Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Smart Search Relies On Getting That Product Data Right

cameraSupply 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.

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GS1 Explores How Its Systems And Standards Will Fit Into The Semantic Web

gs1usnewGS1, the standards organization responsible for barcodes and the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), among other things, is working to extend the standards used for the identification of goods in the brick and mortar retail world into the web realm. As part of an overall conversation with its retail industry members about focusing more broadly on the digital space, it’s exploring how GS1 systems and standards fit into the semantic web.

What we call the UPC code in North America – and the GTIN (Global Trade Identification Network) code elsewhere – is a key part of the discussion. “The interesting thing is that the schema.org folks did some work to show how the GS1 system could be represented in their schemas,” says Bernie Hogan, Senior Vice President, Emerging Capabilities and Industries, who is spearheading GS1 US’s work in the online space. The schema.org/Product properties include quantitative values based on GTIN codes . “We started looking at that and started asking how we can build upon it.”  (Barbara Starr’s recent SearchEngineLand column provides insight into the benefits today of using GS1 identifiers and structured data, including semantic markup on websites, for e-commerce.)

Today, GS1 US’s B2C Alliance now is working with its community to test some of the concepts around embedding the GS1 system in the web, and how that may positively or negatively impact how retailers’ and brand owners’ products are seen by search engines, says Hogan. “Everything with a unique identifier on the web is merging with Linked Open Data, and that gets pretty interesting, so we are working on a strategy to learn how we can fit into this whole thing,” he says, with the help of the GS1 Auto ID Labs research arm. “We ultimately want to make some standards recommendations, but first we are going through the process of testing and getting consensus and doing some research on how that might be done. But it is all about improving search and relevance for identifying products and finding related information.”

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Big Data Startup Ayasdi Launches; Machine Learning Platform Combines Computer Science And Topological Data Analysis

This week a new Big Data startup company launched, Ayasdi, co-founded by Stanford mathematics professor Gunner Carlsson and based on his DARPA-funded research in the area of applied topology, with $10+million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures and Floodgate.
The technology, dubbed the Insight Discovery platform, is explained to be the “first machine learning platform that combines computer science and a branch of mathematics known as Topological Data Analysis (TDA) that visualizes the entire dataset.” Hundreds of machine learning algorithms, it says, go to work exploring datasets to in minutes automatically discover insights that can’t be determined through query-based or ad hoc approaches.

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IBM Presents Augmented Reality

Chris Nerney of Data Informed has reported on a new “augmented reality” app coming out of IBM. He writes, “Imagine being able to point your smartphone’s video camera at a store shelf and instantly get personalized, detailed information about the products on your device’s display screen. In a few months, some shoppers no longer will have to imagine this marriage of the Internet, data analytics, mobile technology and the physical spaces of a shopping aisle. IBM researchers at the company’s lab in Haifa, Israel, are developing an “augmented reality” mobile shopping application that should be offered by some supermarket chains to customers before the end of the year.” Read more

How Retailers Can Benefit from Knowledge Graph

Barbara Starr has written an article about how retailers can benefit from Google’s Knowledge Graph. She writes, “After Google’s Metaweb acquistion, the search engines were all becoming, in baby steps, what I would call ‘answer engines.’  Typing in a query such as ‘Barack Obama birthday’ would yield an answer. I tried it again recently and the result was amazing! Placing semantic markup on your webpages makes them more findable. For shopping sites, the markup information can leveraged so users quickly identify sites that have only the relevant products they seek. Some examples of rich snippets are shown below.”

She continues, “Google is now leveraging linked data within the enterprise, which is very clear within the ‘Knowledge Graph,’ and in some fashion, they are doing so with the consumed information from rich snippets, namely retail, reviews, etc. In this case we specifically refer to the retail aspect and its associated domains/schemas. Read more

The Value of Semantic Markup to Retailers

A recent article informs online retailers that “Starting now, you’re going to need good structured markup on your X/HTML in addition to your white hat tactics. I see structured markup as being equally important to authoritative inbound links as a ranking factor when optimizing content. Why? Because search robots are designed to serve search engine users by matching their search query expectations, known as user intent. These bots are machines, and they’re trying to discern the human mind’s evaluation of information in answer to human-entered keywords.” Read more

Walmart Buys Kosmix for $300M

According to a recent article, “Wal-Mart Stores paid just over $300 million in cash for Kosmix. The six-year-old Mountain View, Calif.-based company–which has built a social media platform that organizes content by topic–has raised $55 million from a large group of Silicon Valley venture firms… Kosmix will join the newly formed @WalmartLabs.” Read more

The Semantic Web is Taking Hold in Business

The semantic web is extending its reach into more and more businesses with tremendous effect. Ebags.com, for example saw a 33% rise in holiday sales in 2010 over its 2009 holiday sales. The company’s co-founder credits much of that increase to their new semantic retail platform powered by Endeca Technologies.

