Alibaba Announced Ten Cutting-Edge Technologies for the Most Innovative Double 11 in History
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On November 3, at the technical communication meeting for the 2020 Double 11 Global Shopping Festival, Cheng Li, CTO of Alibaba Group, announced ten cutting-edge technologies that will be applied at a large scale during Double 11. These technologies include the logistics robot Xiaomanlv, real-time translation with 214 languages supported for live streaming, liquid-cooled data centers, all-round cloud-native Alibaba core systems, and other technologies. Some of them are native business innovations based on digital technologies, while others are fundamental technology breakthroughs that are leading the way heading into the future. All these technological advancements and innovations have made the 2020 Double 11 the most innovative Double 11 in history.
Among the ten cutting-edge technologies, commercial AI technologies go deep into all stages, such as production and manufacturing, shopping and consumption, and logistics and delivering, achieving an intelligent Double 11. For production and manufacturing, “Industrial Vision AI” has been launched in many textile and garment factories. It can automatically complete the quality inspection of raw materials, gray fabrics, finished fabrics, and ready-to-wear garments. “Industrial Vision AI” can identify defects as small as 10% of the diameter of a strand of hair. The identification accuracy can reach over 90%, exceeding a human’s capability. In addition, production efficiency can be improved five times over. With all of these improvements, production and manufacturing during Double 11 can be accelerated.
Ten Cutting-Edge Technologies Released by Alibaba for the 2020 Double 11 Global Shopping Festival
1. Logistics Robot Xiaomanlv
Xiaomanlv will be deployed at Zhejiang University during the Double 11 Global Shopping Festival, making Zhejiang University the first university in the world with robot-only delivery services. It is expected that Xiaomanlv will deliver more than 30,000 packages.
2. Real-Time Translation for Livestreaming
The 2020 Double 11 Global Shopping Festival will host the world’s first e-commerce livestreams with real-time translation, supporting up to 214 languages.
3. Virtual Hosts
Virtual hosts will replace human hosts in Taobao’s studio. They can communicate with audiences and also dance and rap.
4. Alibaba Voice Robots
The Alibaba voice robots are 20 times faster than Siri, allowing tens of millions of audiences to interact with streaming hosts in real-time.
5. OCR-Based Barrier-Free shopping
Alibaba’s OCR product Duguang helps visually impaired people shop by listening. The identification accuracy of picture information exceeds 99%.
6. Industrial Vision AI
Industrial Vision AI will be applied in clothing workshops during Double 11. It can identify defects with 10% of the diameter of a strand of hair and improve production efficiency five times over.
7. Intelligent Cognition Engine
The Intelligent Cognition Engine can provide the world’s largest e-commerce knowledge diaphragm for more than two billion products.
The comprehensive cloud-native core systems for the Double 11 will be the largest cloud-native practice in the world.
9. O&M Robot Tianxun
Tianxun will take over the data center.
10. Liquid-Cooled Data Centers
The data center will be cooled with liquid coolant, saving 70 million kWh of electricity a year.
Innovations Beyond Double 11
Alibaba has implemented the world’s first multi-language “real-time translation for live streaming” for shopping and consumption. It can work in noisy environments and understand non-standard accents and colloquial language during live streaming. With this technology, Alibaba AI can translate e-commerce live streaming from Chinese to multiple foreign languages in real-time. It supports up to 214 languages, helping users worldwide overcome language barriers.
In the logistics and delivering stage, the logistics robot “Xiaomanlv,” which was created less than two months ago, was officially deployed at Zhejiang University and will be responsible for delivering more than 30,000 packages. As a result, Zhejiang University has become the world’s first university with robot-only delivery services. The deployment and operation of Xiaomanlv shows how robots have begun to take over logistics.
In addition, “virtual hosts” will replace human hosts in Taobao’s studio. They can communicate with audiences and also dance and rap. The “Alibaba Voice Robots” allows tens of millions of audiences to interact with hosts in real-time, which is 20 times faster than Siri. “Barrier-free shopping” helps visually impaired people to shop by listening, and the identification accuracy of picture information exceeds 99%. Alibaba has also built the “intelligent cognition engine,” which provides the world’s largest e-commerce knowledge diaphragm for more than two billion products. Technologies are creating new business forms, and the Double 11 Global Shopping Festival is a big stage for the large-scale application of new technologies.
In addition to commercial AI, innovations of basic technologies are applied at a large scale during the 2020 Double 11. This year, Alibaba has completed the cloud-native transformation of its core systems, making 2020 Double 11 the world’s largest cloud-native practice. According to Alibaba, cloud-native technologies can improve resource utilization efficiency and delivery efficiency. Over the past four years, the cost of the Double 11 transaction system has been reduced by 80%, and the R&D and O&M efficiency have been increased by more than 10% on average.
In terms of the cloud infrastructure supporting the Double 11 Global Shopping Festival, the “liquid-cooled data centers” were launched on a large scale this year. The world’s largest liquid-cooled data center, the Alibaba Cloud Hangzhou data center, can handle data pressure during the 2020 Double 11 Global Shopping Festival. Servers from liquid-cooled data centers are immersed in special coolant for heat dissipation, with no need for air conditioning and fans during the whole process. The overall energy saving exceeds 70%, and 70 million kWh of electricity can be saved a year. Moreover, the O&M robot “Tianxun” will conduct automatic inspections and handle faults in the data center. The data center will enter the “unattended era.”