Rakuten India Concludes The Largest-Ever Virtual Conference On Applied AI With 5000+ Attendees – Analytics India Magazine

The second edition of Rakuten Product Conference 2021 with an applied AI theme concluded after two days of interesting keynotes, immersive sessions, exciting networking opportunities, and fun-filled activities. Hosted by Rakuten India in association with Analytics India Magazine, Rakuten Product Conference — a premier conference on applied artificial intelligence — was held virtually on 19th & 20th August.
The conference witnessed participation from more than 5000 attendees, 15+ companies and 40+ speakers across two days. The key highlights of the conference were the three tracks, including — the Advances in AI; Customer & Product Sciences; and Data Science Platforms & Analytics, which touched upon every aspect in the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. With more than 30+ talks, the conference created a dialogue and generated premium content in the form of keynotes, tech talks, knowledge talks, and panel discussions.
The adrenaline-fuelled conference — RPC 2021, was graced by leading names of the AI and analytics industry. Both days, the event kicked off with introductory sessions from Sunil Gopinath, the CEO of Rakuten India and Tsubasa Shiraishi, the Vice-Chairman of Rakuten India. 
Next were insightful keynote sessions by senior executives of Rakuten Group, Inc. including Yasufumi Hirai, the CIO & CISO Group Executive VP, Rohit Dewan, the GM & CTO, Data and Commerce Platforms, who spoke about how they build and use the product catalogue for the business, and Takuya Kitagawa, the Chief Data Officer, who covered a session on Rakuten’s AI Strategy, highlighting how this large internet conglomerate of Japan understands customers’ lifestyles and well-being using AI and data. In addition, Ashish Pandey, the GM & SVP, AI Business and AI Products, highlighted how their AI Product teams approach high impact AI solutions and products across 70+ businesses globally, and Kazuhito Nomura, the GM, Data Science Consulting Department showcased how various dimensions of data science and analytics are being used to tackle real-life business problems.
Furthermore, Ankur Datta, the Director of Data Science spoke about the underlying trends in data, compute and algorithms that are driving the progress of natural language processing and Björn Stenger, the Lead Scientist, Computer Vision & Machine Learning gave an overview of vision research projects at the Rakuten Institute of Technology that help to enable frictionless customer experiences.
Following the keynotes were the thought-provoking tech talks by highly experienced industry speakers brought together from various companies, including Reliance Jio, Swiggy, Flipkart, Unravel Data, Lowe’s, Embibe, Sensara, Uber, Equifax, Visenze, and YES BANK, among a gamut of other leading companies. 
The sessions varied from talking about Ashtang AI — An Architecture of AI for Complex Ecosystems by Shailesh Kumar, the Chief Data Scientist, CoE AI/ML at Reliance Jio and Analytics & Data Science for Ecommerce by Ravi Vijayaraghavan, the SVP & Head – Analytics & Decision Sciences (CDAO), Flipkart to Explainable AI (XAI), & its Business Applications by Yusuke Kaji, Senior Manager, Analytics & Data Science at Rakuten Group, Inc. and Anirban Nandi, the VP – Business Analytics at Rakuten India and Deep Learning for NLP & E-commerce by Ankur Datta, the Director Data Science at Rakuten Group, Inc.
Along with that, Sekhar MK, the Vice President and Vinay Jain, the Senior Product Manager at Rakuten India, provided a deep dive into how the company has been addressing challenges like scaling ML/AI and productionising more than 30% of their ML efforts. Finally, Dr Madan Dabbeeru, the Senior Director – Research at Rakuten India, spoke about how Rakuten is attempting to treat cancer with light and developing AI algorithms to accelerate drug discovery, harness biomarkers to accurately match patients to clinical trials, and truly personalize cancer therapy using only patient’s own data. In this talk, Dr Dabbeeru presented their approaches towards conquering cancer using AI.
Goda Ramkumar, the AVP, Data Science at Swiggy, also covered a session on how this large online food ordering platform uses AI to power decisions at each stage of the customer journey. The conference also hosted a session on Traffic 101 — “Why Does Traffic Matter In Routing?” The session was helmed by Pawan Kumar, the Head of Data Science & Analytics, Uber R&D India, where he spoke about how Uber has been improving their traffic prediction accuracy to enhance its routing, ETAs, and navigation.
Another interesting session was by a fintech expert — Sanjay Kar, the Head of Analytics at Equifax India. He spoke about Credit Scoring and the critical considerations for a balanced approach. Finally, covering the retail domain, Vijay Nair, Senior Director, Data Science & Analytics at Lowe’s Companies, highlighted the concept of personalisation and contextualisation in offline retail and how Lowe’s has been improving its customer engagement using machine learning.
The event also hosted exciting knowledge talks by academicians from IIT Delhi, IISc Bangalore, and the University of Tokyo, covering aspects like the importance of neuro-symbolic AI, mobile-friendly deep learning algorithms for medical image analysis, graph neural network, etc.
One of the major highlights of the conference was the panel discussion on the Rise of Intelligent Observability Platforms by industry thought leaders such as — Sankar Narayanan, the VP, Product & Engineering at Rakuten Group, Inc., Ramesh Narayanaswamy, the CTO of Aditya Birla Capital, Arif Khan, the Senior Engineer Director at Rakuten India, Shesh Vasudevamurthy, the Product Leader and Executive Coach, and Narendra Narayana, the COO, SVP Of Technology, Rakuten India.
Apart from providing unique and insightful content, Rakuten Product Conference — Applied AI provided attendees with an excellent opportunity to thoroughly network with the leading professionals from the fields of AI, analytics, and data science. RPC 2021 made this possible for attendees joined from across the globe.
Capping off the Rakuten Product Conference 2021 — Applied AI (RPC – Applied AI) was a closing statement from Hari Rao, the Senior Vice President, Engineering, Rakuten India, summarising the event and highlighting the key takeaways from the three tracks of the seminar — advances in AI, data science platform and analytics, and customer & product sciences. RPC – Applied AI concluded on a high note with great support from industry leaders, experts, and academicians.  
About Rakuten India Enterprise:
Rakuten India — the development centre and key technology hub of the Rakuten Group, Inc. — enables businesses with the depth of knowledge in multiple streams of technology such as mobile and web development, web analytics, platform development, backend engineering, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and much more. Its unique 24/7 support centre ensures the reliability and sustenance of the Rakuten Ecosystem. With dedicated centres of excellence for mobile application development, data analytics, engineering, DevOps, and information security, the company ensures the success of multiple units of Rakuten Group, Inc. With 1500+ employees and growing, Rakuten India is housed in Crimson House, Bangalore.
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