Eye on AI - January 22nd, 2021
Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!
Our focus returns to Amazon this week as we discuss how the tech giant is continuing to expand its machine learning capabilities into new consumer markets.
Amazon Assistant Evolves into the Auto Industry and Beyond
Let’s begin with a story out of Forbes, titled “Amazon To Let Automakers Use Alexa Assistant For Cars,” that discusses how Amazon Custom Assistant is expanding into the auto industry with its sights set on wider consumer markets.
“Amazon recently announced Alexa Custom Assistant that lets device makers, automakers, and service providers create intelligent assistants tailored to their brand personality and customer needs,” writes Forbes contributor Ilker Koksal. “.... Amazon also says its intentions are to give all companies, not just automakers, a faster, cheaper, and less complex route to building their own voice experiences that feel tailor-made, instead of simply bolting on an integration with a third-party service.”
The Alexa Custom Assistant, which is built through Alexa, provides companies customizable access to Amazon’s advanced AI voice technology, which they can customize to match their brand’s desired capabilities. Automakers can use Alexa's voice science experts to guide them through the recording process and develop customized voice commands while utilizing Alexa’s machine learning algorithms for things like search, traffic, and navigation. The voice assistant’s expansion into the auto industry will be the first step in Amazon’s attempt to integrate the Custom Assistant into additional markets.
While this move may seem relatively small (at least in Amazon-terms), it’s more substantial than it appears. Only the biggest AI players can match Amazon’s voice assist capabilities. Still, Alexa is clearly at the top of the voice-assist food chain. By expanding into new markets before the competition, Amazon will get access to better data to advance its algorithms, thus making its voice assistant even smarter and more difficult to outperform.
Amazon Uses Machine Learning to Advance the Amazon Fresh Experience
Speaking of Amazon cornering markets, Chain Store Age released an article this week titled “Amazon applies machine learning to fresh grocery experience,” in which it was revealed that Amazon will be using its machine learning capabilities to ensure Amazon Fresh brick-and-mortar stores and online deliveries both meet localized customer demand.
Amazon Fresh is a high-tech grocery concept that offers tens of thousands of fresh products that include groceries, gifts, and everyday essentials. Soon, the stores will expand into seven physical locations. To help ensure the Fresh locations are efficiently stocked and able to deliver on time (some in as little as two hours), Amazon is developing forecasting models using machine learning that will help move products with limited shelf life.
“The Amazon Fresh forecasting models try to determine what the demand for a particular product will be in a particular marketplace at a certain moment in time,” writes Chain Store Age contributor Dan Berthiaume. “The models allow the company to determine which vendor to buy a product from while taking factors like quality, shipping times, and price into account. The Amazon Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) cloud-based service processes large amounts of data from multiple inputs on the supply and demand side.”
By advancing forecasting algorithms to better stock locations and deliver on time, customers will be less inclined to seek desired goods elsewhere. Amazon has recently made a number of moves to make a mark in the grocery market. This announcement positions Amazon well in the ultra-competitive grocery market.
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