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McDonald’s To Use AI For Your Next Drive-Thru Purchase…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

By April 2, 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 — McDonald’s will use AI to automatically tweak drive-thru menus.

McDonald’s just announced it is buying machine learning startup Dynamic Yield for $300 million and will be using the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) at more than 1,000 of its restaurants’ drive-thru windows in the next 3 months. The system will monitor factors like the weather, time, local events, traffic levels at the restaurant and on nearby roads, historical sales data, and currently popular items as well as what customers are ordering to optimize menu displays at the drive-thrus. (Source: engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

The reason why I like this story is because although McDonald’s is using a complex technology, its use is not that complex. Your website or even a self-serve kiosk in your retail store could make similar suggestions based on the very same factors that McDonald’s is using. Ask your software vendors or a programmer.

2 — Employers are using robots to catch fraud in expense reports.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reports that only a small percentage of companies’ expense reports are closely examined, resulting in over $7 billion in annual losses from fraud. The ACFE’s director of research says that, by using robots rather than random spot checks, companies can catch fraud more than twice as fast and cut their fraud losses in half. Business owners can now get a 100 percent overview of incoming employee expense reports using AI such as SAP Concur’s Concur Detect by AppZen, which only sends a charge for examination by a human auditor if it has a red flag. (Source: Insurance Journal)

Why this is important for your business:

Concur and its competitors, like Expensify, are also using AI to better monitor employee expenses and detect potential fraud. Talk with your accounting application vendor and ask if they’ll be providing similar functionality that can be used in invoicing, bill payment and payroll.

3 — Sacked IT guy annihilates 23 of his ex-employer’s AWS servers.

An IT worker in the UK who was fired after just a month on the job at a digital marketing and software company called Voova in 2016 was sent to jail for 2 years after he stole a former colleague’s login, ripped through Voova’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts, and destroyed 23 servers. He was found guilty of unauthorized access to computer material and unauthorized modification of computer material when convicted this past January. As a result, Voova lost big contracts with transport companies worth about $700,000 and reportedly was never able to retrieve the data that was deleted. (Source: Naked Security)

Why this is important for your business:

The lesson: regardless of the size of your business implement 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) for all of your systems. This will help minimize the risk of a similar breach happening.

4— Asus just patched the ShadowHammer malware that was masquerading as a security update.

It was recently revealed that “critical” software updates for Asus computers may have actually been malware, planted by hackers in a targeted attack known as ‘ShadowHammer’. The company is offering a fix in the form of a security update that users can download using the Asus Live Update software tool. And it says it has a second ‘security diagnostic’ tool that scans a computer to determine if it was affected. Asus did not apologize for the hack and, in fact, downplayed it, saying that ‘Only a very small number of specific user groups were found to have been targeted.’ (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

If your company – or any employees – are using an Asus device that make sure they’re aware of this problem and the patch to help diagnose and fix it.

5— UPS forms B2B ecommerce service with Inxeption.

In an effort to help B2B merchants become digital sellers by letting customers order and receive products via UPS, the shipping giant is collaborating with Inxeption, a provider of blockchain-based marketing services, to create an ecommerce platform for such marketers. By integrating technology between the firms, Inxeption Zippy allows brands to manage selling and shipping from one place and receive shipping and tracking services from UPS. The dashboard also simplifies transactions and logistics and could power transactional emails and other communications—critical parts of ecommerce initiatives. (Source: Media Post)

Why this is important for your business:

Yet another powerful use of blockchain technology – this time for shipping. UPS (a client of my company, The Marks Group PC) – is investing in companies like Inxeption to streamline the shipping process for its B2B customers and provide this service in a more secure, auditable environment.  More to come, I’m sure.

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