Andrew Osborne, CTO of GS1 UK recently shared an overview of how the non-profit is leveraging the Semantic Web to improve customer experiences. He writes, “For those of you unfamiliar with what GS1 actually does, we are a not-for-profit standards development organisation. Put simply, our role is to define data structures and how these are used to identify things, a role we have been performing since the 1970s. We provide a series of ‘keys’ for industry which identify various types of entity (products, locations, assets and so on) and which have highly developed allocation rules. We have also defined product attributes for bar coding (the application identifier standards), have over 1,000 product attributes defined for synchronisation in the Global Data Synchronisation Network and an extensive Global Product Classification that is used to categorise products. For visibility systems we have a standard ‘Core Business Vocabulary.’ “ Read more
Frederick Vallaeys of Search Engine Land recently wrote, “By late August, Product Listing campaigns for AdWords will be retired in favor of Shopping campaigns, so if you haven’t started migrating, don’t delay much longer. You can run both campaign types simultaneously, so start tweaking Shopping campaigns now so that they’ll be performing great by the time PLAs go away later this summer… Unlike with Search ads which are entirely managed in AdWords, a lot of the settings for Shopping ads are handled outside of the AdWords interface. They get their titles, images, descriptions and promotions from feeds in the Google Merchant Center. While you can use the AdWords interface to set bids, structure campaigns and set up product groups, you will need to work with your product feed if you want to have ads appear for different keywords. How to manipulate the feed depends on its size and how it is generated.” Read more
Larry Hardesty of the MIT News Office reports, “By now, most people feel comfortable conducting financial transactions on the Web. The cryptographic schemes that protect online banking and credit card purchases have proven their reliability over decades. As more of our data moves online, a more pressing concern may be its inadvertent misuse by people authorized to access it. Every month seems to bring another story of private information accidentally leaked by governmental agencies or vendors of digital products or services. At the same time, tighter restrictions on access could undermine the whole point of sharing data. Coordination across agencies and providers could be the key to quality medical care; you may want your family to be able to share the pictures you post on a social-networking site.” Read more
IndianExpress.com reports, “LG Electronics (LG) announced the launch of its premium smart appliances with HomeChat messaging service in South Korea. HomeChat employs Natural Language Processing (NLP) and LINE, the popular mobile messenger app with over 300 million users, to let homeowners communicate, control, monitor and share content with LG’s latest smart appliances. LG HomeChat incorporates the popular LINE application to allow users to receive recommendations and control settings of smart appliances like refrigerator, washing machine or oven when away from home.” Read more
Jeremy King of WalmartLabs reports, “We’re thrilled to welcome 60+ talented technologists from Adchemy to @WalmartLabs, adding to our expertise in areas like semantic search, data analytics and marketing. Getting to where we are today has been quite a ride. Several years ago we realized that to scale e-commerce to Walmart’s 245 million weekly customers around the world, we needed world-class talent and agile teams that could develop innovative and scalable technologies. We set forth to recruit, acquire and integrate the best technologies and talent in Silicon Valley. It started with the creation of @WalmartLabs three years ago, which is the tech and innovation arm of Global eCommerce. And, Adchemy is our twelfth acquisition since Labs’ creation, and one of our largest to date in terms of people.” Read more
Jon Russell of The Next Web reports, “Alibaba is gearing up for one of the largest technology IPOs in history with more significant strategy and investment moves. The latest, this week, saw the company lead a $1.2 billion investment in Chinese online video service Youku Tudou and link up with browser-make UC Web to launch a mobile search joint venture. Youku Tudou, which is comparable to a Chinese version of YouTube, is taking on investment from Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital, which will hold 16.5 percent and 2 percent shares respectively. The deal values Youku Tudou — which is listed on the NYSE and was created following a billion dollar merger in 2012 — at over $6.5 billion, but moreover it is a sign of Alibaba’s ambition to move into entertainment and mobile. Jack Ma, the iconic founder and now executive chairman of Alibaba, said that the deal would ‘accelerate our digital entertainment and video content strategy… and bring new products and services to Alibaba’s customers’.” Read more
Supply chain and products standards organization GS1 – which this week joined the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to contribute to work on improving global commerce and logistics – also now has released the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) Validation Guide. In the states the GTIN, which is the GS1-developed numbering sequence within bar codes for identifying products at point of sale, is known as the Universal Product Code (UPC).
The guide is part of the organization’s effort to drive awareness about “the business importance of having accurate product information on the web,” says Bernie Hogan, Senior Vice President, Emerging Capabilities and Industries. The guide has the endorsement of players including Google, eBay and Walmart, which are among the retailers that require the use of GTINs by onboarding suppliers, and support GTIN’s extension further into the online space to help ensure more accurate and consistent product descriptions that link to images and promotions, and help customers better find, compare and buy products.
“This is an effort to help clean up the data and get it more accurate,” he says. “That’s so foundational to any kind of commerce, because if it’s not the right number, you can have the best product data and images and the consumer still won’t find it.” The search hook, indeed, is the link between the work that GS1 is doing to encourage using GS1 standards online for improved product identification data with semantic web efforts such as schema.org, which The Semantic Web discussed with Hogan here.
According to a new article out of Mobile Marketing and Technology, there has been a breakthrough in the area of image search. The author states, “British company Cortexica has developed the first software in the world that will help consumers to purchase the perfect pair of shoes. Launching on March 19th, ‘FindSimilar™ for Shoes’ takes a photo of any sort of footwear and then analyses it against a database of images. Working like a ‘visual search engine’ it displays a range of shoes with similar characteristics such as shape, colour and design and allows the consumer to choose from a tailored selection. The technology works by mimicking the way the brain processes images and finds similarities.” Read more
Apparel.com reports, “Reflektion, a retail analytics firm, has raised $8 million in a Series B funding round led by Intel Capital and including NIKE, Inc. as well as several private investors. Reflektion provides a predictive analytics platform for retailers and brands through an easily deployable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. The company plans to use the funding to support its customers — including Converse, Inc., which is currently piloting the technology, O’Neill, A.M. Leonard and RealTruck — and to launch broadly its ecommerce and business intelligence solutions in the market. The resources will also be used for additional product development, plus expanded sales and marketing activities.” Read more
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