According to real estate data firm Co-Star, over 90 million square feet of retail space is slated to close this year, leading observers to point to an obvious truth: empathy matters in customer service. Getting it right is another story. When businesses are out of touch with consumer needs, consumers stop buying and stores start dying. Enter "affective computing," an area of research involving machines that can read and display emotional intelligence, with applications as far ranging from preventative medicine to music lessons and every commercial sector in between. The retail industry isn't the only one eying "emotion AI" as a potential savior from digital disruption, but the physical spaces that characterize the retail experience ares providing innovators with a ripe venue to demonstrate the power that capturing and understanding customer sentiment can have.
If you're still wondering what is conversational commerce? It's a way of shopping or making any purchase online within a messaging or chat channel, like Facebook Messenger or Telegram by interacting with a brand's chatbot. We open a messaging channel to interact with a brand, a chatbot welcomes us, asks how it can help, and we're ultimately presented with just-the-right product or service we need. A virtual department store with a virtual salesperson, or a virtual assistant helping us place food or taxi orders: sounds like a refreshing at-home shopping and customer experience, yes? That's because it's meant to.
Amazon will now make deliveries to Prime members parked cars. The company said it will deliver packages to Prime members with Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Volvo cars via the Key App and linked connected car. Like the Amazon Key effort, which allows the e-commerce giant to open your door and deliver goods, Prime will now expand to your car. Amazon recently said that Prime has more than 100 million subscribers. Read also: Amazon unveils in-home delivery service Amazon Key 62 percent of Amazon deliveries may flow through USPS Amazon Ring acquisition: Made not for smart homes, but for deliveries Why Amazon's home robots aren't a stretch: All the infrastructure, ecosystem via AWS is in place Prime members will have the option to receive deliveries via the Key In-Car service.
The technology, called Stoplift, analyzes security video to automatically detect theft or errors at the checkout, according to Malay Kundu, the creator of Stoplift. "It can actually tell what you've handled versus what you've rung up," Kundu said. The Cambridge businessman used to develop real-time facial recognition systems to look for terrorists in airports. He realized similar technology could be used at the checkout to tackle a $13 billion per-year problem for grocery stores in the United States. "For every item that is stolen, they have to sell 50 more just to make up for that one item that was lost," Kundu said.
Top retailers are adopting AI to address CX challenges the retail industry is facing at large. No wonder, digitally savvy eCommerce retailers are leading the pack. Knowing is not enough, understanding the customer holds the key. How do you develop a thorough understanding of the customer? Is there a way to get a unified view of the customer journey?
Machine learning is a great way to extract maximum predictive or categorization value from a large volume of structured data. The idea (at least for "supervised learning," by far the most common type in business) is to train a model on a one set of labeled data and then use the resulting models to make predictions or classifications on data where we don't know the outcome. The approach works well in concept, but it can be labor-intensive to develop and deploy the models. One company, however, is rapidly developing a "machine learning machine" that can build and deploy very large numbers of models with relatively little human intervention. You may have heard of dunnhumby, a UK-based analytics company that's owned by the big retailer Tesco.
Some grocery stores in Rhode Island and Massachusetts are using artificial intelligence to catch shoplifters. The technology, called Stoplift, analyzes security video to automatically detect theft or errors at the checkout, according to Malay Kundu, the creator of Stoplift. "It can actually tell what you've handled versus what you've rung up," Kundu said. The Cambridge businessman used to develop real-time facial recognition systems to look for terrorists in airports. He realized similar technology could be used at the checkout to tackle a $13 billion per-year problem for grocery stores in the United States.
Agriculture companies are always striving to produce better tasting, longer lasting fruits and vegetables. Whether it's corn or berries, produce diminishes in value the minute it goes from the stalk or vine to the market. Driscoll's, a $3.5 billion provider of berry plants, is turning to emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain, to produce hardier plants and fortify its supply chain. "We're just scratching the surface on building an integrated data platform strategy that will take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning, both for R&D genetics and on the value chain of fruits as well as business operations," Driscoll's CIO Tom Cullen tells CIO.com. Driscoll's develops and leases strains of berry nursery plants -- strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries -- to growers around the world, from the Americas to New Zealand, China and Australia.
After years of failed attempts, a research team in Singapore has successfully taught a pair of robots to do something that many humans still can't: build an IKEA chair. The wooden Stefan chair is not the world's first piece of AI-assembled flatpack furniture: Robots at MIT built a simple Lack table in 2013. A chair is more complicated. And while a robot can be programmed to do a single assembly-line task efficiently, mastering all of the small tasks that IKEA assembly requires is a bigger challenge. Some of the same things humans struggle with, like fiddling with bags of screws, dowels, and doodads while trying to distinguish the slight variations in shape, are also difficult for robots.
Although artificial intelligence systems may be able to beat humans at board games, we still have the upper hand when it comes to complicated manual tasks. But now, scientists have created robots that can do something even most humans struggle with: Assemble an IKEA chair. Putting together a chair requires a combination of complex movements that, in turn, depends on such skills as vision, limb coordination, and the ability to control force. Until now, that was too much to ask of even a sophisticated robot. But researchers have finally broken the dexterity barrier by combining commercially available hardware, including 3D cameras and force sensors, to build two chair-building bots.