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Net-A-Porter tech hub receives royal visit

A British institution standing for tradition and protocol came face-to-face with the future of work and commerce in London on Wednesday, as Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, toured Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) Group’s new Tech Hub.

Opening in July 2017, the Tech Hub is part of the YNAP Group’s £1 billion investment in technology and operations and serves as a centre for digital expertise, employing over 500 technologists.

During the tour, YNAP Group founder and CEO Federico Marchetti showcased some of the e-commerce company’s latest innovations, including the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to personalise the Net-A-Porter homepage to each individual shopper.

The company brought the concept to life with prototypes for Their Royal Highnesses, featuring a curated selection of luxury fashion, fine jewellery and watches suitable for their upcoming engagements.

The prototypes showed how data such as weather, location, purchase history and more could, at a customer’s request, be used to recommend precisely the right products, services and content, creating the ultimate luxury shopping experience, all powered by AI.

“We wanted to share with Their Royal Highnesses a very human side of technology. Today, our guests had the opportunity to see how artificial intelligence can be about warmth, beauty and craftsmanship. There is nothing more human than the desire for uniqueness. One of the great advances of digital technology is the power to personalise products and services on a vast scale,” Marchetti said in a statement.

He also invited Their Royal Highnesses to participate in a coding session with more than 60 local schoolgirls, aged 11 to 13, as part of YNAP’s partnership with Imperial College London, highlighting the company’s commitment to developing the next generation of technology pioneers.

With women making up two-thirds of its overall workforce, Marchetti said the YNAP Group is focused on encouraging girls to consider a career in technology and to developing digital skills through the lens of fashion.

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