From Genomics to Groceries, the Future Belongs to Those That Use A.I. Our world is filled with data. Data on your shopping habits. Data on your physical health. Data on your genetics. The challenge of gaining insights lies not in a lack of data, but in a lack of using that data in a meaningful way. Artificial intelligence and deep learning technology can process huge quantities of data and scale in ways that provide immediate answers to pressing questions. One of the leading Global professional services company Accenture has recently launched Million Meals’ project with NGO Akshaya Patra , the world’s largest NGO-run Mid-Day Meal Program, to deliver 1,000,000 high noon meals to schoolchildren in Asian nation using riotous technologies like computing (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). These Disruptive technologies will enable organisations to deliver a million midday meals to schoolchildren in India, said a top official of software major Accenture. “We have applied AI, IoT and block-chain to exponentially increase the number of midday meals served to children in state-run schools under ‘Million Meals’ project with NGO Akshaya Patra,” said Accenture Labs Managing Director Sanjay Podder in An official press meet.
Rooted in a vision to eliminate child hunger, the Million Meals project demonstrated how disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain can help address significant challenges in mass meal production and delivery. An analysis of the project indicated a potential to improve efficiency by 20 percent, which could boost the number of meals served by millions. Akshaya Patra’s goal is to continue to optimize and streamline the program.
Block-chain is a distributed database that compiles a growing list of ordered records called blocks. The US-based Accenture collaborated with the city-based Akshaya Patra Foundation, which operates the government-funded MidDay Meal Scheme in state-run and state-aided schools, in implementing the novel project with new IT products and solutions. “The project has also demonstrated how new technologies can help address challenges in mass meal production and delivery by revolutionizing supply chain and operations,” asserted Podder. As the research and development arm of Accenture, its Labs specializes in solving complex social problems under its ‘Tech for Good’ program, using innovative technologies. “We have executed the project for six months in the NGO’s Bengluru kitchen and found that efficiency and timeliness in delivery can be improved 20 percent,” noted Podder. AI, IoT and block-chain were used in collecting school feedback, tracking food delivery, measuring the quantity of food, supplies to be purchased and monitoring meal production. “How new technologies can help address challenges in the mass meal production and delivery by revolutionizing provide chain and operations is also demonstrated in the project,” asserted Podder. Using this innovative technologies, the research and development arm of Accenture. Its Labs specializes in solving complex social issues under its ‘Tech for Good’ program. “The initiative not only enhanced efficiency of our operations, but also ensured that quality standards are met while increasing the number of meals served,” said Foundation Chief Executive Officer Shridhar Venkat in the statement.
Accenture Labs began the project with a strategic assessment and design thinking, then developed a prototype for improving kitchen operations and outcomes. Technologies were then applied to four critical processes: collecting school feedback, tracking food delivery, measuring the quantity of food and supplies to be purchased, and monitoring meal production. As a result of these process enhancements, Akshaya Patra improved their audit capabilities, attendance recording, invoice processing and payment, order and data collection, and food preparation operations, allowing for expanded production capabilities and establishing a blueprint for operating other kitchens.
An example of Akshaya Patra’s transformation was its move from manual collection of feedback from children and schools to a more efficient technology-based solution. Using blockchain and sensor-enabled devices, the technical team gathered feedback digitally, leveraging AI technologies to predict the next day’s meal requirements. The team tracked the timeliness of food delivered to each school involved in the initiative and collected the data using mobile devices and an Accenture-built system. The team also used IoT sensors to monitor and sequence the cooking process to ensure optimum energy consumption and consistent food quality. This system not only aided in tracking kitchen performance but also provided accurate, real-time data to identify trends, make better informed decisions and save valuable time and effort. The process enhancement has enabled the NGO to improve its auditing, attendance recording, invoicing, payments and food preparation, besides expanding production capacity and making a blueprint for operating other base kitchens. “We will expand our reach to millions of children with the help of such technologies and in collaboration with firms like Accenture,” added Venkat.