Competing with Amazon Go
Since the opening of its revolutionary cashier-less convenience store in January, Amazon has created what might be called a ripple effect in the retail industry, inspiring several computer vision based start-ups. You may be surprised to know however, that the idea of an automated checkout store was conceived way back in 2014, by a former Amazon employee named Krishna Motukuri. Based on this idea of an automated checkout, he founded a product-tracking technology company, recently known as Zippin.
The bay area start-up has most recently established the first cashier-less convenience store in operation aside from Amazon Go, in San Francisco. Similar to Amazon Go, the system uses a phone application and QR barcode scanner upon store entry, and then customers are tracked using camera recognition and shelf weight sensors. Zippin claims originality from traditional computer vision, as rather than using facial recognition, customers are tracked based upon details like their body shape and clothing. Motukuri also claims that a typical convenience store of about 1000 square feet would only need 15 cameras, compared the hundreds of cameras used in an Amazon Go store of around 1800 square feet.
Although the store is the first full functioning rival of Amazon Go, it is important to note that the company does not intend to make profit from the store but rather from selling its technology and application services.
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The JD Blockchain Open Platform
Blockchain appears to be an obvious solution for companies to manage their operations more securely and efficiently, however not all companies have the necessary expertise or resources to do so. Last Friday, ecommerce giant JD.com announced its development of a new blockchain platform that assists customers in the hosting and development of their own blockchain applications, used for optimizing operations management. The foundations of the JD Blockchain Open Platform consist of multiple layers of various technologies which can be used to streamline operations such as: the tracking of goods and charity donations, authenticity verification, property assessments, and transaction settlements.
Moreover, the application offers companies a simple method for creating or adjusting smart contracts via a public or private enterprise cloud. It further facilitates the companies that aren’t yet capable of developing their own solutions, due to its “one-click deployment” design. Though the platform was originally developed for JD’s own use, to provide greater visibility to customers, the company later adapted this to support its blockchain-as-a-service strategy.
You can read more about this here.
Rolls Royce hones in on electrification boom
Electrification appears to pose a brighter, cleaner and more cost-efficient future for the shipping industry. On account of the recent global emissions target, shippers have been encouraged to pursue the battery powered route or seek lower fuel alternatives. As lithium-based ion (li-ion) batteries have been further developed there has been a significant rise in the electrification of ships, led mainly by short-route ferries.
British manufacturer Rolls Royce has been developing energy storage systems since 2010, and is now launching a li-ion based energy system for ships called SAVe energy. SAVe Energy is described as a “cost competitive, highly efficient and liquid cooled battery system with a modular design that enables the product to scale according to energy and power requirements”. Rolls Royce expects that the demand for such batteries will be more than that of the last eight years combined.
The development has partially been funded by Norway’s ENERGIX program; as part of governmental efforts to establish a zero emissions sea zone in the Fjords area. The battery system is currently being developed at the Rolls Royce site in Bergen, in partnership with neighboring Norwegian companies .The first system is expected to roll out in the coming year.
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Have a great weekend!