Brit brands Gymshark, Unilever are getting ‘appy with Google GenAI

Google Could Next London Keynote - GenAI

Following Google turning 25 years old, Google Cloud Next London took place at Tobacco Dock, with a string of new innovations budding from its UK customers.

The main buzz focused on, you guessed it, GenAI, with customers getting evermore creative in how they innovate using Google’s LLM tools, from new apps, conversational interfaces, cybersecurity enhancements and more. A flood of customer announcements have come from Gymshark, John Lewis, Oxa, BT Group, Unilever, and Formula E to name a few.

Google Cloud has also revealed that half of all GenAI startups headquartered in the UK are now customers and 70 percent of GenAI unicorns are now leveraging Google technology.

Its Vertex AI offering has seen a large uptake for GenAI projects, with Google reporting that since March this year, tens of thousands of developers have used over 100 AI models in the Vertex model gardens to build GenAI apps. Meanwhile, having launched over 300 new features in the last year, Duet AI has now reached over one million users.

So what kind of projects are we talking here?

Formula E starts chatting with fans

Formula E, the electric racing series, has announced it is collaborating with Google Cloud to develop a new conversational interface that will allow drivers to quickly see and analyze data on their performance. The team will hope to speed up its data handling and interpretation, as well as project timeframes. The interface will also provide fans with in-depth information on the tracks, vehicles and their favorite racers’ qualifying times.

Gymshark previews GenAI-powered personal trainer app

Gymshark has announced and showcased the prototype of its new personal fitness app powered by GenAI in collaboration with Google Cloud and Deloitte. The app intends to provide a virtual personal trainer that sits in your pocket, using GenAI text and code models and Gymshark contextual data to create personal training guidance for end users.

Next for Gymshark is to move onto the Google Cloud Platform to improve the quality of its data and eventually provide a highly personalized experience to customers, with elements such as informed product recommendations.

Ben Francis, CEO and Founder, Gymshark: “Much of our infrastructure has been sort of sticky-taped together, so it’s really important for us to work with Google to help us.

“It’s been absolutely massive for us because it’s so difficult for a company of our scale to lift off on the level of resource required to deliver what we want in the next few years. With all things that are new, we try to be as exploratory as we can, so with GenAI, we are in an exploratory phase.”

Unilever app to connect employees

Unilever has revealed it has partnered with Google Cloud and Accenture to launch the My Unilever app, an internal initiative that aims to connect 53,000 Unilever employees across the globe to deliver key Unilever systems, knowledge and learning, and enable a one-click entry to Google Workspace.

The app is designed to operate on Android and iOS systems and also utilizes AppSheet, Google’s no-code platform, as the main end-user interface. It hopes to give its employees a digital connection to their company, enabling a workspace to collaborate with colleagues and access the HR system and well-being programs.

Adam Raeburn-James, VP VMO and CTO at Unilever said: “The intention is that we can take out the bits of their lives at work that waste their time and give them this relationship with the company which drives better employee engagement and allows them to come to us.”

John Lewis buys into greater customer value

John Lewis has announced it is expanding its partnership with Google Cloud, in a move to cloud-native on Google Compute Engine. The retailer plans to use AI to further the creation of customer value.

David Hunt, CIO at John Lewis shared: “We started to take a bold step and say how can we move everything to the cloud as fast as possible. The key has been the ability to trust and work together over a long period, which we’ve definitely tested over the past six months. We’re only a short way into this, we’d like to move everything to the cloud and I think this will be an energizer to the organization, with AI, carrying our distinction and customer value to propel us into the future.”

Oxa drives digital twin and GenAI tech

Autonomous vehicle software developer, Oxa, gave an update on how its development projects are coming along with Google Cloud. Its Oxa MetaDriver tool was announced back in March, built using Google GenAI to generate synthetic scenes and scenarios based on real-world sensitive data collected from its vehicles and dramatically expand the datasets available for training and testing systems.

Both GenAI and digital twin technology with Google products have become vital tools for the business, shared Gavin Jackson, CEO at Oxa: “With AI and self-driving, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to actually do something brand new. To usher in a new type of mobility which is augmenting human-driven fleets with software. We are using Google Cloud extensively across every part of the business, and frankly, we couldn’t do without it.”

BT builds better cybersec

BT is to build on its existing collaboration with Google Cloud to support businesses in combating growing cybersecurity threats and supporting its AI and analytics development, using AI tools and Google Chronicle capabilities.

BT will work with Google Cloud to incorporate Mandiant solutions and trial Google’s Vertex AI and Duet AI capabilities. It follows as Google Cloud has now also announced that Duet AI in Mandiant Threat Intelligence, Duet AI in Chronicle Security Operations and Security Demand Center are all available in preview.

Harmeen Mehta, chief digital and innovation officer at BT Group, and non-exec director at Lloyds Banking Group said: “There’s an awful lot of data to be processed within BT, with just shy of 30 terabytes per second is what goes through our network at any point in time. So, there is a whole lot of management that we need to do. I think GenAI is really helping us unlock other aspects of data.

“I’m 100 percent in on Google Cloud. We’ve moved 80 percent of our data in the last 18 months and in the next few weeks, we are going to finish off the rest. I’ve put all my eggs in the Google basket, and I really hope you guys haven’t.”

The new way to cloud? From AI FOMO to best data practice

To fuel these customer developments, Google has been growing its ecosystem of GenAI partners over the past few months for a broad range of solutions, now including Capgemini, Deloitte, Wipro and AI21Labs collaborations to name a few.

It’s also been shared that developers are getting a leg up with the general availability of AlloyDB Omni, a downloadable edition of its AlloyDB for PostgreSQL, that will enable a containerized AlloyDB database engine to run on-premises, at the edge, across clouds or on developer laptops.

Lastly, for product news, Google Cloud Public Sector UK has launched, a new division dedicated to helping government departments and agencies across the UK to manage sensitive data.

Adaire Fox-Martin, president of Google Cloud Go to Market and head of Google Ireland said: “We call it the new way to cloud. GenAI is helping shape an even more productive community with our customers and partners. Fear of missing out has matured into sharing best practices.”