Artificial Intelligence Swarms Silicon Valley on Wings and Wheels

Description:  The new era in Silicon Valley centers on artificial intelligence and robots, a transformation that many believe will have a payoff

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: July 18. 2016

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The new era in Silicon Valley centers on artificial intelligence and robots, a transformation that many believe will have a payoff on the scale of the personal computing industry or the commercial internet, two previous generations that spread computing globally. Computers have begun to speak, listen and see, as well as sprout legs, wings and wheels to move unfettered in the world.

The shift was evident in a Lowe’s home improvement store here this month, when a prototype inventory checker developed by Bossa Nova Robotics silently glided through the aisles using computer vision to automatically perform a task that humans have done manually for centuries.   read rest of story

 Questions:
1.  Do you feel AI development  is set to make great strides and commercial return with implementation in everyday live ?  Why?  or Why not?

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BIG DATA : Hadoop

Description: Big Data is the next big thing in computing. This video explains Big Data characteristics, technologies and opportunities.

Source: http://www.explainingcomputers.com

Due to the issues raised by its volume, velocity and variety, Big Data requires new technology solutions. Currently leading the field is an open-source project from Apache called Hadoop. This is developing a software library for reliable, scalable, distributed computing systems capable of handling the Big Data deluge, and provides the first viable platform for Big Data analytics. Hadoop is already used by most Big Data pioneers. For example, LinkedIn currently uses Hadoop to generate over 100 billion personalized recommendations every week.

What Hadoop does is to distribute the storage and processing of large data sets across groups or “clusters” of server computers using a simple programming model. The number of servers in a cluster can also be scaled easily as requirements dictate, from maybe 50 machines to perhaps 2000 or more. Whereas traditional large-scale computing solutions rely on expensive server hardware with a high fault tolerance, Hadoop detects and compensates for hardware failures or other system problems at the application level. This allows a high level of service continuity to be delivered from clusters of individual server computers, each of which may be prone to failure. Processing vast quantities of data across large, lower-cost distributed computing infrastructures therefore becomes a viable proposition.     READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

  1.  What is Big Data and why is it important?
  2. What potential applications do you see for Big Data and in what industries will this add the greatest value?

Evolution Continuing in SEO Industry

Description:    According to Google, a media outlet that has old content is akin to selling out-of-date food at a grocery store. It’s a big no-no and, if caught perpetrating this type of content, it will be punished by receiving a significant drop in search engine visibility – and rightly so.

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Source: Forbes.com

Date: May 31. 2016

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While we know Google has been a naysayer about old content for some time and raised the bar on what defines good content by going after content farms, companies with static websites, and even big brands like eBay, this move to strike out at some of the biggest publishing brands in the industry, including Apple, The Washington Post, Time and The New York Times, tells us Google is at it again by making major changes to its algorithm. Some of the bigger hits included a nearly 80% drop in SEO visibility for TheAtlantic.com and a 65% reduction in mobile visibility for Wired.com.  read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Why is the SEO feeling a need to evolve?

2.  Should you manage your SEO within your organization or outsource it to an SEO firm?  Why or Why not?

Walmart’s Drones: Distribution

Description:  Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, is testing the use of flying drones to handle inventory at its large warehouses, which supply the thousands of Walmart stores throughout the nation.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: June 2. 2016

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While a Walmart employee may handle the drone, the technology could “potentially” mean fewer workers would be needed to take stock or replace missing items, Lorenzo Lopez, a spokesman, said. Mr. Lopez emphasized that those workers could be deployed in other areas of the warehouse.

The test is occurring as Walmart is under intense pressure to grow amid an onslaught of low-cost competition, particularly from Amazon, the online shopping giant. Walmart has committed to spending $2.7 billion on labor, technology and other investments, including improving its website and e-commerce business. Last quarter, Walmart beat expectations with $115.9 billion in revenue, but even Doug McMillon, its president and chief executive, acknowledged that the 7 percent growth of Walmart’s e-commerce business was “too slow.”   read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Is Walmart on the cutting edge of logistics management with the use of drones?  Why or Why not??

2.  Why would Walmart want to implement this new strategy?

Big Logistics: Alibaba and Amazon Bet The Future On Supply Chain Management

Description:  The world’s largest retailers are planning to not only grow into the world’s biggest logistics companies, but to completely revolutionize the industry.

Source: Forbes.com

Date: May 31. 2016

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Both Amazon and Alibaba have recently made significant investments to their supply chain capabilities and in the not distant future they will soon handle more shipments than most specialist delivery postal and courier companies.

In effect, these companies are building their own streamlined delivery systems that may replace the more established specialists.

Earlier this month, Amazon signed a new deal to lease more cargo jets, in effect doubling the size of its fleet. This is partly a response to increasing demand (shifted 27% more units in last quarter) but also a part of a grander plan.

The aimfor these internet giants is nothing less than the obliteration of all alternative forms of retail. When it comes to sales, Wal-Mart dwarfs Amazon by a factor of four. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, plan is to undermine these lead by competing for consumer attention in ways that Wal-Mart can never match. That is, by offering a nearly infinite menu of goods, same-day delivery and liberating from the tiresome trip to the busy out-of-town store.    read rest of story

Questions:
1.  How do Amazon and Alibaba plan to revolutionize the logistics industry?

2.  Do you feel these companies will be successful in this strategy?  Why or Why not?

How Do Companies Learn Your Secrets

Description: Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 6, 2012

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The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.    READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Reflecting on this article, does ther ever come a time when you feel there is too much data out in the public sphere about you?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of this BIG DATA technology that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

Hoteliers Comb the Ranks of IT Workers to Gain an Edge

Description:The front desk manager or housekeeper may epitomize the hotel employee, but the hospitality industry is increasingly dependent on tech workers, vacuuming data scientists, web designers and other experts into its ranks.

Source: NYTIMES.com

Date: Feb 13, 2017

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While many college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math are attracted to the household-name tech companies in Seattle and Silicon Valley, Mr. Leidinger says he tells them, “If you’re really into technology, there’s a revolution happening in hospitality,” and as part of a smaller team, “you can drive, innovate and take ownership.”

One project for Hilton tech employees is keyless entry, which allows guests to use their phones instead of plastic key cards to unlock room doors. Of Hilton’s 4,800 hotels, 750 now offer keyless entry, and the company hopes to install the service in 2,500 hotels by the end of this year.

There are also technical job openings at the hotel level, where employees at individual properties manage social media, on-site Wi-Fi and the integration of systems like retail, parking and food sales.

 READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1.While hotel chains say that automating processes like check-in frees their employees to interact in other ways with guests, the use of technology also allows the hotel to hire fewer people.  Do you feel this is a positive thing?  Why or Why not?