Amazon announced that it's annual Prime Day shopping event would be on October 13 and 14 this year, but we're already starting to see Prime-exclusive deals available. One of them knocks the 3rd-generation Echo Dot to its lowest price ever -- only $20 -- when you buy two of them and use the code DOTPRIME2PK at checkout. That means you'll spend a total of $40 for two Echo Dots, which is $10 less than the normal price and $2 less than their 2019 Black Friday sale price. Remember -- this is an early Prime Day deal, so you must be an Amazon Prime member to get the savings. The company continues to offer 30-day free trials to new Prime subscribers, so you can sign up and take advantage of this deal as well as be all set for Prime Day when it rolls around in about two weeks. It's also worth calling out that the Echo Dots in this deal are the previous models.
It was reported that Venture Capital investments into AI related startups made a significant increase in 2018, jumping by 72% compared to 2017, with 466 startups funded from 533 in 2017. PWC moneytree report stated that that seed-stage deal activity in the US among AI-related companies rose to 28% in the fourth-quarter of 2018, compared to 24% in the three months prior, while expansion-stage deal activity jumped to 32%, from 23%. There will be an increasing international rivalry over the global leadership of AI. President Putin of Russia was quoted as saying that "the nation that leads in AI will be the ruler of the world". Billionaire Mark Cuban was reported in CNBC as stating that "the world's first trillionaire would be an AI entrepreneur".
The Kroger Co. plans to roll out Everseen's Visual AI technology chainwide to detect and reduce customer errors at self-checkout stations. Ireland-based Everseen said its artificial intelligence and machine learning platform began deployment in Kroger stores in March and is slated to be installed at 2,500 stores in the coming months. The Visual AI platform watches video in real time to recognize regular processes and "intelligently" step in whenever something is amiss, Evergreen explained. For Kroger shoppers, the technology flags errors occasionally experienced at self-checkout and enables customers to self-correct or, if they're unable to rectify the problem, an associate is summoned to help. For example, if a customer scanning groceries at the self-checkout kiosk has an item that doesn't scan properly, Evergreen's solution identifies the non-scan incident and alerts a store associate via a mobile device to intervene and rescan the item.
Sam's Club is giving its members a new way to see the doctor – virtually. The Walmart-owned warehouse club chain announced a partnership with Seattle-based virtual primary care provider 98point6 Tuesday to provide members with an exclusive introductory fee and quarterly subscription. Sam's Club members with either a Club or Plus membership level can sign up for a quarterly subscription to 98point6's telehealth virtual clinic via a text-based app for $20 per participant for the first three months, $10 less than 98point6's regular sign-up fee of $30. With the subscription, unlimited virtual visits are $1 each with "access to U.S. board-certified doctors 24 hours a day and seven days a week," the retailer said in a news release. Walmart raises:Walmart increasing pay for approximately 165,000 hourly workers across U.S. stores, introducing new roles The quarterly subscription costs increase to $33.50 every three months per participant after the first three months.
Walmart is starting to deliver at-home COVID-19 tests by drone. A trial got underway in North Las Vegas today and the deliveries will expand to Cheektowaga, New York early next month. It's delivering the kits to qualifying patients who live within a mile of certain Walmart Supercenters in both locales. Patients will self-administer a nasal swab, which they'll send to Quest Diagnostics for testing. Walmart says there's no kit or delivery cost for those who opt to receive a test by drone, and there's a prepaid shipping label to return it.
Kmart Australia has launched its KBot platform that uses a combination of augmented reality (AR) technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable shoppers to view products in their own homes. The AR technology, developed by Valis, allows shoppers to view products in 3D in their own homes, while a conversational AI developed using Oracle Digital Assistant platform can help answer questions, including product dimensions and features, and recommend related products by converting speech to text. "The immersive AR and AI experience was designed to bring joy and inspiration to our customers' lives, and with extra help from our AI chatbot personality -- KBot assist -- we have been able to make shopping easier for customers by sprinkling delight across the customer journey," Kmart head of digital Melissa Wong said. Accessible via the klabs.com.au on any AR supported Apple or Android device, the KBot solution has been integrated with Kmart's existing Oracle Cloud CX technology. "Digital assistants, and artificial intelligence more broadly, have reached mainstream adoption and are providing new and exciting brand experiences to customers," Oracle Australia and New Zealand vice president and regional managing director Cherie Ryan said. "The KBot is a truly innovative experience, seamlessly blending AI and AR to create an engagement that is both fun and functional."
TikTok appears to have avoided a US ban at the last minute... probably. President Trump has agreed to a deal "in concept" (via CNBC) that theoretically allays US security issues while letting it operate in the country. True to earlier discussions, Oracle and Walmart would claim a 20% investment stake in a newly formed TikTok Global company that will run the social video service's business in the US and "most of the users" worldwide. Oracle would become TikTok's "secure cloud provider" and hold on to American data, while Walmart would wield its e-commerce and advertising technology. The deal will also see TikTok Global pay over $5 billion in "new tax dollars" to the US Treasury, and join with Oracle, Walmart and investors like Coatue and Sequoia to launch an AI-powered educational video curriculum. The program would teach kids basics like math, reading and science, as well as more advanced subjects like computer engineering.
This week was jam-packed with new product announcements but we also got a couple of good deals, too. Apple's AirPods Pro remain at their lowest price ever -- only $199 -- and the latest MacBook Air is $100 off. Those in need of a new smartphone can grab the latest from Samsung for $200 less and the solid Beats Solo Pro headphones are down to $199. Here are the best deals from this week that you can still buy today. You can get AirPods Pro for their lowest price ever, only $199, on Amazon, Walmart or Staples.
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