Creativity during trying times


  • China
  • Monday, 23 Mar 2020

BEIJING: Wang Jiayi, a 31-year-old fashion magazine editor living in Tongzhou district of Beijing, is relying on a vending machine powered by artificial intelligence (AI) at her residential compound to supply her with fresh fruit, vegetables and other necessities.

“I select products displayed on the transparent door of the machine and use my mobile to scan a quick response code. Once it is scanned, the door opens and payment is processed automatically after I make my selection and close the door, ” Wang said.

The entire process is convenient and requires no human-to-human contact, she added.

The AI vending machines by e-commerce giant JD’s logistics innovation laboratory, are being rolled out in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing due to the rising demand for unmanned shopping experiences amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Since the outbreak emerged in China, state-of-the-art technologies, including fifth generation wireless technology (5G), artificial intelligence, big data analysis, robots, cloud computing and drones, have been used widely not only in people’s daily lives, but also in the fight against the pandemic.

President Xi Jinping has stressed that the use of digital technologies, such as big data, AI and cloud computing, must be encouraged to enable them to serve as a “pillar” in monitoring and analysing disease outbreaks, tracing viruses, controlling and preventing epidemics, and in medical treatment and distribution of resources.

High-tech enterprises have been quick to develop targeted AI and 5G-enabled solutions for different virus control scenarios, providing frontline workers with more flexibility and convenience.

Remote healthcare services powered by 5G are among the most eye-catching applications, with the three major telecom carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, providing strong technological support to ensure quality communication services for hospitals in different regions.

For example, on Feb 27, doctors in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, used 5G technology to treat a severely ill 67-year-old patient in Wuhan. By using the network’s speed, large-size medical photos and videos can be shared quickly among doctors in different areas of the country, enabling them to formulate the best options for treatment.

Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding have seen the use of telecommuting tools such as video conferences and online office kits surge as tens of millions of white-collar employees work from home.

Alibaba’s all-in-one mobile workplace DingTalk has served more than 10 million enterprises and over 200 million people while Tencent Meeting, which provides free, unlimited use for up to 300 participants per audio or video conference, has increased its computing resources capacity by adding more than 100,000 cloud servers.

Shoppers are switching to online purchasing, with e-commerce platforms that deliver daily necessities and fresh produce witnessing a significant increase in business. JD Daojia said its overall sales revenue rose by 374 percent year-on-year during the Spring Festival holiday.

Meanwhile, agricultural drones have been converted into autonomous precision-spraying tools-highly effective alternatives to large machines for accurately releasing disinfectant in public areas. DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone manufacturer by market share, has used its agricultural devices to spray disinfectant in residential areas, hospitals and waste treatment plants.

To date, the drones have sprayed disinfectant over 600 million square meters nationwide. — China Daily/ANN

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