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Bedsonline Star Rewards Programme piloting to Korean Retail Travel Agents Clients

Vlad Poptamas

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Hotelbeds, the parent company of both GTA and Bedsonline has today announced the launch of new, fully automated loyalty platform for retail clients in Korea.

The Star Rewards programme is a vastly improved loyalty scheme for retail clients, offering a faster, automated and more user-friendly interface to drive up bookings in exchange for vouchers which can be redeemed online against a wide range of products and services from leading brands.

Replacing its predecessor G-Shop which was used by legacy GTA clients, the new platform offers points to retail customers for every booking made through the Bedsonline booking platform. Clients can accumulate points in return for vouchers that can be spent on a wide range of goods and services via a user-friendly online interface.

Following extensive consultation with customers it has been decided that the GTA retail brand[1] in the Korean market will progressively rebrand under Bedsonline, the retail travel agency brand of parent group Hotelbeds.

As part of this change the combination of the GTA retail brand’s content with the existing Bedonline hotel offering will increase from 55,000 to 180,000 the number of hotels available to customers.

Victoria Fernandez, Retention Marketing Manager at Hotelbeds, explains: “Now that we have moved all legacy GTA clients to the new platform, we need to go a step further and test the scheme with more clients who were not previously members of any of our loyalty schemes.

“The benefits of Star Rewards are three-fold. We have connected the Business Intelligence database, where all the bookings are stored, with the incentives platform. This means that clients can see how many points they have earned on a daily basis and convert them into vouchers.

“We have also signed single catalogue agreements with just a handful of providers for different regions offering access to a wider range of products and services than ever before, including household brands such as Amazon, Nike or Apple. New vendors are automatically added to the new catalogue which is being updated all the time. 

“Last but not least, all the vouchers can be redeemed online which means the client can receive their product or service, without any intervention from Hotelbeds.”

Giny Jin-Young Jun, Regional Sales Manager, South East Asia and Korea at Bedsonline, comments“I am pleased to confirm that in Korea, we will have all of our customers on board, as we have now moved all G-shop clients to the new platform, and we will start rolling out the programme to all remaining clients. Star Rewards marks a step change in the way we offer incentives to clients, moving towards an increasingly automated model. We are confident that Star Rewards will incentivize our existing clients to place more bookings with us and help us to increase our competitive position in this market. We will monitor client behavior on the platform and adapt their strategy where necessary and incentivize clients through targeted campaigns in order to drive bookings and further growth for the business “

When put together, Bedsonline offers customers a 360 degree travel partner offering that is customer centric and helps partners compete by offering unrivalled technology, the most competitive commercial terms, swift problem resolution and expert team support.

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Artificial Intelligence

MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab Convenes Top Researchers for Second Annual AI Research Week

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: forbes.com
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The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab (NYSE: IBM) is hosting its second annual AI Research WeekSeptember 16-20, in Cambridge, MA. The five-day conference will explore leading themes in today’s field of AI including neurosymbolic computing and semantic reasoning in machine learning, AI security and safety, inclusive design of AI for all communities, trustworthy and explainable AI, and industry applications of AI.

The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is a joint research effort to drive fundamental advances in artificial intelligence. Since its founding in 2017, the lab has become an integral component of IBM’s AI Research strategy and is spearheading 48 AI-related research projects.

WHO:
Dario Gil (Director, IBM Research), joined by top AI researchers:

  • Yoshua Bengio (A.M. Turing Award Winner and Pioneer of AI and Deep Learning)
  • Josh Tenenbaum (Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT)
  • Laura Shulz (Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Primary Investigator of the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab)
  • Roger Levy (Associate Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Director of the Computational Psycholinguistics Laboratory)

Additional discussions will feature David Cox (IBM Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), Lisa Amini (Director, IBM Research Cambridge), and Antonio Torralba (MIT Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), addressing key topics including: progress of the MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab to date and future goals; transitioning AI research to industry; and self-supervised learning of AI.

The conference will also showcase research and thought leadership from scientists and students affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Illinois, Urbana-ChampaignBoston UniversityRensselaer Polytechnic Institute; the University of Montreal; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the Cambridge and Boston community.

WHAT:
AI Research Week is a technical conference featuring top AI thought leaders from around the world sharing the latest insights on the field of AI. The five-day gathering will also consist of panels, workshops, networking and mentorship all geared towards forging new ideas and discussion around advancements in AI.

