To err is human. To forgive is beyond the capacity of Googlebot, for now at least

Picture courtesy of Unity Ecommerce
Picture courtesy of Unity Ecommerce

About 10 years ago, this company launched a website – a women’s clothes and accessories boutique. Our collective web publishing skills and experience was limited as we are journalists by profession. We initially decided to carry advertisements from Google AdSense. We signed up and placed some of their ads on the website. It was an interesting learning process.

But fashion being a very highly competitive publishing sector, our website was getting very few visitors, measured in the hundreds per week, and none of them were clicking on the Google ads. It occurred to us that maybe there was a technical problem with the way we had integrated AdSense, so we asked one of our visitors to test the ad by clicking on it.

The visitor, who we did not know, was apparently located overseas. It was a random request by one of us in the office who thought it was a good idea at the time. Turned out, it wasn’t a good idea at all.  Continue reading To err is human. To forgive is beyond the capacity of Googlebot, for now at least

The car of the future: Think concierge on the move

teradata car-of-future

In the 1970s, if you had a car with air-conditioning, you’d probably have been the envy of all your friends, and you’d even have gotten more for your car on the second hand market. Today, it’s pretty much impossible to buy a new car that doesn’t have air-conditioning.

You’re more likely to find that you new car offers not just air-conditioning, but also heated seats (that you can control remotely with your smartphone), climate control, heated windscreens and a whole lot more.

Product innovation has always been top priority for car manufacturers, which is why they are among the top spenders in research and development. The question now is whether this is enough. Product innovation is taking place at such speed that a unique innovation today can easily be copied and manufactured by a rival firm tomorrow.

Product specifications and feature lists no longer offer that unique reason for the customer to choose one car model over another.So where does that leave car manufacturers? How can they find that X-Factor that will make customers desire one of their cars more than their competitors?  Continue reading The car of the future: Think concierge on the move

Driverless tech likely to trickle into consumer industry, says ASI Robots

asi robots

At the end of last year, ten of the world’s largest consumer vehicle manufacturers combined to announce that automated emergency braking systems would be a standard feature in all new vehicle models produced by the companies. The move is designed to reduce the number of rear end collisions which make up about a third of all accidents.

While each manufacturer’s system would work differently, the fundamental concept is the same: if forward facing sensors detect a slower moving or stopped vehicle ahead, the brakes automatically engage without driver intervention.

“We are entering an era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,” said Anthony Foxx, US Transportation Secretary in the Los Angeles Times article. Continue reading Driverless tech likely to trickle into consumer industry, says ASI Robots

The rise of the robots – a networking perspective

ale networking

A recent article by MIT Technology Review highlighted the inevitable growth in robotics, automation and AI in 2016 after a year of advancements in smarter learning and knowledge-sharing which broaden the ability of individual robots to adapt to unfamiliar situations and tasks. Manish Sablok, head of field marketing at ALE, discusses the impact that large-scale adoption of robotics and automated units will have on vital sectors such as healthcare, education and hospitality as existing networks encounter inevitable further strain.

Cutting-edge robots and other advanced smart machines are set to be added into the rapidly expanding Internet of Things, which is projected to reach 25 billion devices by 2020. Robotics has already been used in manufacturing to great effect for over a decade, performing delicate and precise tasks with a higher success rate than humans. With advancements such as ‘deep learning’ robots, delivery drones and ubiquitous knowledge-sharing between machines, widespread robotics adoption is becoming far more feasible.

In healthcare, there are already robotic services in operation with automated pharmacy dispensing and robotic trolleys – robots that can navigate between floors and even call the lift using a Wi-Fi sensor. The hospitality sector has also been a keen adopter of robotics to deliver services and in education, robots are being deployed successfully as a tutor, tool or peer in learning activities, providing language, science and technology education.  Continue reading The rise of the robots – a networking perspective

The delicate balance of costs versus productivity in industrial automation

cp automation dynamic

John Mitchell, business development manager at CP Automation, examines the essence of lean manufacturing

European manufacturers are estimated to spend over €400 billion every year on maintenance activities. Studies show that about 30 per cent of failed machinery can be repaired at half the cost of buying replacements, which suggests a potential 15 per cent saving. John Mitchell, business development manager at CP Automation, discusses the issues that stop manufacturers cutting costs and improving productivity – the essence of lean manufacturing.

Perhaps the first thing manufacturers should consider when addressing efficiency is keeping assets low.Manufacturers can easily eliminate excess inventory from their books, and thus get better return on net assets,simply by not purchasing the inventory until it’s needed. Methods of achieving this include Just in Time (JIT) inventory management, which is also sometimes called the Toyota Production System. Figures suggest thiscould result in a 60 billion saving in plants across Europe.

As a service and commissioning engineer, I’ve often turned up on site to help a customer with a breakdown, onlyto find a host of spares out of their antistatic packaging and a confused client, not knowing whether or not the spares were functional.  Continue reading The delicate balance of costs versus productivity in industrial automation

Artificial Intelligence: Toward a technology-powered, human-led revolution

artificial intelligence

By Abdul Razack, SVP of platforms, big data and analytics at Infosys

In 2011, Apple’s Siri began guiding, following, organizing, informing, taking notes and tailoring search results for millions of mobile users worldwide. She was one of the first mainstream machine learning tools powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). And though AI has been around for decades behind the scenes and in academic circles, it was the first time the wider public took note of all the things a computer or personal device can learn to do.

Only in the 21st century has AI come to maturity, and today it is completely changing the way the working world functions. AI is everywhere around us, including at the heart of our discussions on innovation.

We are learning to capture this opportunity in the business world, in order to accelerate growth, and only by embracing technology-led innovation will we be able to unleash our true human potential. Routine tasks, which can consume us by eating away at time and resources, are well-suited for AI and automation, freeing workers to pursue new ideas and new ways tackle challenges that can only be solved with human imagination.  Continue reading Artificial Intelligence: Toward a technology-powered, human-led revolution

Cloud robotics: Talking cloud and saying nothing

Cloud robotics are enabling robots to access large amounts of computing power that their bodies do not have the physical space to accommodate. Hundreds if not tens of thousands of servers are potentially at the service of small robots which can be in remote locations well away from the nearest supercomputer or data centre, only being connected by, for example, Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

This allows robots to call on powerful, cloud-based applications, such as speech recognition and language, when they are interacting with their users.

At the moment, most cloud robotics systems are linked to specific robots. So, for example, SoftBank’s Pepper robot is linked to the cloud robotics artificial intelligence system developed by Cocoro, another SoftBank company.

Pepper has about 25 onboard sensors to collect a wide range of information – sight, sound, touch and movement. That covers three of the five senses that human beings generally use, the two missing are taste and smell.

Pepper can be connected to the internet through Wi-Fi or Ethernet, both of which are incorporated into the robot. Continue reading Cloud robotics: Talking cloud and saying nothing