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FamilyMart plans to open 1,000 self-driving stores in Japan by 2024

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Convenience store operator FamilyMart plans to open nearly 1,000 unmanned stores by the end of fiscal 2024, offering the same products as conventional retail outlets, in the first large-scale rollout of fully automated stores in Japan.

Last year, Japan loosened rules that require employees to be in stores. The country’s labor shortage will widen as the population continues to shrink and more businesses are moving towards digital optimization. By the way, in terms of labor productivity, Japan ranks the lowest among the G7 countries and only 21st among the 37 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Automation has become vital to retail, which has lagged behind other industries in improving productivity, but food safety laws required retail food handlers to have a health controller in place. In June 2020, in response to repeated demands from retail industry groups, the Department of Health and Labor said sanitation control could be carried out by patrols.

Payment systems are another important element of automated stores. FamilyMart will use artificial intelligence cameras as well as shelf sensors to track which products a shopper is buying. When customers stand in front of the payment terminal, product names and prices are displayed on the monitor, after which all that remains is to complete the payment electronically or in cash.

The system eliminates the need to read barcodes and makes it more difficult to steal in stores. To protect the privacy of customers, data that could lead to personal identification, such as facial images, are not stored. Customers will not need to prepare a smartphone app or provide biometric authentication when entering a store.

According to FamilyMart, nearly all of the approximately 3,000 items sold in the chain’s regular stores will be available in self-driving stores. A trial store was opened in Tokyo in July. It is noteworthy that it occupies an area of ​​only 50 square meters, which is about 30% less than the area of ​​an ordinary retail outlet of this kind. About 50 cameras were installed in the store with an assortment of 750 items. The age of buyers of alcoholic beverages was checked using a monitor on a payment terminal.

The company decided to start a massive expansion after it made sure the system worked seamlessly, handling about 10 shoppers in a store at a time. It costs about 20% more to open an automated store than to open a conventional store, but labor costs can be significantly reduced as employees are only needed to receive and display goods. Meanwhile, according to a study by the Fair Trade Commission of Japan, 60% of the operating costs of franchised stores are spent on labor.

FamilyMart has approximately 16,000 stores in Japan, opening 200 to 500 new stores annually. From now on, new stores will be “unmanned”.

There are more than 50,000 convenience stores in Japan, but the traditional business model limits the number of locations to open stores and a new format is urgently needed. Automated stores should also address the issue of raising the minimum wage and reducing the number of workers.

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Biden: the US does not want to unleash a new cold war

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But cyberattacks will be answered

The United States does not seek to unleash a new Cold War and does not want to see the world split into tough blocs, said US President Joe Biden at the general political debate of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (GA).

“We do not want a return of the Cold War or a world divided into blocs,” Biden said in his first US presidential address from the UN rostrum.

“The United States is ready to cooperate with any state that is ready to solve existing problems,” the American leader added.

Biden also noted that Washington is in favor of developing uniform rules for the safe behavior of states in cyberspace. The US is strengthening its infrastructure to better defend against foreign hackers.

Biden stressed that the country reserves the right to respond to hacker attacks in the strongest possible way because they threaten the people and interests of the United States.

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Phones

Pros and cons of iPhone 13. What they write about news from CNN, Engadget, Wired and other specialized publications

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After the first review of the iPhone 13 Pro by The Verge, excerpts from which we have already published, reviews of CNN, Engadget, Wired and other authoritative publications appeared on the Web.

Reviewers are praising the smartphone’s improved cameras and display, dropping 64GB and upgrading to 128GB of flash storage. They also agree on their criticism of Lighting, whereas most of the iPad lineup now uses USB-C.

Also, all reviews confirm the increased battery life that iPhone users have long dreamed of. All models of the new line began to work longer. In particular, the iPhone 13 mini began to work much longer: if last year’s iPhone 12 mini was discharged by lunchtime, then the iPhone 13 mini can work all day, albeit with “light use.” That being said, the iPhone 13 can last up to two days, which is really impressive.

As for the display, there are pros and cons. CNN notes improvements in maximum brightness that make the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini easier to use in bright environments. However, they do not support 120Hz refresh rates. This feature is only available on the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max. Wired also praises 120 hertz displays, which are adaptive to efficiently save power.

New smartphones take great pictures, but revolutionary changes should not be expected. Wired writes that smartphones are “still excellent” in photography, although the WSJ warns that iPhone 12 owners probably shouldn’t change their smartphones. Differences between photos taken with iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 are difficult to notice, although if you have an iPhone XR or iPhone 11 then replacing them with an iPhone 13 would be more logical.

Pros and cons of iPhone 13. What they write about news from CNN, Engadget, Wired and other specialized publications

At this stage, the cinematic mode seems to be more of a curiosity than a real “professional” feature. The Verge notes that it is fun to experiment with, but also warns, “It seems like it has a few years before it really becomes useful for anything other than casual use.” The WSJ criticized this video mode, claiming that it is difficult to distinguish the edges of objects.

As a result, most reviewers agree that the owners of the iPhone 12 are unlikely to change their smartphones, but the rest of the iPhone 13 fans will definitely like it very much.

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Components

5K screen, Core i9 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. HP Envy 34 all-in-one PC presented

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HP today unveiled a number of new products, including the Envy 34 all-in-one computer. The new product will go on sale in the US next month starting at $ 2,000. The cost is considerable, but the characteristics for the candy bar are non-trivial.

The HP Envy 34 features an Intel Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 3080 3D card.The 34-inch IPS display has a 5120 x 2160 pixel resolution and 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage. Built into the base of the display stand is a Qi-standard wireless charger delivering 15W of power. The webcam is interestingly made – it is removable with a magnetic mount, so it can be installed in a variety of places on computers. The camera uses a 16 megapixel sensor.

5K screen, Core i9 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. HP Envy 34 all-in-one PC presented

The all-in-one has four slots for RAM modules and two slots for M.2 SSDs, all with user access. In the top configuration – 32 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD, but this, of course, is not the limit. Also configured with an integrated power supply and a pair of Bang & Olufsen loudspeakers. Interface connectors include two Thunderbolt 4 ports and one full-size DHMI.

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