WHEN & WHERE: 
September 16-20, 2019, times for events vary. AI Research Week events will be held at MIT and IBM in Cambridge, MA. While many events will occur at the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142, it is best to check the schedule for specific event locations and times.

Conference highlights:

Monday, September 16: Kick-off the week with a poster and networking session where researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and IBM’s AI Horizons Network of university collaborators will showcase projects underway that are shaping the future of AI.

The afternoon will feature a round robin event designed to help match various student communities in the Boston area with a mentor, specifically those in Latinx, BlackinAI, Women in Machine Learning, and LGBTQ. This session will include 15 tables, each with a different topic, and mentors from IBM, as well as other speakers from AI Research Week, designed to connect students with a mentor.

Tuesday, September 17: Yoshua Bengio, full professor and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), University of Montreal, and Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, begin the AI Horizons Colloquium with a Welcome Address, followed by a full day of talks and discussion featuring AI experts from academia and industry.

NOTE: The Colloquium (all day) will be livestreamed here.

Other Colloquium speakers include:

  • Saska Mojsilovic, head of AI Foundations, IBM Research and Co-Director of IBM Science for Social Good, will discuss how people can begin to trust AI.
  • Collin Stult, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and MIT faculty at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Cardiologist, will discuss whether useful machine learning will be used clinically in the near future.

Wednesday, September 18: The NASA ISS Program Science Office and the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, along with IBM Research, will launch a unique opportunity to learn about the International Space Station. Guests will be able to speak with representatives and researchers about the future of AI intersecting with the future of research in space. The event also includes a competition and special session where researchers and students can pitch “ISS meets AI” project ideas to a panel of space experts from NASA, the ISS, IBM, and MIT.

 

SOURCE IBM

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Artificial Intelligence

AI Operations Leader, ThroughPut.AI, chosen to present at the esteemed Plug and Play Japan Summit for IOT and Mobility in Tokyo on September 19th, 2019

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: arcserve.com
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ThroughPut Inc., the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Supply Chain pioneer that enables operations to increase output, quality, throughput, profitability and safety through automated bottleneck elimination, today announced their presentation and participation of their COO and CTO at the Plug and Play Japan IoT and Mobility Summit and EXPO in Tokyo, Japan on September 19, 2019. As a Plug and Play portfolio company, ThroughPut has been one of the most active global members of the Plug and Play ecosystem, being awarded to participate in multiple cohorts and events at Plug and Play Sunnyvale, BerlinMilanFrankfurtClevelandJapan, and elsewhere, spanning diverse topics including application of AI, Data and Analytics to Industrial Manufacturing, Operations, Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation, Mobility, Industry 4.0, Oil and Gas, Food and Agriculture, and more.

“As the leading AI platform for Operations using existing data systems, ThroughPut is honored to be an active contributor to the Plug and Play Japan Mobility Batch 3 cohort,” noted Ali Raza, CEO of ThroughPut. “Our executive team is excited to present to over 1,500 Japanese corporate executives, resellers and partnership leaders at the IoT and Mobility Summit next week in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as consequent meetings that week.”

Plug and Play runs 15 industry themes across more than 50 accelerator programs a year in cities across the world. Plug and Play’s Japanese arm has accelerated four leading-edge industry programs,  and awarded participation to 69 pioneering technology start-ups and 31 corporate leaders, including MUFG, Tokyu Land, Sompo, Nissan, Hitachi, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Fujikura, DENSO, NipponLife, Dentsu, ADK, Nittsu, Norinchukin Bank, Orix, Macnica, Sumitomo, J-Power, Suzuki, SMFG, NEC Solution Innovators, Aflac, Asahi HD, Coca Cola Japan, AISIN, Kyocera MKI, Tanabe, Toshiba Tec, JXTG Energy and Shimadzu. This year’s Summer / Fall Summit is expected to receive an even greater response from startups and corporations across JapanAsia and even further overseas.

“We are very excited to continue building upon our strong client and partner relationships in Japan“, responded Seth Page, COO of ThroughPut and eight-time entrepreneur, while adding, “Plug and Play has opened up unique opportunities for collaboration with corporate partners, clients and investors around the world, bringing together the brightest minds in the industry on a single business platform. In Japan, we are showcasing our unique capabilities to a host of reputed industrial and global corporate titans, while also acquiring valuable insights from other fellow global thought leaders through participation in the Japense Mobility program and event. We look forward to continuing business discussions with market leaders in Japan next week and especially at the IOT and Mobility Summit in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as the Smart EXPO in Nagoya on September 18th.”

