed to achieve their goal, which was to open the eyes of people to the toxic culture of online dating.  Amazon Dating also makes for an interesting case study about the power of what good digital marketing can do.

 

 

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Indian Origin Arvind Krishna To Take Over As IBM Chief Executive Officer

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Arvind Krishna Appointment as IBM CEO, Biggest Companies in World, Featured, IBM CEO, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, IBM Chief Executive Officer, IBM Company CEO, IBM Latest News 2020, IBM New CEO, IBM New Chief Executive Officer, Indian Origin Arvind Krishna, Indian Origin CEOs, startup stories

International Business Machines Corporation, more popularly known as IBM, is an American multinational company which majorly deals in information technology.  One of the biggest companies in the world, IBM currently ranks 38 on the Fortune 500 list of companies.

IBM offers a portfolio of interests in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytics, commerce, data and the Internet of Things.  The company was helmed by Virginia Rometty, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO.) Now, Arvind Krishna will take over the reins as the new CEO of IBM.

Arvind Krishna is a graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) and has a Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois.  Arvind Krishna previously worked as IBM’s Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software.

Virginia Rometty will retire after 40 years at IBM.  She was the first woman head of IBM. Virginia Rometty remarked about the appointment of Arvind Krishna and said he is the right person to lead the Company into the cloud computing era.  Multiple companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle and Adobe are heavily investing in cloud computing as well.

Arvind Krishna’s appointment as the CEO of IBM was welcomed by Indians as Arvind Krishna joins a unique club of Indian origin CEOs.  This club includes Satya Nadella (Microsoft,) Sundar Pichai (Google and Alphabet,) Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo,) Ajay Banga (MasterCard) and Shantanu Narayen (Adobe.)

Arvind Krishna will take over as IBM’s CEO on April 6th, 2020.

Read About How Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai here: Sundar Pichai To Lead Alphabet Inc As New CEO

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