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Coffee Briefing January 23 – Google Cloud announces new AI retail solutions, MyLenovo Rewards reaches one million members, Clik2Pay now on Shopify; and more

Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada’s editorial team!

Missed last week’s Coffee Briefing? We’ve got you covered.

What’s new this week

Google Cloud announces new AI technologies to transform retail experience

Source: Google cloud

Google Cloud has announced new features and enhancements to its existing AI and ML-powered tools designed to revamp online and in-store shopping experiences for Canadians.

The tools are mainly focused on helping retailers better track and manage their inventory, while customers can enjoy improved product availability and a new browsing experience.

Here are the new tools announced:

  1. Shelf checking AI solution – Built on Google Cloud’s Vertex AI vision, this tool seeks to provide retailers visibility into what their shelves look like and when and where restocks are needed. It utilizes Google’s database and images taken at various angles to enable retailers to recognize billions of products and ensure in-store shelves are well-stocked.
  2. Update to Discovery AI – A new browse feature to help retailers upgrade their digital storefronts and deliver a dynamic and intuitive shopping experience. The tool is designed to optimize which products are shown and how, for accuracy, relevance and the likelihood of a sale.
  3. Enhancement to Retail Search Solution – New AI-powered update that personalizes the results a customer gets when they search and browse a retailer’s website. The results are based on customers clicks, cart, past purchases, and other information, to determine shopper taste and preferences.
  4. Recommendations AI – With page level optimization and revenue optimization features, e-commerce sites can dynamically curate personalized product recommendation panels to display to a shopper, while increasing revenue per user session on an ecommerce site. The buy-it-again model leverages a customer’s shopping history to provide personalized recommendations.

DMZ opens nominations for Women of the Year and launches Women Founders Summit

Source: The DMZ

Toronto-based startup incubator the DMZ has launched the Women Founders Summit in partnership with angel investment firm Firehood to provide enhanced startup support to women in tech.

Participants can apply by Feb. 3 for the opportunity to pitch their tech startup ideas in front of 50 angel investors on Mar. 1.

The Women Founders Summit seeks to address the disproportionate barriers to business growth that women face compared to their male counterparts.

Furthermore, the DMZ announced that the nominations for the second annual DMZ’s Women of the Year are now open. This award seeks to recognize women who are making their mark in the tech industry and driving the Canadian innovation economy. 

Nominations are open until Jan. 29; recipients will be notified in February and announced publicly on Mar. 1.

ApplyBoard reveals 2023 international education predictions

Source: ApplyBoard

Education tech platform ApplyBoard has pulled together its internal data, external research and government data encompassing international students’ patterns and trends from all over the world to reveal the 2023 international education predictions.

ApplyBoard’s 2023 top 5 international education trends:

  1. Healthcare is poised to become the next “big” field of study in international education. Canada’s need for workers in the health care and social assistance sector has grown by 287 per cent since 2015.
  2. Countries with the most attractive post-graduation work opportunities, including the U.K., U.S., Canada, and Australia, have attracted more international students.
  3. Canada, U.S., and Australia will see a significant spike in EU students. Interest in the U.K. as a study destination has dwindled significantly, post-Brexit, given universities no longer offer discounted rates to EU students. 
  4. India will overtake China as the largest international student population in the U.S., joining Canada and the U.K.. This is partly due to the Chinese government’s efforts to develop its own post-secondary education system, moving China from a top country of origin to a destination market of its own.
  5. Universities will have more opportunities to enroll students from other countries following China’s decline. In Canada, some of those markets include Nigeria, Algeria, and Iran.

MyLenovo Rewards reaches one million loyalty members

Source: MyLenovo Awards

MyLenovo Rewards has reached one million loyalty members across the U.S. and Canada.

Created in 2018, MyLenovo Rewards gives customers points for purchases, and incentives for members to review products, answer questions, share their birthdays or other information, and provide feedback.

