Artificial intelligence and big data in retail involves the use of automation, data, and innovative technologies to deliver highly personalized shopping experiences to consumers.
The combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data technology is transforming retail logistics to add a competitive edge to companies in this sector.
Retail logistics is the process of managing the flow of goods to be bought and sold to customers. Logistics accelerates the smooth movement of products and provides a boost to retail markets. Large volumes of data pour into retail logistics daily. Just collecting and analyzing data is not enough, there is a need for an advanced technology that can assist to overcome all challenges faced in retail logistics. Retailers must find patterns in the collected data and use them to accelerate their business growth. AI and big data will play a crucial role in transforming retail logistics. This article highlights how AI can be leveraged alongwith big data that is collected in this industry. But before that, let’s first take a look at the challenges faced in retail logistics.
Retail logistics may face specific problems, which need to be solved at the earliest. Sometimes there arise situations, where shipments can get misdirected; the ships might get out of the network and get misdirected. Secondly, there can also be a situation where delivery of products is stuck somewhere and cannot be traced. Moreover, there exist several transportation solutions, and it is difficult to choose the most effective and efficient mode of transportation to ensure that the customer is happy. Furthermore, lack of operational efficiency is one of the significant challenges faced by retailers. Managing complexity and rapid change is difficult for retailers. Big data and AI technology help to reinvent retail logistics by overcoming these logical challenges faced by enterprises.
How Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Are Transforming Retail Logistics
The compound of AI and big data technology have led to numerous inventions, resulting in eye-opening benefits. AI helps mimic human thinking and adapt to the environment around. Big data-driven technologies have helped AI technology with sufficient amounts of data and its management. Remote sensing, the Internet of Things (IoT), telematics, and geospatial mapping embed information into products and the vehicles transporting them. The physical flow of material usually leaves a trail of unstructured data scattered across the ecosystem. Hence, AI depends on large volumes of data to extract knowledge and learn through their self-analysis. In the retail sector, efficient and speedy delivery of goods and services is the key. By leveraging big data and AI and making informed decisions along with studying data-patterns, retail logistics can predict the demand, eradicate the shipment delay, plan and align the operations well in advance. Moreover, AI systems can predict their customer’s behavior and their demands and accordingly, meet their needs. Additionally, AI technology has its amazing invention – chatbots – that can drive intelligent and meaningful engagement with customers. Chatbots answer all questions that customers ask, thereby not making customers feel ignored. This can help retailers retain their customers and attract new ones that result in their business’ growth. Furthermore, predictive maintenance can help retailers to predict any breakdown of the machine that is likely to happen in the future. This leads to early detection and early repairing of the machine, thereby reducing the cost. AI-driven analytics helps in transforming retail logistics, assisting retail logistics leaders aggregate customer demand and simplify distribution networks.
On email security in the era of hybrid working
With remote working the future for so many global workforces – or at least some kind of hybrid arrangement – is there an impact on email security we are all missing? Oliver Paterson, director of product management at VIPRE Security, believes so.
“The timeframe that people expect now for you to reply to things is shortened massively,” says Paterson. “This puts additional stress and pressure on individuals, which can then also lead to further mistakes. [Employees] are not as aware if they get an email with a link coming in – and they’re actually more susceptible to clicking on it.”
The cybercriminal’s greatest friend is human error, and distraction makes for a perfect bedfellow. The remote working calendar means that meetings are now held in virtual rooms, instead of face-to-face. A great opportunity for a quick catch up on a few emails during a spot of downtime, perhaps? It’s also a great opportunity for an attacker to make you fall for a phishing attack.
“It’s really about putting in the forefront there that email is the major first factor when we talk about data breaches, and anything around cyberattacks and ransomware being deployed on people’s machines,” Paterson says around education. “We just need to be very aware that even though we think these things are changing, [you] need to add a lot more security, methods and the tactics that people are using to get into your business is still very similar.
“The attacks may be more sophisticated, but the actual attack vector is the same as it was 10-15 years ago.”
This bears true in the statistics. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) found in its Phishing Activity Trends Report (pdf) in February that attacks hit an all-time high in 2021. Attacks had tripled since early 2020 – in other words, since the pandemic began.
VIPRE has many solutions to this age-old problem, and the email security product side of the business comes primarily under Paterson’s remit. One such product is VIPRE SafeSend, which focuses on misaddressed emails and prevents data leakage. “Everyone’s sent an email to the wrong person at some point in their life,” says Paterson. “It just depends how serious that’s been.”
Paterson notes one large FMCG brand, where a very senior C-level executive had the same name as someone else in the business much lower down. Naturally, plenty of emails went to the wrong place. “You try and get people to be uber-careful, but we’ve got technology solutions to help with those elements as well now,” says Paterson. “It’s making sure that businesses are aware of that, then also having it in one place.”
Another part of the product portfolio is with EDR (endpoint detection and response). The goal for VIPRE is to ‘take the complexities out of EDR management for small to medium-sized businesses and IT teams.’ Part of this is understanding what organisations really want.
The basic knowledge is there, as many organisational surveys will show. Take a study from the Enterprise Security Group (ESG) released in October in terms of ransomware preparedness. Respondents cited network security (43%), backup infrastructure security (40%), endpoint (39%), email (36%) and data encryption (36%) as key prevention areas. Many security vendors offer this and much more – but how difficult is it to filter out the noise?
“People understand they need an endpoint solution, and an email security solution. There’s a lot of competitors out there and they’re all shouting about different things,” says Paterson. “So it’s really getting down to the nitty gritty of what they actually need as a business. That’s where we at VIPRE try to make it as easy as possible for clients.
“A lot of companies do EDR at the moment, but what we’ve tried to do is get it down to the raw elements that every business will need, and maybe not all the bells and whistles that probably 99% of organisations aren’t going to need,” Paterson adds.
“We’re very much a company that puts a lot of emphasis on our clients and partners, where we treat everyone as an individual business. We get a lot of comments [from customers] that some of the biggest vendors in there just treat them as a number.”
Paterson is speaking at the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo Global, in London on December 1-2 around the rising threat of ransomware, and how the security industry evolves alongside this threat. Having a multi-layered approach will be a cornerstone of Paterson’s message, and his advice to businesses is sound.
“Take a closer look at those areas, those threat vectors, the way that they are coming into the business, and make sure that you are putting those industry-level systems in place,” he says. “A lot of businesses can get complacent and just continue renewing the same thing over and over again, without realising there are new features and additions. Misdelivery of email is a massive one – I would say the majority of businesses don’t have anything in place for it.
“Ask ‘where are the risk areas for your business?’ and understand those more, and then make sure to put those protection layers in place to help with things like ransomware attacks and other elements.”
Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.
Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.