FamilyMart to allow shorter operating hours at stores across Japan

The Japan Times

Convenience store operator FamilyMart Co. has said it will allow its franchise owners across Japan to shorten operating hours from March, in a bid to address a severe labor shortage during late-night hours. Under the new policy, which will cover nearly 16,000 stores, franchise owners will be able to shut down for part or all of the period from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. if they notify the headquarters in advance. "It is up to each of our franchise owners to make a decision" to end 24-hour operations, said Takashi Sawada, president of the company, at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday. Store owners who want to cut operating hours would be able to choose to do so either every day or only on Sundays, according to firm, which is Japan's second-largest convenience store operator based on number of outlets. FamilyMart will also raise its monthly incentive to ¥120,000 ($1,100) from ¥100,000 for stores that maintain around-the-clock operations.

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United States should make a massive investment in AI, top Senate Democrat says


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Business must engage with consumers to boost AI


A study by the University of London and Vanson Bourne for WP Engine has concluded that transparency, trust and humanness are key drivers to unlock value in artificial intelligence (AI). The study, which surveyed consumers and enterprise companies with 1,000 employees or more in the US, the UK and Australia, found a large proportion of businesses are already well on their way towards widespread AI implementation. Chris Brauer, director of innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London, said: "Our research shows enterprises investing in AI are already seeing astounding return on investment and performance outcomes. Consumers are demanding that innovating with AI in digital experiences clearly prioritises and expresses values around privacy, trust, and transparency. "Only by laying a solid foundation of ethics and values that guide the implementation of all facets of an AI solution will companies truly be able to fully harness the value of AI." The study reported that 85.5% of businesses ...

AI adoption and investments growing among health industry leaders


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Pwn2Own Tokyo 2019 victimize Sony, Samsung and Amazon devices SC Media


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AI chip startup taps two UK design teams


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How AI Supports Marketing & Sales in Understanding the Customer Journey


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Voice Technology: As Google Duplex Wows and Scares, a Post-Screen World Emerges with Questions that the Smart Speakers Cannot Answer


Such is computing's future--to each of our voices. Voice assistants hang on every word we say, when prompted. Their genesis has created an entire family named Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Pepper, Watson, and, most recently, Duplex. One wonders when smart speakers will replace what you're looking at now--this screen. The promise of voice interfaces was demonstrated again in May when Google rolled out Duplex, an AI-driven voice assistant so lifelike and sophisticated that some found it astounding but others deemed it unsettling and wondered if a new era of robocall abuse just dawned.