The new Ebags.com platform analyzes “shoppers’ keyword choices and clicks, and then winnows down results from categories to subcategories and microcategories. The end result? ‘Guiding the shopper to the perfect bag very quickly,’ Cobb says.”

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Gold Medal Line-up at The 2010 NBJ Summit

Boulder, Colorado, June 23, 2010 –The NBJ Summit (www.nbjsummit.com) announced it will play host to eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno at the 2010 NBJ Summit. The American short track speed skating competitor will give the closing keynote speech at the 2010 event on July 23rd. Apolo is the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time and one of only four Americans who have won three medals in a single Winter Olympic games. In addition, Ohno is a principal with 8 Zone, a dietary supplement company.

Friday’s line-up will also include a morning keynote address by Kevin Harrington, a pioneer in the direct response television industry and a panel discussion with experts from leading non-retail channels which account for over $22 billion of nutrition industry sales. The executive retreat occurs July 20-23 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort.

"I am especially proud of this year’s line-up of speakers and panelists" said Patrick Rea, Co-Chair of The NBJ Summit and Publisher of Nutrition Business Journal. "This year’s NBJ Summit will deliver on our theme – Investing Today to Ensure our Tomorrow – and offer our executive attendees an unparalled opportunity to network with industry leaders one-on-one."

To register, CEOs and leading executives are encouraged to go to www.nbjsummit.com/register immediately.  Less than 20 seats remain for attendees at The NBJ Summit.

Friday’s agenda will include the following sessions:

Opening Keynote: Kevin Harrington, CEO, TVGoods.com

Thriving Beyond the Shelf: Non-Retail Channel Strategies – Risks & Rewards
Speakers:

Joe Chang, President, Pharmanex
Kevin Harrington, CEO, TVGoods.com
Edward Hauck, President, Healthy Directions
Elizabeth Francis, CMO, Intelligent Beauty
Patrick Rea, Publisher and Editorial Director – Nutrition Business Journal
Closing Keynote: Apolo Ohno, American Winter Olympic Athlete & Eight-time Olympic Medalist

The full agenda, speaker list and speaker bios can be viewed at www.nbjsummit.com/agenda.

The NBJ Summit is produced by New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media, and Nutrition Business Journal. New Hope Natural Media (www.newhope.com), a division of the Penton Media, Inc., is the leading media resource and information provider for the natural, organic and healthy products industry with print, in-person/event, and e-business products and services. Penton Media, Inc. is the largest independent business-to-business media company in the U.S., serving more than six million business professionals every month. The company's market-leading brands are focused on 30 industries and include 113 trade magazines, 145 Web sites, 150 industry trade shows and conferences, and more than 500 information data products. Headquartered in New York City, the privately held company is owned by MidOcean Partners and U.S. Equity Partners II, an investment fund sponsored by Wasserstein & Co., LP, and its co-investors. For additional information on the company and its businesses, visit www.penton.com.

Nutrition Business Journal (www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com) is an executive newsletter for decision-makers in the natural, nutrition and complementary & alternative health industries.  The singular focus of NBJ's research and editorial team to the strategic issues of the nutrition industry has made NBJ the leading business intelligence resource for subscribers since 1996.

Carving a place in the enterprise for Semantic Technology by getting past the semantics of ‘semantic’

Semantic Technologies have much to offer today’s successful business, with regulatory, operational and economic forces combining to require that timely and accurate data from across the enterprise be available on demand and at the point of need. Clear benefits are often disguised, though, by obscure language, serious misconceptions about what ‘the Semantic Web’ could or should be, and an unfortunate tendency to advocate ‘semantic technology’ per se rather than specific solutions to tangible business problems.

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