Power Equipment Australasia

SUSTAINABLE POPULATION AUSTRALIA MOURNS LOSS OF FORMER TRUSTEE Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) is mourning the loss of its former trustee, Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue, who died in Adelaide. Dr O’Donohue was the inaugural chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) patron of the Lowitja Institute, a research institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing. SPA national president Jenny Goldie said her organisation was very proud to have her as a trustee for a few years in the early 2000s. “Her accepting the position as a trustee indicated she endorsed our aims of achieving an ecologically sustainable population nationally and globally,” Ms Goldie said. “Lowitja understood that population growth in Australia since European occupation had wrought untold damage on the natural environment on which we all depend. “She was a woman of great integrity who managed to overcome the disadvantages of childhood in which she was removed from her Aboriginal mother at the age of two. “She was always calm, never bitter, and a great Indigenous leader. We are grateful for having been connected to her for a few years at least,” Ms Goldie said. CABOT’S TO USE AI FOR ONLINE CUSTOMER SUPPORT Cabot’s, part of DuluxGroup, has developed an innovative AI-powered chatbot prototype to provide automated, scalable customer support for DIY woodcare projects. Named the Cabot’s Project Assistant, the company built the breakthrough solution as part of Microsoft’s AI First Movers Program and in collaboration with Microsoft partner Insight Enterprises. The chatbot prototype uses Microsoft’s advanced AI and cloud technologies – including Azure OpenAI Service and Azure Cosmos DB – to answer the most frequently asked questions about Cabot’s’ premium wood care products. It can provide customers with product recommendations, advice on product application and maintenance, and solutions to problems they encounter during DIY woodcare projects. These responses are based on the company’s extensive product knowledge and customer interaction history, which have been used to train the chatbot. As the project assistant can operate 24/7, it will also free up the company’s help and advice teams to focus on more complex queries – boosting customer satisfaction and engagement. “With 25 per cent of consumers seeking woodcare advice from the Cabot’s website before visiting a retailer, we recognised the significant benefits of scaling our online customer support,” said Thomas Buruma, Cabot’s Marketing Manager. “The chatbot prototype we have developed with Microsoft and Insight will enable our customers to navigate a complex category, get 24/7 support with their projects, and buy with confidence.” Following a successful prototype demonstration to DuluxGroup executives in November 2023, Cabot’s will pilot the chatbot internally before moving it into production in 2024. It also plans to scale the solution across other business units within DuluxGroup and add new capabilities. These include an option to upload photos for the chatbot to analyse and provide colour advice based on the images. Angela Anthony, Executive General Manager IT & Digital Enablement at DuluxGroup, said: “This project demonstrates DuluxGroup’s commitment to serving our customers in the best possible way and bringing them closer to our products by leveraging cutting-edge technologies. Importantly, the Cabot's solution provides a scalable framework in our generative AI capability for brands across our business.” Microsoft’s AI First Movers Program was instrumental in guiding Cabot’s through the complexities of Generative AI integration. The program involved envisioning and architecture design sessions, co-led by Microsoft and Insight, which helped shape the system architecture for the chatbot. DuluxGroup also developed their Responsible AI Principles in collaboration with Microsoft to ensure ethical development and use of Generative AI. AUSSIE GROWERS BAND TOGETHER TO BOOST BERRIES In an industry first, berry growers across the country have joined forces to encourage Aussie shoppers to put more berries in their baskets. Delivered through Hort Innovation and led by Berries Australia, the collaboration will see blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries all promoted under a ‘berry basket’ banner. Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said the aim is to promote buying all berries individually, and together. “Aussies love berries, and this campaign celebrates that while helping local growers raise the profile of their produce,” he said. “Research shows that consumers who purchase all four berries make up almost 50 per cent of the total category spend, and that a whole-of-category approach lifts sales across all berry types. “This new collaboration not only leverages these insights but also gives berry growers more bang-for-their-buck when it comes to their investment in promoting their delicious produce.” Following insights unearthed by key consumer research commissioned by Hort Innovation in 2023, the collaboration will use social media and influencers to highlight the standout features of berries including key health benefits (antioxidant richness and nutritional density) and a 30 second commercial to showcase the taste appeal to make Australian Berries a highly sought-after choice, that find their way into more trolleys, more often. Activities will lift awareness of berries and ensure that they remain on NEWS 6 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MARCH - APRIL 2024