Pizza Hut Adding Pepper Robots to Restaurants in Asia
MasterCard has inked a deal with Pizza Hut to bring Pepper to restaurants across Asia by the end of 2016. The move is intended to push MasterCard's MasterPass digital wallet, which Pizza Hut patrons can use by either tapping the Pepper icon within the wallet or by scanning a QR code on Pepper's display, while connected to Wi-Fi. Pepper can also provide recommendations and offers.
"Core to our digital transformation journey is the ability to make it easier for customers to engage, connect and transact with Pizza Hut," Vipul Chawla, Managing Director of Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia, said in a statement. "With an order-and-payment-enabled Pepper, customers can now come to expect personalized ordering at our stores, reduce wait time for carryout, and have a fun, frictionless user experience."
Unveiled a year ago, Pepper can detect sadness based on your expressions and voice tones. Using built-in cameras, touch sensors, an accelerometer, and other senses, the robot is programmed to react appropriately. It comes with full humanoid traits, including eyes, a nose, and mouth, and sports a 10.1-inch display, six lasers, two sonars, and more.
Pepper went on sale last year for about $1,700, and recently had a trial run in a Japanese electronics store. Earlier this month, SoftBank opened Pepper to Android developers; a beta version of the Pepper SDK for Android Studio is available now.
25 Geniuses Who Are Creating the Future of Business
India is the new startup machine
President & COO | SoftBank
Though more people are currently using smartphones in India than in the US, ecommerce there is just getting started. So SoftBank president and chief operating officer Nikesh Arora decided to invest heavily in the country where he grew up. “The youth of Asia are all going to demand more access to goods and services,” he says. “So there’s a new opportunity to develop businesses.”
A year after he arrived at SoftBank to help founder Masayoshi Son transform the Japanese telecom by investing aggressively in international businesses, Arora has sunk more than $1 billion into Indian startups. His investments include OlaCabs, Snapdeal, and Oyo Rooms—ventures contending to be the Uber, Amazon, and Airbnb of India, respectively. (He’s also invested $1 billion in Korean ecommerce company Coupang.) “It’s not hard to understand that 10 years from now, ecommerce will play a significant role in people’s consumption habits.”
Arora believes SoftBank can be more helpful to startups than other investors because he has recruited a team of 15 people with experience building companies—just like him. After emigrating to the US for business school, Arora began his career in finance. He arrived at Google in 2004, just after the company’s IPO, to build its European sales office. Arora helped Google grow into a 55,000-person global company, and he rose quickly to become its chief business officer before joining SoftBank. He knows how to run an Internet business, and that savvy will help foster a new wave of Asian entrepreneurs. —Jessi Hempel, WIRED
Vice President, Communications Products | Google
Imagine a world where cell phone carriers don’t rule, and the important thing is which signal is the best. Nick Fox is creating a future in which your smartphone moves seamlessly from network to network, cellular to Wi-Fi, T-Mobile to Sprint. And it’s closer than you might think.
Fox oversees a Google effort called Project Fi. Available with the company’s latest Nexus smartphones, this 21st-century wireless service automatically shuttles you between networks to find the best connection, period—all without interrupting your calls or texts. “The connectivity in these devices is like water,” Fox says.
What’s more, you can pay for all this in small, flat monthly fees—avoiding the overly expensive and complex pricing plans that so often weigh down traditional cell services. The only catch—and it’s a big one—is that carriers have to agree to allow this kind of switching. But over time they’ll likely have no choice. Manufacturers will build this option into their devices, and consumers will demand it.
Already, Apple lets iPad users easily test multiple cellular carriers and choose between them, and it’s not a stretch to imagine the company making such switching possible on the iPhone next. Thanks to Fox, we’re moving toward a world where wireless networks orbit around us—not the other way around. —Cade Metz, WIRED