Smart speakers with artificial intelligence technology are increasingly being employed to help older people or those with disabilities in their daily lives, with their voice-activated functionalities proving especially convenient for those with mobility issues or wanting to connect. The daily routine of Katsunori Endo, a 63-year-old resident of Yamagata Prefecture, includes greeting his AI speaker and asking for the day's weather and news. "It's convenient because it tells me the weather for specific regions," Endo said, adding that it will also tell him what happened on a particular day in history, or alert him to seasonal dates. Developed by e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc., Alexa is a smart speaker capable of performing a plethora of tasks in response to voice commands, including providing real-time information and controlling several other smart devices as a home automation system.
On Nov 28th 2019, the EU parliament declared a global climate and environmental emergency. They say that all politics is local and across the world climate change seems to be coming home to roost. In the hills around San Francisco the bankrupt PG&E power company pre-emptively shutoff power to homes for several days as it worried that its ageing electrical equipment would act as a match to the parched trees and vegetation. In Europe extreme flooding has been immersing ancient towns in apocalyptic scenes. In Australia it was hard to discern the iconic Sydney Opera House for all the smoke from the raging bush fires.
Echoing the voice of all tech innovators and government agencies, global leaders at Taiwan have pitched AI ML solutions for COVID-19 and the contactless economy. Today, our lives are controlled by promising innovations to drive the contactless economy. The global economy has slowed down and shrunk significantly in the last six months due to lockdown protocols. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the single biggest catastrophe to have derailed the global scenario. While we were aware of mostly contactless payments and digital messaging solutions making it big in the Pre-COVID-19 days, today's scenario is totally different.
French robotics startup Exotec has raised $90 million in a round of funding led by London-based VC firm 83North. Founded out of Lille in 2015, Exotec develops autonomous industrial robots called Skypods that can move horizontally and vertically, and travel at speeds of up to 9mph. The robots constitute part of a "goods-to-person" picking system designed to improve productivity and reduce strain and physical exertion in human warehouse workers. Ecommerce has boomed in 2020 due in large part to COVID-19, with online merchants seeing a 42% year-on-year increase in sales last month in the U.S. alone -- data suggests that the global pandemic has led to an extra $107 billion in online sales since March. This surge in demand is good news for companies such as Exotec, which specialize in equipping large warehouses with the tools to pick and pack orders at scale.
Looked at on a world scale, the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to deliver shocks to global supply chains for some time to come. Even if the public health crisis abates in the UK, our economy is part of a global economy, and UK corporate IT will have its work cut out in supporting companies as they are forced to re-forge supply chains, perhaps over and over again, and at short notice. The crisis has provoked some rethinking of how the world economy ought to work, with an emphasis on the desirability of a shift from efficiency – doing things "just in time" – to resilience – building in more slack. The FT's Rana Faroohar provides an account of such rethinking in an article entitled From'just in time' to'just in case' published earlier this year. In the discussions which lie behind this article there are different emphases on a spectrum of opinion: some say we can have both efficiency and resilience equally, others that there is a choice to be made for one or the other, and yet others say it's a matter of balance, of trading off. Tony Harris, global vice-president of business network solutions at SAP, says it has to be a combination. "You wouldn't want to move to a resilient network or supply chain that wasn't also efficient," he says.
Scientists have been inspired by Pacman to create a plastic-eating'cocktail', which could help eradicate plastic waste. It's made up of two enzymes – called PETase and MHETase – produced by a type of bacteria that feeds on plastic bottles, called Ideonella sakaiensis. Unlike natural degradation, which can take hundreds of years, the super-enzyme is able to convert the plastic back to its original'building blocks' in a few days. The two enzymes work together like'two Pac-men joined by a piece of string' munching down snack pellets in the popular video game. The new super-enzyme digests plastic up to six times faster than the original PETase enzyme alone, which was discovered by the team in 2018.
Good customer service is an integral element to the success of any business. With the rise in mobile devices over the last decade, chatbots are increasingly becoming a popular option to interact with users. The popularity of chatbots and their adoption is rapidly increasing as they enable businesses to provide real-time customer service in many e-commerce settings. Let us explore the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and chatbots for customer service. A chatbot is an AI-based software that interacts with a user through either text or audio.
When Shamir Rahim, founder and CEO of VersaFleet, transformed his bio-medical startup into an AI-powered transportation management system, he never imagined being at the epicenter (in a good way) of a supply chain revolution during a worldwide pandemic. As anyone desperately searching for toilet paper discovered earlier this year, the last mile is the crucial link in every supply chain. VersaFleet's SaaS-based cloud platform relies on AI to meet one of the toughest supply chain challenges: last mile delivery. "We wanted to provide our customers with a command center view of last mile product delivery with cost and time savings," said Shamir Rahim, founder and CEO of VersaFleet. "As our customers slowly open up again, VersaFleet is providing greater agility so they can quickly adjust logistics for maximum efficiency, whether people are out sick or returning to work, quarantines are lifted or imposed again, and operational hours shift at any time."