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What do Swarovski and machine learning have in common?

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At the SAP Leonardo Live conference in Frankfurt, Swarovski revealed how it uses SAP Leonardo to integrate machine learning into its retail business model, writes TIANA CLINE.

From jewellery to tsatskes, home décor and watches, Swarovski is a global name when it comes crystal-anything. It’s also a company with humble roots – Swarovski started out in 1895 as a small crystal manufacturing business in Wattens, Austria.

You probably know Swarovski retail, but to stay ahead of the pack from both a business and creative perspective, the company relies heavily on enterprise software solutions and intelligent applications to innovate their business model.

And with the help of SAP Leonardo, the game-changing system and Internet of Things (IoT) platform launched in Frankfurt this week, they’re integrating machine learning into their retail business model to prepare, provision and analyse their data (and essentially make their damaged good process a lot simpler).

At the Swarovski global repair centre, the company was faced with a challenge when new items were sent in to be fixed. With a massive product catalogue, locating a material number, business unit, produce date or even produce often ended up in time-consuming Google searches.

And while they were successful, the results yielded were comprised of a picture and not necessarily the data required to take the next step.

With SAP machine learning, a feature of Leonardo, Swarovski created an intelligent library of classified product images which enabled faster customer interaction – the database now brings up precise images and potential product repair costs.

Unlike traditional image searches where background noise and quality affect results, machine learning is not reliant on shape and other factors, the results are bases on intelligent learning algorithms and AI-based insights that have the ability to unlock “hidden knowledge” in data. Machine-based neural networks can understand a billion pieces of data in seconds.

What’s next for the crystal company? According to Werner Huber, the IT Demand Manager at Swarovski Corporate IT, they’re looking at installing in-store sensors which can count the customers coming in, smartly being able to distinguish between those who use the store as a through path, for example, or those who return.

There is also the potential for facial recognition, so they can gather smart data based on gender, approximate age, buying patterns, etc.

(A few years back, Swarovski also built a app to showcase their crystal assortment, called the Crystal Collection App.)

With the help of SAP, Swarovski is at the forefront of design, creativity, and technological innovation.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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