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Aeon to use AI-equipped smartphones to raise efficiency

Japanese retail chain to employ IBM's Watson to answer employee questions

Japanese retail behemoth Aeon will use artificial intelligence to help employees work more smoothly.

TOKYO -- Aeon aims to improve the efficiency of store operations with the use of artificial intelligence, enabling workers to solve problems and answer questions from customers independently.

The Japanese retail group plans to issue inexpensive smartphones to roughly 20,000 employees nationwide in fiscal 2017. Since the devices will come installed with an app for accessing Watson, the question-answering system developed by IBM, the workers will be able to ask questions either verbally or by typing in text.

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