Hocking Xu, CEO & Co-Founder
Today, retail sector is striving to keep up with fast-changing customer-shopping habits and online retail trends. As the industry embraces the new technologies, issues related to accelerated integration of online and offline retail, additional data dimensions, fragmentized application scenarios, increasingly complex business patterns, and the reconstructed value of people, products and place are creating a ripple in the industry. Besides, retailers are confronted by massive quantities of data that multiply by the minute, across every function that affects various processes—demand planning, procurement and fulfillment. To overcome these challenges, retailers are largely reliant on disruptive artificial intelligence application, which has become a key element in the digitalization of in-store retail and creation of a more engaged business-to-consumer experiences.
One company making great strides in offering complete AI solutions for retail industry is Beijing-based AInnovation, a subsidiary of Sinovation Ventures. AInnovation was established in March 2018 with the mission of empowering businesses through AI. The company’s close ties to the Sinovation Ventures has helped them gain exceptional advantages in the AI industry, attracting over 300 technical and industry experts from top universities and leading companies in China and overseas. Operating under a two wheel-driven model of “technology and products” and “industry scenarios”, AInnovation cater their integrated AI solutions to various sectors from retail, manufacturing and finance to recognized industry lighthouse customers.
AInnovation’s products and solutions leverage cutting-edge AI technologies to improve the business efficiency of enterprise customers and partners thereby enhancing their value and helping them harness the potential of digital transformation. Hocking Xu, CEO at AInnovation, said that AInnovation aims to empower the retail industry with an idea of “The Whole Value Chain” that is to augment the entire industry around “people, product and place combined with R&D, manufacturing, marketing and operation,” and covers the front, middle and back offices with products and solutions integrating both software and hardware.
To provide the best retail experience to a customer, AInnovation offers Shelf Intelligence solution that integrates computer vision technology and machine learning to achieve digitization of all data in a “place.”
AInnovation aims to empower the retail industry with an idea of “The Whole Value Chain” that is to augment the entire industry around “people, product and place combined with R&D, manufacturing, marketing and operation,” and covers the front, middle and back offices with products and solutions integrating both software and hardware
Shelf Intelligence products can monitor shelves through image recognition in multi-scene scenarios, and carry out customized KPI analysis according to customers’ business needs to realize overall shelf monitoring.
The company’s wide array of intelligent solutions for improving customer experience also includes Smart Vending Machine, which is embedded with computer vision-based technology. The company’s top-tier computer vision experts provide sophisticated computer vision and pattern recognition solutions for their partners by applying world-leading image classification algorithms and advanced detection and positioning technology to massive SKU databases for quick SKU modeling.
Hocking cites a case study of a well-known shopping mall chain in China that wanted to provide a superior and convenient shopping experience for consumers as the trend of consumption upgrading gathers momentum. With the Smart Vending Machine, the shopping mall efficiently capitalized on spare location resources, reduced labor costs, and improved operation efficiency. “The Smart Vending Machine solution delivers a brand-new shopping experience for consumers through a simplified shopping process and smart recommendation through AI technology,” says Hocking.
From the marketing and operation side, Smart Recommendation System is designed to offer real-time personalized recommendations for customers using deep reinforcement learning algorithms. Accompanying it is the company’s Smart Supply Chain management solution, which allows them to maximize customer value and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage in multiple scenarios along the supply chain.
For the road ahead, AInnovation aims to solve the pain points around retail AI infrastructure, big data, and the leadership mindset for innovations. This alludes to the company’s idea of the whole value chain. AInnovation can then build or help customers design a unified and standardized data structure to view AI empowered system. Also, in line with this vision, AInnovation is conducting leadership training to help them understand AI’s role in the transformation of the retail industry, improve their business from both the ROI as well as strategic development sides. “We are pushing the leaderships of the retail industry to the next level to benefit from AI,” says Hocking.