Tech & Science Walmart goes to the cloud to close gap with Amazon

13:17  14 february  2018
13:17  14 february  2018 Source:   reuters.com

People are leaving hilarious reviews on Amazon for this $100 inflatable ball that's way bigger than they expected

  People are leaving hilarious reviews on Amazon for this $100 inflatable ball that's way bigger than they expected A giant beach ball that measures 12 feet in diameter is the latest product on Amazon to go viral, thanks to its reviews. While Amazon users have been trolling products like this $9,000 Swiss Army Knife, or this banana slicer, for years, they've only recently started leaving reviews for the so-called "Beach Behemoth" by Sol Coastal.The hilarious find comes to us from Reddit user mas1234, who first spotted one particularly funny review for the inflatable ball in a now-viral post from Monday."A fun way to ruin a weekend and blow 100 bucks," the review starts.

The effort is helping Walmart to stay competitive with Amazon on pricing and to tightly control key functions such as inventory. The cloud initiative is but one of several steps Wal - Mart is taking to boost its e-commerce business.

The effort is helping Walmart to stay competitive with Amazon on pricing and to tightly control key functions such as inventory. The cloud initiative is but one of several steps Wal - Mart is taking to boost its e-commerce business.

a screen shot of a video game: Walmart employees work at the company’s network operations center in Sunnyvale © REUTERS/Nandita Bose Walmart employees work at the company’s network operations center in Sunnyvale One of Walmart Inc's best chances at taking on Amazon.com Inc in e-commerce lies with six giant server farms, each larger than ten football fields.

These facilities, which cost Walmart millions of dollars and took nearly five years to build, are starting to pay off. The retailer's online sales have been on a tear for the last three consecutive quarters, far outpacing wider industry growth levels.

Powering that rise are thousands of proprietary servers that enable the company to crunch almost limitless swathes of customer data in-house.

Intel's all-in-one Xeon chip will speed up car connectivity

  Intel's all-in-one Xeon chip will speed up car connectivity Intel's Xeon chips normally reside in distant server rooms or brawny workstations. The company hasn't divulged pricing, although it's safe to presume you won't be buying one for home use. And in case you're wondering: yes, there will be software updates to make sure they aren't vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre security flaws.

The effort is helping Walmart to stay competitive with Amazon on pricing and to tightly control key functions such as inventory. The cloud initiative is but one of several steps Wal - Mart is taking to boost its e-commerce business.

One of Walmart Inc's best chances at taking on Amazon .com Inc in e-commerce lies with six giant server farms, each larger than ten football fields.

Most retailers rent the computing capacity they need to store and manage such information. But Walmart's decision to build its own internal cloud network shows its determination to grab a bigger slice of online shopping, in part by imitating Amazon's use of cloud-powered big data to drive digital sales.

The effort is helping Walmart to stay competitive with Amazon on pricing and to tightly control key functions such as inventory. And it is allowing the company to target shoppers with more customized offers and improved services, two top executives told Reuters in interviews at Walmart's San Bruno and Sunnyvale campuses in California.

"It has made a big difference to how fast we can grow our e-commerce business," said Tim Kimmet, head of cloud operations for Walmart.

Unique fish 'beats' evolutionary rulebook

  Unique fish 'beats' evolutionary rulebook An all-female species of fish appears to have defied the normal rules of evolution by continuing to develop - despite thousands of generations of clones. The Amazon molly is the only animal with a spine that is capable of reproducing without having sex and its existence has baffled scientists."According to established theories, this species should no longer exist. It should have long become extinct during the course of evolution," said Dr Manfred Schartl of the University of Wurzburg in Germany.

By Nandita Bose. SANBRUNO/SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Reuters) – One of Walmart Inc’s best chances at taking on Amazon .com Inc in e-commerce lies with six giant server farms, each larger than ten football fields.

The effort is helping Walmart to stay competitive with Amazon on pricing and to tightly control key functions such as inventory. Excess capacity The cloud initiative is but one of several steps Wal - Mart is taking to boost its e-commerce business.

He said Walmart, for example, is using cloud data to stock items frequently ordered by customers via voice shopping devices such as Google Home.

The network is helping the retailer improve its in-store operations as well. Using data gleaned from millions of transactions, the company sped up the process by which customers can return online purchases to their local stores by 60 percent. And Walmart can adjust prices at its physical locations almost instantly across entire regions.

"We are now able to execute change faster," Jeremy King, Walmart's chief technology officer, told Reuters. He added that Walmart can now make over 170,000 monthly changes to software that supports its website, compared to less than 100 changes previously.

To be sure, Walmart, the world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer, holds just a 3.6 percent share of the U.S. e-commerce market compared to Amazon's 43.5 percent, according to digital research firm eMarketer.

