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On the road to becoming net-zero and AI-driven

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur • 6 min read
On the road to becoming net-zero and AI-driven
Businesses across industries are transforming themselves to become environmentally friendly and AI-driven. Photo: Unsplash
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Businesses across industries are increasingly pressured to become more environmentally friendly and AI-driven. Here's how some organisations from the semiconductor, hospitality and retail sectors are transforming to address those needs.

How Micron sets its path to net zero

Photo: Micron Technologies

Semiconductors are crucial components of the many electronics we use today, be it for consumer electronics like mobile phones and refrigerators or industrial applications such as automobiles. As we increase our use of electronics, semiconductor companies are pressured to keep pace with the rising demand while reducing emissions.

According to McKinsey & Company, 80% of semiconductor manufacturing emissions fall into either Scope 1 or Scope 2 categories, both of which are under the companies’ control.

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Scope 1 emissions arise directly from fabs, primarily from process gases with high global warming potential (GWP) that are used during wafer etching, chamber cleaning and other tasks. They can also come from high-GWP heat-transfer fluids that may leak into the atmosphere when fabs use them in chillers.

Meanwhile, Scope 2 emissions arise directly from purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling equipment. The major sources include production tools and facilities/ utilities.

Effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires semiconductor companies to take a holistic approach to sustainability. Chen Kok Sing, corporate vice-president and country manager for Singapore at Micron Technology, says: “[We’re doing so at Micron by] driving accountability at all levels on environmental sustainability, which includes inculcating a mindset and culture [that understands the importance of being sustainable].”

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The company’s sustainability strategy, he adds, looks at four key areas, namely emissions, water, energy and waste. In Singapore, its central abatement system will enable its Fab 10 facility to avoid carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to the amount absorbed by 7.4 million trees.

Its operations in Fab 10 also use mostly recycled water (which is NEWater) and solar energy. The solar energy project is an ongoing project with Sembcorp Industries, and when completed, 36,000 solar panels installed on the rooftops of the facility will generate 24GWh energy, which could power 6,000 homes in Singapore. The Fab 10 facility is also recycling and repurposing 85% of its waste.

To further its sustainability journey and reach its net-zero goal, Micron is considering the different types of renewable energy available in each market it is in. Chen also shares the company will continue to collaborate with the ecosystem and industry providers to develop sustainable solutions that may not be presently available. This includes its partnership with Sembcorp to explore the use of hydrogen energy.

Ascott leverages generative AI for its new chatbot

Photo: Ascott Limited

Guests of hospitality company Ascott can now turn to Cubby — the company’s new AI-powered chatbot — to get personalised itineraries. Itineraries can be customised and amended according to the destinations selected, length of stay and travel preferences among other criteria.

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Cubby will also be able to share travel tips, health and safety information, alongside advice on visa requirements, travel budgets and packing checklists. Moreover, the chatbot can help guests book their preferred properties through a deep link to the website booking engine.

Built on Microsoft OpenAI and Azure Services, Cubby leverages real-time data, Bing search, Azure Map (Nearby API), Azure Map (Weather API) and other Azure services, alongside data and insights accessed via Ascott’s global website, to provide a tech-enabled guest journey.

According to Ascott, Cubby will be seamlessly integrated with different applications in the future to provide greater convenience to guests. Improved language capabilities will also be implemented to ensure that the chatbot can respond instantly across channels, using the guest’s preferred language and platform while handling an immense volume of guest inquiries simultaneously and consistently.

Tan Bee Leng, Ascott’s managing director for brand and marketing, says: “With its AI prowess, Cubby taps into a vast treasure trove of data, enabling fast analysis of travel preferences, trends, and recommendations; from suggesting hidden gems to tailoring itineraries that match specific areas of interest. As we journey alongside our valued guests in this shared adventure of experimentation, every interaction with Cubby is set to unlock a realm of limitless possibilities in AI-driven travel planning. Ascott is dedicated to nurturing Cubby’s growth, empowering it to deliver more personalised and engaging experiences with each interaction.”

Besides Cubby, Ascott is leveraging AI for quicker check-ins. Its self-check-in kiosks at some of its Singapore properties use computer vision to map out guests’ facial features and compare them to their passport photographs.

Additionally, Ascott plans to implement natural language processing for advanced sentiment analysis by deciphering nuanced language later this year. This AI innovation will generate specific and constructive suggestions for each Ascott property to elevate guest satisfaction and provide strategic insights for the hospitality group in designing new properties.

Zalora ventures into AI-driven fashion e-commerce

Photo: Pexels

Online shopping platform Zalora recently launched a proprietary platform-as-a-service integration of OpenAI called Titan to drive new operational efficiencies and improve the customer experience.

By harnessing the power of generative AI via Titan, Zalora has enhanced its existing Search and Discovery experience for more intuitive and precise results for customers. The newly optimised Search can handle a wider array of spelling variations and errors to better identify, present, and sort customers’ results. This has helped increase conversion rates by up to six per cent.

To take it a step further, the company is developing a conversational shopping assistant. The solution will leverage Titan and Zalora’s deep understanding of the region to enable its more than 55 million customers to shop with smart prompts and engage with interactive real-time features as they shop on the platform.

Titan will also be used to boost operational efficiency. Zalora is in the initial planning stages of integrating advanced OpenAI into its in-house warehouse management system for planning, forecasting, and picking algorithms. Early experiments have seen an improvement of 30%–50% in forecasting accuracy, allowing the e-commerce company to provide exceptional delivery experience more efficiently and profitably.

Additionally, Titan can help Zalora create smarter customer service, where the platform can answer customer questions and resolve issues automatically as it understands customer needs and provides personalised responses. This will improve the customer experience and free up human customer service agents to focus on more complex tasks.

Sumit Jain, Zalora’s chief technology officer, says: “The future of retail will be driven by technology innovation and the extent to which we prioritise ensuring a safe and seamless experience for customers. By building on OpenAI technology through our proprietary platform, Titan, we intend to lead fashion e-commerce innovation in maintaining a safe and seamless experience for customers and taking the online shopping experience to the next level.”

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