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Meet Pepper: The Humanoid Robot

15 Jul

As we have noted numerous times over the past few years, technology has been changing the face of business — for both small and large firms. So, are we ready for personalized robots taking our orders and payment at restaurants?

According to Maria LaMagna, reporting for MarketWatch:

“Soon, when restaurant-goers hear ‘May I take your order?’, those words may be coming from a robot. Some restaurants have started experimenting with human-like robots instead of human cashiers, allowing consumers to pay for their meals without interacting with another person. Although many restaurants have allowed digital ordering, either online, by kiosk, or on tablets at the table, the practice of using humanoid, or human-like robots, is still in its earliest stages, and it’s primarily happening in Asia so far. Experts say the robots could benefit restaurants and lead to wider adoption — if diners aren’t too freaked out by them.”

“Pizza Hut is the latest company to try a robot cashier, in a partnership with robotics company SoftBank Robotics and MasterCard, which has created the payment app. The application works only with MasterCard’s MasterPass, a digital wallet that allows payment by MasterCard cards, as well as credit, debit, or prepaid cards.”

“SoftBank’s robot is named Pepper. It has a face and can even respond to human customers with some emotional intelligence. For example, if a customer seems more tentative to interact with a robot, Pepper will be more reserved, whereas if a customer is more energetic, Pepper will be, too. It looks like an alien, with eyes and a touchscreen on its chest, and it’s the size of a small child.”

Here is a photo of Pepper from MasterCard. Below the photo, there is a fun YouTube video.
 

 

 

An Oracle Infographic on the Internet of Things

5 Jul

With the rapid advancement of technology around the globe — and our expanded use of connected devices — the Internet of Things (IoT) is here in full force, and major IT companies are acting accordingly in expanding their client offerings.

But for those who are unfamiliar with or unsure about the concept, what exactly is the Internet of Things? According to TechTarget:

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”

 
Here is an interesting infographic on the IoT and its importance from B2B giant Oracle.

 

When Are Small Data Best Used?

29 Jun

Over the past few years, many companies and analytics experts have become greatly enamored with “big data,” now that such data are  easier to collect and analyze. [For example, see 1.]

Nonetheless, there still remain many instances when “small data” can be quite useful.

Consider these observations from Jessica Stillman, writing for Inc.:

“Ask Google how many people are searching for the term ‘big data’ and you’ll get a graph that resembles a steep mountainside. The concept has become incredibly hot over the last few years and it shows no signs of cooling anytime soon. And why not? Every day, our devices spew out an incredible amount of data on our behavior, preferences, and relationships. What could be wrong with our newfound obsession with combing through numbers for profit-boosting insights and previously unnoticed correlations?”

“The trouble according to Martin Lindstrom, author of Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends, is when we overuse data to the point that we forget to actually talk to people. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Lindstrom argues that what he terms ‘small data,’ i.e. face-to-face conversations with actual, real-life customers often in their own homes, is a more reliable source of great business ideas than massive databases and sophisticated number crunching. ‘I think it’s fair to say if you take the top 100 biggest innovations of our time, perhaps around 60 percent to 65 percent are really based on Small Data,’ Lindstrom claims, citing breakthroughs ranging from the idea for Snapchat to the resurgence of Lego as examples of the fruits of small data.”

 
Click the clever image to read more from Stillman.

CREDIT: Getty Images

 

Expert Insights on Auto Industry Disruptions

22 Jun

Automotive News regularly runs an EY Automotive & Transportation Insights page from the EY consulting firm, “featuring videos, insights, opinions, thought leadership, stories, and better questions from EY to help automotive leaders in business build a better working world.”

Below is a six-minute video seminar — featuring Julia Steyn, General Motors head of urban mobility and Dr. Chris Borroni-Bird, Qualcomm vice-president of strategic development). They focus on the factors causing disruption in the auto industry and how automakers can evolve given the trend toward mobility.
 
 

 

TV Interview on Database Marketing

21 Jun

This television interview of Hofstra University’s Professor Joel Evans (from the Zarb School of Business) recently appeared on Fios1’s Money & Main$treet program. The interview was conducted by host Giovanna Drpic. It deals with several aspects of database marketing — from a small firm perspective.
 

 

Strategies for Growth: An Infographic

15 Jun

This infographic on strategic options for small business growth is adapted from Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, president, and founder at GrowBiz Media. She is also a contributing writer for SmallBizTrends.com.

 


 

Exciting New Wearables Coming!

1 Jun

Are you a wearables fan? Are you thinking of buying one? Do you believe that Fitbit and Apple are the only real alternatives? Well, they are not; and there are some exciting new technologies from less-known companies that are right around the corner.

Consider these observations from James A. Martin,

“Everything is ‘smart’ these days, it seems, especially when it comes to gadgets designed to help people improve their health and boost fitness levels. Smart mirrors and body scanners, smart running socks, a smart vest, smart drinking cups, smart sleeves, and smart sleep masks are all now available, or will be soon. Many of these Internet of Things things are wearables — except for the ‘naked 3D’ full-body mirror, of course — while others are designed to be carried in a pocket or clipped to a belt or bra. The following 12 devices, many of which aren’t yet available, are all notable for some reason. So sit back, relax, take a sip from your smart water bottle, and check them out.”

 
Click the image to access a slideshow about the 12 new wearables, and to read more about them.


 

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