To celebrate this milestone, Lenovo will be hosting two special contests plus chances to earn bonus points:

  1. Win 1M Points: Between Jan. 23 and Feb. 5, members can sign in every day and complete the poll of the day to be entered to win 1,000,000 points (C$1,000 on Lenovo.com)
  2. Formula 1 Sweepstakes: Members will be able to redeem loyalty points for an entry into a raffle to win an all-inclusive event experience at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, TX. The first day will be free and then increase by 1,000 points each day.

Additionally, members can do the following to earn bonus points:

  1. 1,000 Points: Take the member appreciation Survey
  2. 1,000 Points: Test your knowledge on an all-things Lenovo quiz
  3. 100 Points: Watch Lenovo’s 1 million Member Celebration Video
  4. 100 Points: Complete the poll of the day
  5. Earn 2X Rewards Sitewide Jan. 23-Feb. 5

Clik2pay partners with Shopify

Source: Retail Insider

Toronto-based payment service provider Clik2pay is now available on Shopify stores to offer direct-from-account payment options to customers.

Clik2pay provides customers with an alternative to options like credit card, cheque, or pre-authorized debits. When using Clik2pay, payments are completed safely and securely using Interac e-Transfer.

According to Clik2pay, businesses on Shopify can increase their customer base by opening online payments to Canadians who don’t have credit cards, and reduce payment processing fees by up to 50 per cent. Research data shows that more than 40 per cent of Canadians prefer to pay from their bank account.

Merchants can start with Clik2pay on Shopify in three easy steps:

  1. Sign-up for Clik2pay online
  2. Add the Clik2pay App on Shopify
  3. Complete account setup by following instructions

Clik2pay features for businesses include easy-to-use APIs, end-to-end payment tracking, real-time notifications, status updates, and a complete settlement file. 

More to explore

Good news-bad news scenario for Ericsson, firm’s latest financials reveal

There was a mix of good news and alarmingly bad news in Ericsson’s Q4 2022 results, as the Swedish telecom’s revenues were up significantly from 2021, yet net profits on the quarter were down a stunning 39 per cent compared to Q4 2021.

Globalive announces plans to return to the wireless market with bid for Manitoba spectrum

Toronto-based telco Globalive has announced its plan to return to Canada’s wireless market with a bid to acquire Manitoba spectrum from defunct carrier Xplore Mobile.

Microsoft to cease sales of Windows 10 licenses

Microsoft is continuing its push for Windows 11 adoption with its quiet announcement that it will cease to sell Windows 10 licenses on Jan. 31, although the operating system will continue to be supported with security updates until Oct. 14, 2025.

Global IT spending to total over US$4 trillion in 2023: Gartner

According to the latest forecast by Gartner Inc., worldwide information technology spending is set to grow by 2.4 per cent, totaling US$4.5 trillion in 2023. This is down from Gartner’s previous quarter’s forecast of 5.1 per cent growth.

Google slashes 12,000 jobs

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced in a statement and in an email to U.S-based affected staff, that the company will be cutting approximately 12,000 jobs or six per cent of its workforce.

Quantum Days 2023: Creating an integrated and stronger quantum ecosystem

At Quantum Days 2023, the main players behind the C$360 million investment in the National Quantum Strategy convened in a panel to discuss the need for government support, coordinated efforts, and creating and retaining talent to advance innovation in the quantum field.

Federal funding announced to develop the quantum computer of tomorrow

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $40 million investment to enable Toronto-based quantum computing company Xanadu to build and commercialize the world’s first photonics-based fault-tolerant quantum computer.

TekSavvy asks CRTC to block proposed sale of Freedom Mobile to Videotron, says it violates Telecommunications Act

TekSavvy is not backing down. The Ontario-based independent internet service provider (ISP) is asking the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to review the pre-conditional sale of Freedom Mobile to Vidéotron as part of the Rogers-Shaw C$26 billion takeover.

Channel Bytes January 20, 2023 – Microsoft announces GA of Azure OpenAI; 24-7 Intouch rebrands; Pia aiDesk for MSPs; and more

Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.

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If you live in Quebec, or prefer to consume the latest technology news in French, our sister publication Direction Informatique has you covered. Follow them on Twitter as well.

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