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Innovation

How Is AI Being Used In Business?

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Artificial Intelligence is bandied around the office, and there’s plenty of information online but is your business using it and if not yet, where could it be using it, sometime soon?

Machine Learning, Biometrics, and Robotic Process Automation are in use right now and growing in popularity, not just with the big businesses but also startups, SMEs and everything in between.

Adext’s report includes 19 AI Technologies to look for in 2019 and it’s well worth a read. In this article, we consider three types that mainstream business can no longer live without.

Listed in no particular order, you may have heard of these AL technologies, but you’re not aware of what they do, or how businesses use them.

Where Business Is Using AI

Digital marketing & advertising, research and administration, are key areas of business that are seeing massive change with AI, and specifically these AI techs: RPA, Biometrics and ML.

Machine Learning

A branch of AI, this tech has been around for a while.

Machine Learning (ML) develops techniques so computers can automatically learn and improve from experience. It’s used right now to predict and classify data; hence it’s been a game changer for advertising platforms like Google Ads.

Analysis of vast quantities of data, in quick smart time, all the while delivering accuracy has relieved many of us from jobs that involving mundane, repetitive tasks.

ML gets its data from APIs, algorithms, of course, other machines as well as big data tools; to name a few sources; but not all machine learning algorithms are the same.

Machine learning algorithms:

  • Supervised – can apply what’s been learned to new data
  • Unsupervised – explores data and describes hidden structures within datasets
  • Semi-supervised – somewhere between the two mentioned above
  • Reinforcement – allows software and machines to pick the optimum response within specific context to improve performance.

More detail found here: ML algorithms definitions

There are many platforms available now, and you’ll know many of the companies in this space: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and a few you may not know that well including Adext, and Skytree.

Biometrics

This AL tech is focused on improving communication and understanding between us and machines. It uses measurements and analyses human behaviour. Interactions, such as touch, speech, images and even body language are in its sights.

Just like ML, this is a big field of AI with huge potential, particularly in the area of market research.

Robotic Process Automation

Think AI workers, that’s this technology. Robotic process automation (RPA) is another area of AI that’s a game changer for employment, and many of the jobs we used to do, still do and will no longer do. Already RPA has found its way into many industries, and AI workers (machines) have replaced humans in the workforce.

The prosaic and repetitive tasks, humans used to do, are now done in part or in full by machines. In areas of the business such as accounting, administration, customer support and help desks but also on websites, AI has found its place.

Chat Bot

The ‘chatbot’ is now ubiquitous on websites for products and services and online sales support. Here is a good read on how using a chatbot could benefit business and change the customer experience.

Live Chat is a more human form of the chatbot, and when you’ve experienced it, as a customer, your level of appreciation goes up a notch or two.

There is a flip side for businesses using live chat and chatbot tech. Customers now used to it will expect your business to delivery immediacy and efficiency every time.

With RPA, businesses see lots of upsides, with reduced overheads and improve productivity.

There have been some clever marketing for it, mainly to dissuade negative reaction from workers fearful of job displacement. Business and workers are encouraged to see it as a solution that promotes better use of human workers; though new roles that are infinitely more interesting, and fulfilling, while also doing wonders to the company’s bottom line.

Summary

AI is everywhere and depending on how you view your business, career and life; the future is either exhilarating or maybe a bit scary.

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Innovation

Benefits of Using a Lift Table

warehouse

Lift tables are some of the most useful machines in a factory, warehouse or any work setting. They are available in many forms including hydraulic lift tables.

Lift tables in their available variations are highly beneficial in areas in which they are applied. Here are some of the benefits of using lift tables.

Enhance safety

One benefit of automation in the work place is improved safety. One of the many risk factors present in the factory is the lifting of heavy objects. Also, sometimes, many workers need to work on heights for example when cleaning windows or working on overhead electrical or telecommunication wires.

