Cafes: the next frontier for AI?

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Cafes: the next frontier for AI?

A New Zealand company thinks so, and has staked its success on an app that uses AI to help business owners.

Are cafes ready for artificial intelligence (AI)? New Zealand app developer Aider hopes to prove so with the launch of an AI-powered business assistant.

The Aider iOS app is priced at $39.99 per month and allows users to use conversational language to ask questions about sales, inventory or other business issues.

For example, if a business owner asks “what is my cashflow today?”, the app can display the cashflow and the percentage increase or decrease since the previous week.

It can also monitor and predict the success of a business’s social media activities. Users can also tell it to perform tasks, as they would using Google Assistant. For example, they could tell Aider to pay invoices.

Over time, the app will also use algorithms to alert business owners about anomalies in sales forecasts, says Aider CEO Brendan Roberts.

While there are plenty of apps that deliver small business insights, Aider stands out for its enthusiastic promotion of AI. Aider describes the app as an “AI assistant for small business” that “gives the power back to small business with the latest AI technology”. Its blog also has articles about How AI can improve your work-life balance”.

“Traditionally, AI has been inaccessible except to large businesses,” says Roberts. “Aider changes that - in turn giving small businesses an edge to be even more successful, however they define that.”

“We believe that AI is in the process of changing how the world of commerce operates and we want to make this technology readily available to small business.”

Aider says it is currently working with cafes, restaurants, hospitality and retail businesses. It is inviting retail and hospitality businesses in Australia and New Zealand to sign up for its app.

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