Amazon Alexa ad 'triggered cat food order'

  Amazon Alexa ad 'triggered cat food order' Amazon has been cleared by the advertising watchdog after a television ad for its Echo Dot smart speaker activated a viewer's device and placed an order for cat food. The commercial, which aired on 5 October, showcased people using the device in various situations and included a man saying, "Alexa, re-order Purina cat food," to which the virtual assistant replied: "I've found Purina cat food - would you like to buy it?"Although Amazon has said such ads are "marked" to prevent them from triggering responses from devices in homes, the complainant's device had gone ahead and placed the order.

The cloud initiative is but one of several steps Wal - Mart is taking to boost its e-commerce business. “The battle between Walmart and Amazon has been These facilities, which cost Walmart millions of dollars and took nearly five years to build. San Bruno, CA - Walmart Goes To The Cloud To Close

The retailer's online sales have been on a tear for the last three consecutive quarters, far outpacing wider industry growth levels. Powering that rise are thousands of proprietary servers that enable the company to crunch almost limitless swathes of customer data in-house. The effort is helping.

Still, Walmart's cloud effort is significant at a time when U.S. retail is undergoing immense disruption, and data-based decision making has become more important than ever to understand how shoppers make purchases.

Walmart's online revenue climbed 50 percent year-over-year during the third quarter, helping it post its strongest-ever quarterly growth since 2009.

"The battle between Walmart and Amazon has been playing out on all fronts and the cloud is the latest frontier," said Kerry Liu, chief executive of Rubikloud Technologies, which offers artificial intelligence technology services to retailers.

EXCESS CAPACITY

The cloud initiative is but one of several steps Wal-Mart is taking to boost its e-commerce business. The company has expanded its online selection and acquired smaller e-commerce retailers. Walmart is offering free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more, and it recently asked vendors to supply it with merchandise priced at $10 and up to help it turn a profit online.

Walmart has stored information in smaller internal data centers for years. And it uses public cloud storage for non-critical data. Most retailers rent server capacity offered by companies such as Amazon Web Services, Alphabet Inc's Google, Microsoft Corp and IBM.

Amazon says to create 2,000 jobs in France in 2018

  Amazon says to create 2,000 jobs in France in 2018 U.S. online retail giant Amazon said on Thursday it will create 2,000 permanent contract positions this year in France, its largest market in Europe after Britain and Germany. The increase will bring Amazon's total number of permanent French staff to 7,500 in 2018 and reflects confidence in the economy of a country where the Seattle-based retailer invested over 2 billion euros since 2010, the company said in a statement.Earlier this month Amazon settled a long-running dispute with French tax authorities, who had been seeking nearly 200 million euros from the online retailer.

To be sure, Walmart , the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, holds just a 3.6 percent share of the U.S. e-commerce market compared to Amazon ’s 43.5 percent, according to digital research firm eMarketer. Still, Walmart ’s cloud effort is significant at a time when U.S

“The battle between Walmart and Amazon has been playing out on all fronts and the cloud is the latest frontier,” said Kerry Liu, chief executive of Rubikloud Technologies, which offers artificial intelligence technology From Dumbo to Mr. Toad, Disneyland Collection Goes Up for Auction.

(For a graphic on big players in the cloud market, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2EYe9Ii)

But Walmart's decision to build a network that is not reliant on a single third-party cloud technology provider has transformed its ability to understand shoppers, who now move between store, desktop, mobile and app to make purchases. About 80 percent of Walmart's cloud network is now in-house.

Walmart's Kimmet said security was another big factor behind the effort, enabling the retailer to better protect customer data. That secrecy extends to the locations of its six "mega clouds" or giant server farms, and 75 "micro clouds" whose locations the company declined to disclose publicly.

Walmart shareholders so far appear supportive of its cloud strategy. The company's shares have risen 49 percent in the last 12 months, defying the broader retail sector downturn and outperforming the wider S&P 500 index, which has risen 14 percent over the same period.

Still, some investors have expressed concerns that Walmart's approach will make it harder for the retailer to downsize if market conditions change significantly. A few of them told Reuters they would like to see Walmart commercialize its excess capacity, much as its rival Amazon has done.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) generated $18.34 billion in revenue in 2017 and has garnered 26 percent of the cloud market, according to estimates from Jefferies Group LLC.

"Walmart is very good at following Amazon's innovations. Now they must find a way to monetize the cloud business they are building the way AWS did," said Charles Sizemore, founder of Sizemore Capital Management LLC, who owns shares of Walmart.

Walmart's Kimmet said the retailer has no immediate plans to provide cloud services for other companies. But he did not rule it out as a future revenue driver.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in San Bruno, Sunnyvale California; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Marla Dickerson)

Swinney: Hardline Brexit puts Scotland’s ‘hard-won’ devolution in danger .
Deputy First Minister John Swinney spoke out ahead of talks with the UK Government in a bid to break the deadlock over the EU Withdrawal Bill.Tories pushing for a hard Brexit are putting devolution in Scotland at risk, the country’s Deputy First Minister has warned.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!