Bhaskar Ballapragada, CTO of ThroughPut, commented as well, “The time is ripe for industries to leverage the value of Artificial Intelligence on top of the decades of disaggregated data they’ve been collecting in-house. ThroughPut’s ELI Kaizen-AI product gives unprecedented power to a firm’s own operations managers. AI-enabled, data-driven analysis and executable insights to eliminate bottlenecks in real-time now enable the management of seamless operations across their end-to-end supply chains. In our mission to eliminate the $10 Trillion dollars of annual global industrial waste, we are reaching out to as many industries and companies to test for themselves our ELI product and enable them to experience firsthand the power of their own data with AI, and realize the quick ROI that comes with freeing-up working capital from operations by investing in ThroughPut’s ELI.”

 

SOURCE ThroughPut Inc.

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CAIR ‘Appalled’ by Appointment of Trump’s New Acting National Security Adviser Who Served on Board of Anti-Muslim Hate Group

Vlad Poptamas

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it is “appalled” by the appointment of Charles M. Kupperman as acting national security adviser following the resignation of John Bolton.

SEE: NSC official criticized by civil rights groups named acting national security adviser
https://tinyurl.com/CAIRKupperman
 
Trump fires national security adviser John Bolton
https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-09-10/trump-fires-john-bolton-twitter

From 2001 to 2010, Kupperman served on the board of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), an organization headed by notorious Islamophobe and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has identified Gaffney as an anti-Muslim extremist and designated the CSP as a hate group, calling the latter “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.”

CSP is famous for promoting the conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated all levels of the U.S. government and that Sharia law is on the rise in America.

SEE: Backgrounder on CSP
http://www.islamophobia.org/islamophobic-organizations/57-center-for-security-policy-csp.html 
SEE: SPLC Designated Hate Groups: Center for Security Policy
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/anti-muslim

“While we welcome the resignation of John Bolton, who has a long track record of promoting anti-Muslim policies and associating with hate groups, we cannot simply replace one Islamophobe with another,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “CSP has continuously promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories, and anyone, like Mr. Kupperman, who has so closely associated with them for so long is — at the very least — complicit in their brand of anti-Muslim bigotry and should not be entrusted with one of the highest ranking security roles in the United States.”

In January, CAIR opposed Kupperman’s appointment as Deputy National Security Adviser, citing the same concerns.

SEE: CAIR Calls on Trump Administration to Drop Security Adviser Who Served on Board of Anti-Muslim Hate Group
https://www.cair.com/cair_calls_on_trump_administration_to_drop_security_adviser_who_served_on_board_of_anti_muslim_hate_group

Backgrounder on Frank Gaffney:

Gaffney is a notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist who has claimed that “most of the Muslim-American groups of any prominence in America are now known to be, as a matter of fact, hostile to the United States and its Constitution.”

He is a key promoter of the bizarre conspiracy theory that Muslims in public service are infiltrating the government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gaffney has questioned “whether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States,” claimed the Missile Defense Agency logo is part of a “worrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam,” claimed an aide to Hillary Clinton was a secret Muslim Brotherhood operative, was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit seeking to block construction of a Tennessee mosque, promoted the debunked claim that Dearborn, Mich., is a “ghetto enclave in which it’s Muslim-only,” and hosted “white supremacist” Jared Taylor on his “Secure Freedom” radio program.

He has in the past:

  • Suggested that Saddam Hussein was behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
  • Claimed Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, was submitting to Islamic law when he condemned the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor.
  • Objected to Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.) serving on the House Intelligence Committee because they are Muslim.
  • Accused Pope Francis of having “rabidly anti-American” views after the pope said it is “not Christian” to urge the deportation of undocumented immigrants and to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Gaffney was banned from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in 2011 after accusing fellow Republicans of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, cited Gaffney in his anti-Muslim manifesto.
Gaffney’s staff attorney, David Yerushalmi, has advocated outlawing the practice of Islam in America and is the key promoter of anti-Islam bills in state legislatures nationwide.
White supremacist and White House senior adviser Steve Bannon hosted Gaffney on his Sirius XM radio show “Breitbart News Daily” 29 times.

On November 9, CAIR will hold its 25th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C.

SEE: CAIR’S 25th Annual Gala
https://www.cair.com/25th_anniversary_banquet

NOTE: Use #CAIRSnapshots on Twitter to view all the short videos highlighting CAIR’s important work over the past quarter century. The #CAIRSnapshots campaign is just one of many activities and initiatives leading up to CAIR’s 25th anniversary gala.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

 

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

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