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Flipkart chief technical officer Peeyush Ranjan doesn’t believe that Alexa, the voice-assistant that powers Amazon’s Echo devices, “as it is will work in India,” the executive said on stage at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference.

“The problems that we see over here [in the U.S.] are not what we see in India,” said Ranjan. “The real challenge we’re going to have to solve is bigger than Alexa.”

India’s ecommerce market is expected to be worth nearly $120 billion by 2020, according to Morgan Stanley, however, companies like Flipkart and Amazon face significant obstacles in the country, including the wide variety of spoken languages, power outages, connectivity issues, and lacking delivery infrastructure, said Ranjan.

“To start from the basic premise, if you think of ecommerce, there’s a fundamental belief at Flipcart that the way natural commerce happens is the way ecommerce will go.” That includes visual elements and sentiment analysis, said Ranjan, in addition to the voice-based commands Alexa enables.


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“A.I.-wise, we want sentiment analysis and expression analysis,” said the Ranjan, hinting at future Flipkart services. “When you walk into a real store, the conversation is not just the words that come out of your mouth … it’s the expression on your face.”

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