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A Robot Makes 300 Pizzas An Hour…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

By October 10, 2019No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — This robot can make 300 pizzas in an hour.   

Picnic—a Seattle startup, —announced this past week that it has created an assembly platform that can make 300, 12-inch pizzas per hour (and 180 18-inch pizzas per hour), making this robot a first-of-its-kind. When a pizza is ordered, the order goes into a digital queue, prompting the robot to begin making the pie the moment that the dough is placed in the appropriate spot in the machine. Data is then sent back to Picnic through the internet in order for developers to help the robot to improve upon any errors made. The A.I. driven pizza platform is currently being used at 3 different establishments in Seattle. (Source: Trib Live)

Why this is important for your business:

As I wrote here, technology like Picnic’s – and other robotics companies – will enable American companies, from pizza shops to manufacturers, to make things almost as inexpensively as their counterparts in India or China. This not only solves the big headache of actually finding people to do this work, but it will also result in cheaper prices, a lower cost of entry for startups and more opportunities for American companies to compete worldwide and grow.

2 — NASA and the U.S. Army are looking to small businesses for technology help.

Both NASA and the U.S. Army are turning to small businesses to help with their technology use. NASA recently selected 14 American companies whose technology they see as valuable in helping the agency’s Moon to Mars endeavor in their fourth Tipping Point solicitation, where a combined award amount of approximately $43.2 million has been invested in the U.S. space industry and small businesses. The initiative aims to bring the winning technologies to market with the extra investment and push by NASA. The Army is also in its fourth year of their Expeditionary Technology Search— a small business-centered technology competition—which focuses on Army modernization. Winners will be invited to Washington to help bring attention to opportunities that small businesses have to collaborate with the Army in order to rectify some of the most challenging Army modernization obstacles. (Sources: Aerospace Manufacturing and Design & Inside Defense)

Why this is important for your business:

So many of us overlook the opportunity of doing business with the U.S. government. And yet the fact is that the government wants the help of small businesses to provide technologies for many uses, including space exploration and defense. More importantly, there are many government agencies – like NASA and the Department of Defense – who have millions in grant money to provide.

3 — Amazon launched AWS IQ, which is a service to connect customers with certified experts.   

Amazon Web Services has formally launched a new service that aims to connect customers with AWS certified engineers. The program —titled AWS IQ—was created to assist AWS customers with an array of projects including optimizing a workload, creating an application, choosing appropriate architecture, or simply providing support for general help. AWS IQ will integrate with existing AWS accounts and bills, and will also allow customers to monitor, permit, and maintain control over expert access. Experts will be required to have an active AWS associate, specialty, or professional certification. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Amazon Web Services has been exponentially growing as many companies – big and small – are developing and hosting their applications on Amazon’s cloud platform. But, like any technology, doing so requires expertise. Finding those experts has been a challenge up to now. Hopefully, AWS IQ will help to fix that problem.

4 — These retailers are using mapping tech to change the shopping experience.   

Mapping technology is now making it possible for shoppers to ditch their paper shopping lists when shopping at 5 major retailers. Home Depot, Sam’s Club Now, Nordstrom, Rite Aid, and Walgreens are all using variations of online and mobile mapping. (Source: Street Fight Mag)

Why this is important for your business:

According to Street Fight, certain versions of mapping technology use mobile apps that allow shoppers to scan products in the store with their smartphone in order to immediately get product reviews, instructions, details, and ratings. Cashiers, store maps, and concierge services are also being supplemented or replaced with the use of mapping technology, digitizing and simplifying the process of taking a trip to the store. Smart retailers of all sizes are making investments in these technologies to help them provide a better experience for their customers. How about you?

5 — Microsoft launched its AI presentation coach for PowerPoint.

Microsoft has launched their new AI-powered PowerPoint Presentation Coach tool, which is aimed at providing instant feedback to presenters regarding pace, slide reading, and word choice. For pace feedback, the tool will monitor how quickly or slowly the presenter is speaking, while the “slide reading” feature will be able to flag a speaker when they are reading words directly from the slide verbatim in order to help the speaker sound less static. Lastly, the “word choice” tool will go beyond simply detecting when speakers are stumbling over words, and will flag culturally insensitive phrases. The new tool is currently available with the web version of PowerPoint. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

I’m still not convinced this will get rid of that heckler in the front row. But every little bit helps. (Note: my company, The Marks Group PC, is a Microsoft partner).

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