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Is AI The Future Of Retail?

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Is AI The Future Of Retail?,Startup Stories,Technology Latest News 2019,Future of Retail,artificial intelligence retail solutions,AI in Retail,AI in Retail 2019,Benefits of AI in Retail,AI Future,Artificial Intelligence Retail,World Biggest Retailers,AI Retail Sector


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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HCL And Nine Other Companies To Develop A Desi Alternative For Zoom And Google Meets

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HCL And Nine Other Companies To Develop A Desi Alternative For Zoom And Google Meets

The Indian government suggested that Indians need to aggressively work on homegrown technologies and develop them so that they are on par with technologies developed by global giants.  This push comes on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the government to enforce a strict lockdown which has exceeded two months.  The economic struggles are slowly becoming apparent as the shutdown has impacted millions of businesses across the country.  In order to stabilize the economy the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi suggested Indians should focus on locally sourced products as a first priority.

During the lockdown chances of hearing about online video calling applications like Zoom, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams are very high as a lot of businesses which went remote have used one of these softwares as part of team communications.  The Indian government has identified and shortlisted ten Indian companies to develop a Made In India video conferencing solution.  These companies include Zoho, HCL, PeopleLink, Aria Telecom, CyberHorizon Corp, Instrive Softlabs, PeopleLink Unified Communications Sarv Webs, Soulpage IT Solutions, Techgentsia Software Technologies and Data Ingenious.

Each of these companies would receive 5 Lakh INR to develop a prototype similar to Zoom or Google Meets.  The government would then shortlist three companies out of the ten and grant them 20 Lakh INR, to develop the video conferencing platform.  The government would finally select one of the three companies to provide the final build which would be used by Central and state governments as an alternative to Zoom and Google Meets.

ALSO READ: Zoom Video Conferencing App Downloads Dethrone Whatsapp And TikTok In India

After the third round, the government would select the best solution which will get the final contract.  The contract is said to be for a period of four years.  In the first year, the government is expected to pay INR 1 Crore to the selected startup while additional INR 10 Lakh would be given to the company in the next three years for operations and maintenance of the solution.

The Project was undertaken by the Ministry of Information Technology and as a part of the push to promote Indian software products.  The video conferencing solution should be able to work in low bandwidth areas without any glitches. 

 

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Uber Rides Are Going To Be Changed Forever In The Foreseeable Future Because Of COVID-19

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Uber Rides Are Going To Be Changed Forever In The Foreseeable Future Because Of COVID-19

The world has changed so much in just two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic which spread across the world.  The virus, which is highly infectious, currently has no vaccine and most optimistic estimates peg the chance of a vaccine being discovered,  at one year away.  So governments across the world quarantined entire countries by imposing lockdowns and not letting anyone come out of their homes.  This was done as a measure to break the chain of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Needless to say, this has disrupted multiple industries with airlines, travel, transportation, hospitality and the event industry bearing the brunt of it.

Swiggy and Zomato, both of which are food delivery applications, have implemented a no-contact delivery where a delivery partner will leave the package at the door and leave.  Swiggy and Zomato went further so as to certify restaurants which sanitize their kitchens regularly and show them on their app for their customers.

Ride hailing companies like Uber and Ola have not seen any business in the last two months in India and have no clarity on when the government would deem it safe for cab services to resume.  However, there can be no denying that your next Uber ride is going to be completely different to how it was before the pandemic affected countries.  Uber in particular is already making changes to how it operates by predicting consumer behaviour in light of the COVID-19 virus.

These are some of the changes Uber is going to make to their operations.

  1. Uber is making face masks mandatory for both drivers and passengers during their rides.
  2. A driver partner will not be able to log in to their account and accept rides until they upload a selfie of themselves with a face mask.  The app will detect the face mask as an object and gives access to the driver partner to accept rides.
  3. Riders must agree to sit in the rear seats and must agree to keep the windows open at all times for ventilation.
  4. Only three passengers are allowed in a single cab per ride.  It used to be four passengers before the lockdown.
  5. Both riders and drivers can cancel the trip if they do not feel safe without any penalty.  
  6. Uber would be spending $ 50 million globally to buy personal protective equipment (PPEs) for drivers including sanitisers, masks and disinfectant wipes.

Uber is just one of the companies that is trying to adapt to the changes in consumer behavior which is bound to change after the lockdowns are lifted and life returns to normalcy.  We will have to wait and watch as to how other industries adapt to these changes in the future.

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Facebook Finally Launches Messenger Rooms Which Accommodates 50 People And Unlimited Video Calls

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Facebook Finally Launches Messenger Rooms Which Accommodates 50 People And Unlimited Video Calls

The lockdown and quarantine measures implemented in multiple countries meant that people could not commute to work or go outside for social gatherings.  This scenario hugely benefited video calling and conferencing platforms and applications.  Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts and Houseparty have seen a phenomenal spike in daily active users.  Facebook has joined the club by finally upgrading its messenger capabilities.  

Facebook Messenger is a chatting and video calling application developed by Facebook.  Facebook is finally introducing a new feature in messenger named Messenger Rooms.  The free feature will allow Facebook and Messenger users to create group video calls of up to 50 people, contrary to the eight people limit available currently.  The Messenger Room does not require a Facebook account and works similar to the Zoom meeting rooms.  Participants can join the room by clicking on a link.

ALSO READ: Zoom Video Conferencing App Downloads Dethrone Whatsapp And TikTok In India

The rooms do not have any time limit which lets people converse indefinitely.  There are a slew of other features like augmented reality filters, normal filters, virtual masks and a feature to lock the rooms.  Facebook also announced that it is doubling WhatsApp’s video call person limit from four  to eight people as well.  However the Messenger Rooms feature is not immediately available and Facebook will roll the feature out slowly in all the regions it operates.

In a company blog post,Facebook said that 700 million accounts participate in calls everyday between Facebook and WhatsApp.  Once Facebook announced this news, shares of the video calling company Zoom fell down by 5%.

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