AI Biweekly: Voice Interaction and NLP Business Applications; Logistics’ Last Mile Challenge
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This is a brand new version of our regular feature AI Biweekly. Including the 10 bits section you may already familiar with, our new product also presents our analysts’ opinions on what has happened in AI in a certain industry over the past two weeks. This is one of your Monday must-reads to start the week.
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Ying Shan — Analyst, Global Industry
In the past two weeks, news related to voice interaction and natural language understanding has mainly been focused on business applications. Most companies have expanded some functional applications based on voice interaction technology. In addition, they have optimized and updated some existing features. Amazon’s Alexa has added a conference reservation feature, which allows users to schedule a meeting though voice. Amazon has tried to allow developers to combine the functions of multiple Alexa Skills together, so that developers may implement a task that requires multiple Skills together through a single request.
Google Assistant announced that it will allow users to book a car from Uber, Lyft and similar services via voice commands. The new feature will available for any hardware device that embedded in Google Assistant. Facebook has implemented a built-in voice assistant on its Messenger platform. That means Facebook can finally allow users to make calls, send messages, create calendars and other tasks via voice, just like Google Assistant and Siri. Furthermore, GE has launched a smart light bulb that can be directly connected to Google Assistant without a smart hub.
Voice interaction is gradually deepening its presence in people’s lives. Everyday work, travel, and home scenarios are gradually being taken over by voice interaction. Speech recognition and natural language understanding technologies are reformatting human-computer interaction at an unprecedented rate.
October 4th — You Can Now Use The Google Assistant To Order An Uber Or Lyft
- Google’s virtual assistant announced that it will allow users to book a car from Uber, Lyft, OlamGrab, GO-JEK and similar services, via voice commands only.
- The new feature will available for any hardware device embedded with Google Assistant.
- The new feature can also help users compare prices of bookings and get the service as quickly as possible.
- If it is physically realizable, the new feature is able to show some visual elements on a screen, which may help users to get solutions with multi-sensory experience.
- Currently, the new feature is only applicable in English, it will expand to other languages later.
October 10th — Alexa Can Now Reserve Conference Rooms
- Amazon releases a new feature, which allows users to book conference rooms via Alexa. The feature is part of the Alexa for Business platform.
- Amazon will open the feature API to third party businesses’ booking solutions.
- The feature will help many companies by allowing users to manage meetings with Alexa voice assistant in their own workplaces.
- The feature suggests that Amazon wants to also position Alexa for scenarios outside the home.
Rirou Xiong — Analyst, Global Industry
The hot issue in the past two weeks was the battle of the last mile in the logistics industry. The last mile of logistics is the most complex and expensive part of the supply chain. The US take-out company DoorDash hopes to change from transporting food to transporting diversified goods. Four companies including Fujitsu hope to solve the shortage problem of logistics staff in Singapore by integrating various smart technologies to create a better distribution system. Mercedes-Benz also optimized their logistics staff cumbersome operations for daily identification, scanning and recording by developing a cargo intelligent sensor system. Due to the complexity of the last mile, some problems involve route planning and scheduling, cargo forecasting and recommendations. In the future, we may need multiple companies to share logistics data and technology to solve the distribution problem from multiple angles.
October 3rd — DoorDash Wants to Do Last-Mile Logistics for Everything, Not Just Food
- DoorDash, a food delivery startup has raised another US$250 million to experiment with drones and robots, and expanded its services into grocery delivery.
- They debuted DashPass and Pickup service, offering unlimited access to hundreds of restaurants with free delivery, and allowing customers to choose a convenient delivery option at no cost.
- By offering these services, they are transforming how customers dine and shop for food.
October 11th — Mercedes-Benz Vans Introduces Artificial Intelligence for Last-Mile Logistics
- Mercedes-Benz Vans develops a cargo sensor system using AI to solve last mile delivery.
- The system can identify, scan and record goods using computer vision technology, and can also compute the size of packages, destination and optimal loading position to bring the goods to the best vehicle.
- These new technologies make the delivery process more efficient and transparent and reduce delivery times.
10 AI News You Must Know
October 3rd — MIT CSAIL’s AI Can Detect Fake News and Political Bias
October 11th — Facebook Rolls out 3D Photos that use AI to Simulate Depth
Presented by Synced Industry Analyst Team