When a lift table is used, it helps lift or raise heavy loads without straining the human workers. When a scissor table used to reach heights, it reduces the risk of people plunging to their death.

Reduces injuries to workers

Factory workers tasked with loading and palletizing have to bend down often and lift substantially heavy weight loads.

This is a health risk. However, the use of lift tables ensures that the frequent bending is no longer a part of the job and helps improve the health and working conditions of the workers.

Easy to use

Regardless of the task carried out by the scissor table, it is quite easy to use. Hydraulic scissor tables have a lever that is used to operate the lift till it gets to its appropriate or required height. When working on heights, the scissor table can lift you to the height that you need to get to quickly and easily. Besides hydraulic lifts, there are also pneumatic and mechanical lifts.

Scissor lifts are easily operated and help reduce fatigue among workers and operators.

Mobile

Mobility is another benefit that scissor lifts offer. They can be easily delivered to the areas where they are required. They can be moved around in the factory and can also be moved around for tasks outside of the factory.

Enhanced productivity

With a scissor lift, productivity is enhanced. Like with all automated functions, a machine is much faster than a human being.

The scissor lift will lift much heavier loads than any human being. Also, it will lift it faster than any number of human beings. As a result, production will take place faster and more efficiently. They help avoid manual labor and save time in the production process.

Lower maintenance cost

Scissor lifts are highly cost efficient. With proper use and care, they will rarely need significant maintenance processes that need high financial investment. Further, they are durable and sturdy machines suitable to work in many factory conditions.

Compact

When not in use, scissor lifts are very small. They are folded and quickly and easily stored in the factory. They do not occupy a lot of space. As a result, they will not interrupt any of the other processes. In addition, they will not increase the costs of space required to keep them safe.

Evenly lift weights

A scissor lift ensures that the weight of every item they lift is evenly distributed. As the scissor lift moves, it balances the weight of whatever it is lifting. The flat table surface onto which the weight is loaded helps lift loads that have uneven shapes and weights.

Available in a wide range of sizes and weight capacities

Scissor tables are present in a wide range. Different table lifts have different weight and capacities. This ensures that different users can acquire those that fit their needs. This also results in a wide price range for ease in affordability.

Companies with heavier loads to lift will buy scissor lifts that can lift heavy loads while the rest can buy those with lower weight capacities.

Conclusion

Like every other automation equipment, scissor lifts are highly beneficial when used appropriately. They help reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury on workers and help workers and loads reach appropriate work heights. Scissor lifts are beneficial to all factories that deal with heavy items of heights.

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Innovation

How To Choose A Warehouse Shelving System

warehouse

Warehousing is big business. By the end of the year 2018, there was more than 18,000 warehouses in the United States and the growth in this industry is predicted to continue so what’s driving it?

The answer is easy; it’s online shopping and improvements in dropshipping. Just look at Amazon and the sophistication of their warehouses and business model.

Yes, Amazon is at the top of their game so to speak, and they’re using the latest technology including AI to improve business processes, and warehousing.

Your business may not be in a position to compete with Amazon nor have the need or inclination to do so, but what it does need is the proper organisation of stock in the warehouse to use the space as efficiently as possible.

What Does Your Business Need?

With the growth in warehousing, there’s also been a rise in the number of manufacturers and suppliers of pallet racking and warehouse shelving systems. Therefore your job of choosing the system and supplier becomes more challenging.

The starting point is to understand your needs fully so you can choose the shelving system that is right for your business, rather than what’s the most popular or costs the least.

Growth

Your business plan and financial statements will determine how your business is tracking and what it needs in supplies and systems to satisfy current and future customer demand.

Investment

How important is the warehouse to your business? Set a budget spend for fitting out your warehouse. Once you’re aware of your business requirements, then you’ll need to ask the right questions of prospective shelving installers.

Questions To Ask Shelving Installers

You can spend a lot of time on critiquing suppliers and not get the answers you need. Here are our top questions for selecting a warehouse shelving provider.

