Microsoft to deploy artificial intelligence for Flipkart’s future sales

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BENGALURU: Flipkart is working with Microsoft to deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning-based solutions that will making it easier to run future sales, the ecommerce company’s head of engineering told ET.

Flipkart, which recently concluded its Big Billion Day sales, saw three-times more users and as much as 30 times its usual amount of traffic during the sale. It saw no major glitches and is already looking at improving its technology systems for the next sales.

“AI and ML are becoming focus for us now. We think there is a lot of opportunity to optimise how we do things like merchandising and offer placement. So we are putting those systems in place and looking to take away any kind of manual tuning and optimisation,” Vinay YS, vice-president of engineering at Flipkart, told ET.

The company is working with Microsoft, which has invested $200 million, to build those capabilities. “We mostly look at Microsoft from the point of view of AI and ML. There are a lot of those capabilities on Microsoft side that we would like to leverage. On aspects like voice recognition we want to partner with them deeply,” Vinay said.

In February, Flipkart announced it had partnered with Microsoft to make Azure its exclusive cloud-computing platform. Currently, it does not use public cloud, having built a large private cloud infrastructure. The last major investment in its own data centre was in 2015. “On the pure cloud front, we are still evaluating – what they have in India and what we need,” said Vinay.
Amazon not only created vast data centre infrastructure but also the public cloud concept, a $12-billion a year business. Flipkart has no immediate plans to follow suit, but Vinay did not rule it out. “We don’t have any plans we can make public at this time,” he said.

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