U.K. shopping mall deploys ‘virtual’ employee
Cambridge, U.K. — Grafton Shopping Centre, Cambridge, is hoping to dazzle shoppers with a “virtual” employee who greets customers when they enter the mall. The shopping center is using the Tensator Virtual Assistant, innovative technology which projects a life-like image of a person.
The display interacts with customers, answering common questions and promoting mall offers. This is the very first use of the technology in a United Kingdom shopping mall.
“We are proud to introduce the newest addition to our team. She is the first of her kind in a U.K. shopping centre and we believe she will be a real help to all our customers. Cambridge is known as the Silicon Fen for its new technology and we are proud to be introducing innovation in Cambridge’s popular retail destination,” said centre manager Lance Stanbury.
The Virtual Assistant has been supplied by customer journey technology specialist Tensator.
Oracle opening cloud development center in Seattle
Redwood City, Calif. — Oracle Corp. announced it is opening a cloud development center in Seattle, its first such center outside of California. The company, which plans to hire about 100 engineers to start, said it chose Seattle to take advantage of the “deep expertise” in cloud computing available in the city’s rapidly growing technical community.
"Oracle is committed to providing organizations with the industry’s broadest and most advanced cloud portfolio," said Prashant Ketkar, VP, product management, Oracle. "By opening this state-of-art facility, we are equipped to aggressively build out new cloud services. Seattle has a deep pool of talented engineers with its rich history of innovation and is the perfect location for us to harness that talent in order to accelerate our cloud investments."
The center will be run by Seattle tech natives Craig Kelly, most recently chief technology officer at Edifice, and Don Johnson, formerly with Amazon and RealNetworks.
Walgreens president of pharmacy to retire
Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens announced that Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy, health and wellness, will retire, effective Dec. 31, after 31 years with the company. Crawford plans to join the University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy, where will serve as executive in residence and senior adviser to the Dean. He also will serve as a senior counselor to Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson.
“Words cannot capture the magnitude of Kermit Crawford’s impact on Walgreens and our people, on America’s retail pharmacy industry and on the health and wellbeing of millions of customers and patients we have been privileged to serve over the years,” Wasson said. “Kermit has well-positioned Walgreens for the future, and I appreciate his willingness to serve as my senior counselor and continue his remarkable influence on our company and future — and I look forward to working together in our new capacity.”
Crawford began his career with Walgreens as a pharmacy intern in 1983, and advanced steadily through the ranks.
“After 31 years with Walgreens, starting as a pharmacy intern in my 20s, the time is right to retire from the company to broaden my horizons and seek new ways to serve,” Crawford said. “I love Walgreens, and cherish my years and friends here and the incredibly dedicated people across the company. To me, community pharmacy has long been an unsung hero in our healthcare system, helping primary caregivers to provide convenient, affordable and essential health-and-wellness services in neighborhoods across America. I look forward to continuing to help Greg Wasson and the team to advance the role of community pharmacy in health care as I also pursue other opportunities to provide leadership in new areas.”