How Amazon, Nike and UiPath drive innovation
Innovation is at the core of Amazon, UiPath and Nike. Curious to know how these global companies drive innovation? Keep reading!
Amazon – Innovating by focusing on customer needs like no other company in the world
On December 15, 2020, Amazon announced that Twitter has selected AWS to provide global cloud infrastructure to deliver Twitter timelines.
A day before, Amazon launched Alexa’s new Live Translation feature. This feature allows individuals speaking in two different languages to converse with each other, with Alexa acting as an interpreter and translating both sides of the conversation.
Earlier this month, on December 8, 2020, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the BMW Group announced a comprehensive strategic collaboration to further accelerate the automaker’s pace of innovation by placing data and analytics at the center of its decision-making.
These are just a few of the innovations that Amazon releases on a monthly basis. Amazon began focusing on technology innovations in the late 1990s.
The company’s first major breakthrough was its recommendation algorithm, also named recommendation engine.
In 2003, Amazon published a research paper which described a new way of filtering, the Item-to-item Collaborative Filtering.
“At Amazon.com, we use recommendation algorithms to personalize the online store for each customer. The store radically changes based on customer interests, showing programming titles to a software engineer and baby toys to a new mother”, was said in the paper.
Today, Amazon’s machine learning-powered recommendation engine drives 35% of its sales according to a McKinsey report.
An online bookstore initially, Amazon has become rapidly aware of the necessity of becoming a tech company.
In 2019, the research and development expenses of Amazon were around $36 billion compared to $16.9 billion of Microsoft.
Amazon’s investment supports the company to achieve its vision of becoming “Earth’s most customer-centric company.”
Here is a list of the most important innovations developed by Amazon:
Amazon Go is a chain of convenience stores in the United States, operated by Amazon. The stores are partially automated, with customers able to purchase products without being checked out by a cashier or using a self-checkout station. There are currently 27 Amazon Go stores.
Amazon fulfillment centers
In every fulfilment centre, computer vision systems analyze images to help Amazon staff keep track of everything. Based on data, AI solves a large combinatorial optimization problem and decides which orders to pick at the same time in order to get them in the same box. This way the system minimizes the distance the transport pods have to travel. AI optimization makes these decisions in real-time and with information that is constantly changing.
Amazon Prime Now
Amazon Prime Now is an app which allows users to order tens of thousands of products to their homes with 1-hour delivery and FREE 2-hour delivery.
Amazon Prime Air
Amazon Prime Air is a service that will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones.
AWS – Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 175 fully featured services from data centers globally. The platform is used by individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis.
Alexa is a virtual assistant AI technology developed by Amazon in 2014 and first used in the Amazon Echo smart speakers.
Kindle is a series of e-readers which enable users to browse, buy, download, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines and other digital media. The device was launched in 2007.
StyleSnap is the latest Amazon AI-powered feature which supports fashion-focused shoppers.
Show and Tell
Show and Tell allows the blind to identify grocery items by holding each item to the Echo Show camera and ask, “Alexa, what am I holding?”. The smart speaker identifies the item through advanced computer vision and machine learning technologies for object recognition.
UiPath – The path to innovation is paved with humility
UiPath is the world’s leading Robotic Process Automation vendor.
For the second consecutive year, UiPath has been placed highest in the Leaders’ quadrant for ability to execute by Gartner.
In July 2020, UiPath became the first European Cloud Decacorn with $10.2Bn valuation in a new funding round of $225M.
At UiPath, innovation comes from actively listening to and engaging with the company’s customers. “Solving real-world problems using artificial intelligence (AI)—and pairing AI with RPA—motivates every individual at UiPath.”
The company gathers feedback from many touchpoints, including preview programs, its customer advisory board, their 400k+ user community, meetups, and conferences.
UiPath’s purpose is to accelerate human achievement. The company’s core values are speed, immersion, boldness and humility.
UiPath top management believes that if their people are not happy, they have failed no matter how successful the company is. That’s why being a successful leader at UiPath means exercising humility and practising active listening. The employee who is provided with psychological safety is more likely to focus on achieving the company’s business goals.
Nike – Innovation through knowledge and insights
Nike is no longer just an athletic shoe manufacturer, it’s a technology company.
The brand’s mission is to expand human potential. And to achieve that, Nike creates new products through game-changing innovations.
Most innovations come from the brand’s own lab, the Nike Sport Research Lab which the company set up in 1980. The lab focuses on biomechanics, physiology, sensory/perception and data science.
Over the course of thirty years, Nike’s lab, employing more than 40 researchers has grown into a world-class research facility. Its function is to provide knowledge and insights and turn data into innovative products for athletes.
The Nike Flywire support system, Lunarlite foam cushioning, Hyperdunk basketball shoe are among the most famous.
The latest innovation is Nike Fit, a foot-scanning solution designed to find every person’s best fit. Nike Fit uses a proprietary combination of computer vision, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and recommendation algorithms to find your right fit.
A report from 2017 estimated that Nike has spent “~$2.5 billion on research and development in the last five years.”
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