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Avnet Unveils ‘Ask Avnet’ Industry’s First AI-to-Human Digital Platform

Customers invited to beta test for streamlined information access; new tool designed to accelerate time to market for new technology solutions

PHOENIX – July 12, 2017 – Avnet (NYSE: AVT), a leading global technology distributor, today unveiled Ask Avnet, the industry’s first digital platform that integrates artificial intelligence (AI) and industry expertise on demand to help a wide range of customers, including engineers, procurement specialists and professional makers, find the critical insights and information they need daily to bring their technology solutions to market.

 Designed to connect customers to the product design and development knowledge they need, the Ask Avnet automated assistant gathers information quickly and easily, navigating users across Avnet’s web-based ecosystem, including: Avnet.comelement14.com and Hackster.io. In addition, Ask Avnet will soon be expanded to include MakerSource.io this month and PremierFarnell.com in the coming months. To help locate desired information, Ask Avnet is a proactive tool that leverages artificial intelligence to help anticipate a customer’s next move and provide them with the best answer, rather than a list of all possible answers, while also facilitating interactive discussions. Ask Avnet underscores Avnet’s focus on creating differentiated offerings that put the company at the forefront of the digital transformation, serving up the entire technology supply chain for its diverse customer base.

Ask Avnet is now available to Avnet customers for beta testing. To participate, customers can visit http://avnet.me/AskAvnet to learn more about the tool and register. Once registration is confirmed, customers can test drive the new platform and provide feedback, which will be used to strengthen the platform prior to its general release this fall. 

By streamlining the customer experience through a combination of artificial intelligence and direct interface with Avnet experts, Ask Avnet aims to shorten the amount of time it takes for Avnet customers to access information, thereby increasing the number of projects delivered on time. Those using Ask Avnet will initially interact with an automated assistant for fast answers to everyday questions related to a components search or product design. In cases where a specialist is best suited to support the customer, Ask Avnet can immediately connect the user to the appropriate Avnet expert. Through beta testing, customers’ interactions will have the effect of building further intelligence into the system. 

“As consumers, we are all very accustomed to accessing information on demand. Ask Avnet will bring that same dynamic to the electronics supply chain. Initial feedback from select customers and industry partners has been positive, and we invite engineers, makers and procurement specialists to test drive Ask Avnet to take advantage of its benefits and help improve this sophisticated tool,” said Kevin Yapp, senior vice president, digital transformation, Avnet. “Ask Avnet provides on-demand assistance that helps navigate Avnet’s ecosystem and move seamlessly through the technology product lifecycle, from prototype through mass production.”

One of the advantages of this kind of artificial intelligence or AI technology is that it constantly “learns” and improves the user experience. Each time the technology is used, it creates information by which the tool improves itself. Ask Avnet provides Avnet with a platform to better anticipate customers’ needs and therefore will continually improve their user experience which is transformative as well as a unique differentiator in the distribution industry.

Avnet’s acquisition of both Premier Farnell and Hackster in 2016 expanded the company’s reach to more than two million customers and an active community of more than 600,000 entrepreneurs, makers and engineers. MakerSource is an online resource directory developed by Avnet that provides innovators, service providers and technical experts with a forum to seek, as well as offer, support at each stage of the product lifecycle.

To join the Ask Avnet beta user community, please visit http://avnet.me/AskAvnet to register and request access.

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