China races ahead in public use of facial-recognition technology, for good or for ill

The Japan Times

SHANGHAI – From toilet-paper dispensers to fast-food restaurants, travel and crime-fighting, China is taking the lead in rolling out facial-recognition technology. Advocates say it makes life easier, quicker and safer. Opponents say it is another example of how the Chinese government keeps a sinister and increasingly close eye on its 1.4 billion people. Shanghai and other cities have recently started deploying facial recognition to catch those who flout the rules of the road. Jaywalkers at some intersections have their images flashed up on a nearby screen for public shaming and must pay a fine of 20 yuan ($3) to have it removed.

Starbucks Just Made Your Coffee Experience More Innovative


When Starbucks (SBUX) announced the closure of all of its 379 Teavana stores by the spring of 2018, it came as a warning signal to many analysts. But for long-term investors, Starbucks future growth prospects could look more promising. Acquired in 2012 for $620 million, Teavana stores are set to close due to declining foot traffic in malls. As a result of this retrenchment, Starbucks incurred asset impairment and goodwill charges of roughly $100 million during the third quarter. Following the news, Starbucks shares fell 1.2% to $58.80 in after-hours trading.

Restaurants Tackle Mobile-Ordering Problems

Wall Street Journal

New signs in the store direct customers who placed online orders to the pickup area, and employees were given extra training that includes guiding to-go customers to the right area. Now, during peak traffic periods at certain cafes, a barista uses one machine to make drinks for mobile customers while another uses the second to make drinks for in-store guests. Some companies that have offered digital ordering for years, like Domino's Pizza Inc., are facing new challenges as technology evolves. "If it's a local coupon that's only available in one or two stores, the voice assistant has a hard time figuring out which coupon you're talking about," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's chief digital officer.

What Is Data Science?


Location discovery service Foursquare, using a range of data science techniques, predicted that Chipotle's Q1 2016 revenue would drop by 30%, compared to the previous year (Chipotle is a US fast-food outlet) . We would use machine learning to compute the steps required to automate a business, typically human derived, process. And companies require information to make good decisions. But that all changed when 1) we started using fast CPUs (processing units inside computers) and GPUs (processing units inside "gamers" graphics cards), but most importantly, 2) when there was a large amount of data available to "train" the networks of neurons.

Zume Pizza lands $48 million in funding for robotic pizza delivery


A robotics startup called Zume Pizza, which is automating en route pizza production, has raised nearly $50 million in venture funding. Food costs are going down, which is good news for fast food companies, but labor costs have been rising steadily. According to an SEC filing, Zume Pizza's recent round raised $48 million, just shy of the company's goal. Last December Zume raised $23 million.

RoboBusiness 2017: What's cooking in robotics?


"We realized we could automate more of the unsafe repetitive tasks of operating a kitchen using flexible, dynamic robots," explains Collins, who currently employees over 50 human workers that do everything from software engineering to supervising the robots to delivering the pizza. "The humans that work at Zume are making dough from scratch, working with farmers to source products, recipe development--more collaborative, creative human tasks. Serenti Kitchen in San Francisco plans to bring the Keurig pod revolution to food with its proprietary machine that includes prepared culinary recipe pods that are dropped into a bowl and whipped to perfection by a robotic arm (see above). Chen's observations are shared by many in the IoT and culinary space, as this year's finalists in the Smart Kitchen Summit include more robotic of inventions, such as Crepe Robot that automatically dispense, cook and flavors France's favorite snack and GammaChef, a robotic appliance that promises like Serenti to whip up anything in a bowl.

Domino's Pizza CEO on Technology, Self-Driving Cars and Artificial Intelligence


Domino's Pizza (DPZ) is quite a technology company with 60% of its sales stemming from digital platforms. "The majority of the interaction for ordering now on the front end is through digital," said Domino's Pizza CEO Patrick Doyle. "We've got a back end that is about delivering great tasting pizza quickly and efficiently but the front-end interaction with people now is really no different than it is at Amazon (AMZN) or eBay (EBAY) or any other technology company." The company recently announced a link-up with Ford (F) to test self-driving pizza delivery vehicles, a technology Doyle expects in action within 10 years.

Sorry Elon Musk But Artificial Intelligence Grows Jobs: Domino's Pizza CEO


It's good for business, according to Domino's Pizza (DPZ) CEO Patrick Doyle. "Technology ultimately drives efficiency, it drives a better experience for the customer. If you do that, the business grows and it ultimately grows employment." Domino's employs some 14,100 people, as of January 1, 2017.

Burger-flipping robot 'Flippy' gets its first job

Daily Mail

Flippy, the artificial intelligence-driven robot that can'cook the perfect burger every time,' has now replaced human workers in a CaliBurger restaurant in Pasedena. Flippy, the artificial intelligence-driven robot that can'cook the perfect burger every time,' has now replaced human workers at a CaliBurger in Pasedena. 'Flippy is an AI-powered robot that works in tandem with kitchen staff,' Zito told in March, when the company began testing the robot at a CaliBurger in Pasadena. 'While the biggest companies in the world are focused on using computer vision and artificial intelligence to drive cars and manage the home, Cali Group will facilitate and lead the adoption of these emerging technologies in the restaurant and retail industries,' said John Miller, Chairman and CEO of Cali Group, at the time of the funding announcement.

McDonald's kicks off network transformation with Telstra


Telstra said the "umbrella" fibre network will be used by McDonald's to enhance its operations and provide customers with a connected brand experience, as well as increasing cost and time efficiencies for licensees. TIPT is a fully managed cloud service providing medium and large enterprises with a unified communication solution supporting voice, video, messaging, mobility, and collaboration; Telstra said it could be used by McDonald's for such applications as enabling video conferencing and collaboration between head office and individual stores. "Our new network will provide more speed and reliability, creating better connectivity experiences for our customers, and enhance key restaurant operations for our back office." Last month, John Boyd, CIO of Australian food chain Mad Mex, told ZDNet that his company's digital transformation could see it use Microsoft Azure machine-learning capabilities in future.