1. Products – Type of Shelving Systems

Choose providers that specialise in fitting out warehouses of all sizes. These companies will have sales and installation experts who can show you their product range and demonstrate how each product may improve your warehouse layout and performance.

2. Costs

Seek to understand the costs and what investment is required by your business when choosing warehouse shelving systems says Speedrack West. It’s easy to get carried away and over-enthused by a system you don’t need nor can not afford.

Remember, salespeople earn their keep by selling as much as they can, and they are likely to be rewarded for selling the premium stock so take the control from the outset and review the shelving systems that are right for your business and your budget.

Technology has made significant improvements in the warehouse driven by the needs of big dropshipping enterprises like Amazon striving for greater efficiency and reduction of operating costs. What you can be sure of is the complexity and added features of the more advanced system would cost a lot more. Therefore make sure you choose a supplier who is interested in your business and what it needs from a shelving solution now.

3. Supplier’s Experience

Selling the product is secure, and even new supplier can do this part competently, it’s the installation of the shelving system that requires expertise. Focus your research on understanding the level of experience of the supplier’s installation team.

Get client references, and if possible, go and see the warehouses for a first-hand account of their experience with the supplier. Plus to further understand their reach of experience ask to see their case studies.

4. Permits, Seismic Assessments, Safety

Every industry has specific regulations and laws that govern safety, quality and performance. In addition to the usual governance, many rack systems need a permit and that needs completion of a seismic assessment. Make sure your chosen supplier manages this part of the process for a permit and can provide tips on warehouse safety.

Summary

Your warehouse can deliver more business when it’s operating to peak performance. Therefore don’t rush the process of fitting it out. Choose a shelving supplier that wants your business and can be a partner providing you with what you need when you need it!

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Innovation

Stephen Hawking: Triumph of the Dreams

galaxy

Stephen Hawking was a notable towering figure in the field of science. He was also a great visionary, who didn’t let his physical debility get in the way of achieving his dreams. Stephen was a genius, a celebrated scientist; and his influence will keep on guiding mankind in varied ways. Stephen’s life has become a beacon of hope and celebration for many people – from science enthusiasts to people challenged by physical and mental barriers. Here are some of the impressive aspects of his exemplary life:

Disease VS. Dreams

After earning a degree in Natural Science from Oxford, Stephen wanted to go for a Ph.D. with Cambridge University. However, at that time his body started experiencing occasional clumsiness. Upon insistence by his family, Stephen went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig Disease, a neurological disorder. Doctors gave him only 2 more years to live. However, this daunting prognosis did not stop Stephen from pursuing his Ph.D. which he achieved at the young age of 23. Stephen went on with his career at Cambridge University in the field of research and teaching.

Zigzag course of life

Stephen was adamant he’d just get on with pursuing his dreams, whilst he met more challenges due to his deteriorating physical condition. Eventually confined to a wheelchair in the same decade, Stephen became a father and he was in fact blessed with two children during his lifetime.

Rare Discovery

Amidst the zigzag of life, Stephen kept up his research and his efforts bore the fruits we revere today. Stephen surprised the world at large and the science fraternity in particular, when he discovered black holes emitted radiation. It was a jolt to the earlier belief that Black holes were empty, i.e. a vacuum. Respecting his discovery the radiation was named as “Hawking radiation”. It was the beginning of his genius. That decade he got many awards and went on to present a number of works on science.

Lost speech but retained ambitions

In 1985 Stephen lost the ability to speak. However, it did not stop him from expressing his thoughts and he decided to go for a machine that would speak for him. He first used it with his working fingers and later decided to operate it using the muscles of his cheek.

The ambitions of this young scientist combined with his genius helped him to achieve many milestones.

Notable Discoveries

  • Origins of the Universe
  • Time Travel
  • Space-time Singularities
  • A Universe sans Space-time Boundaries
  • Black Hole Radiation
  • Gravitation
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The existence of Extraterrestrial Life
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