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Shekel Brainweigh (ASX:SBW): paving the way for Australia’s retail revolution
The Capsule. Source: Shekel Brainweigh.
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  • Shekel Brainweigh (SBW) owns a portfolio of advanced weighing systems which, using deep learning and artificial intelligence, have the ability to transform the 21st century retail experience
  • Where Shekel is really poised to excel, however, is in its relationship with Intel — the $240 billion giant that’s become synonymous with innovation
  • As a gold-standard participant under Intel’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) program, Shekel has unprecedented "storefront" access to a range of Intel’s capabilities
  • Those capabilities can be used to bring Shekel's more advanced products — like the Capsule, the Innovendi and the Product Aware Shelf — to market
  • A report by McKinsey on the impact of automation in the retail sector argued that "the longer companies wait to respond, the higher the risk they will not be able to catch up"
  • By that logic, surely those companies leading the charge — like Shekel Brainweigh — would stand to not just weather the coming changes, but prosper immensely
  • Shares in Shekel Brainweigh have ended Thursday trading up 11.1 per cent at 15 cents per share

Since the start of recorded human history, the ability to trade goods and services has been the backbone of our survival.

Over the course of that period, however, the way in which it operates has remained largely unchanged.

It’s always involved people: a representative of the buying side and a representative of the seller, between which some sort of consideration — either currency or another type of good — is exchanged.

But, as with a lot of things now, that history-spanning era of stagnation is coming to a close.

More and more of our core industries — previously built on the abilities only afforded to human beings — are being digitised.

We have cars capable of driving themselves, factories operating almost entirely with robotics, banks with no tellers.

By all accounts, the retail sector is next.

And it’s not some pipe dream. This coming retail shift is driven by a host of external factors typical of a world that’s becoming more technologically dependent.

There are higher costs brought on by the need to manage e-commerce supply chains, increased investments to keep up with the competition, suppliers pushing inflated prices for raw materials, and steadily rising labour costs.

Of course, the advent of automated checkouts at shopping centres went part way to addressing these issues, but some companies are looking to take it much further.

Predictably, Amazon has already established itself as an early disrupter with its Amazon Go retail concept.

As of March this year, the Seattle-based behemoth operates 27 of these stores in United States, with another three in the United Kingdom.

That said, they’re not the only one making moves in the evolving retail sector.

Shekel Brainweigh (SBW) owns an intellectual property portfolio of advanced weighing systems which, using deep learning and artificial intelligence, have the ability to transform the 21st century retail experience.

Its underlying technology forms the basis for a suite of other products designed to meet and address current challenges, including store automation and issues related to operational efficiency, like problems brought on by understocking and overstocking.

Where Shekel is really poised to excel, however, is in its relationship with Intel — the $240 billion giant that’s become synonymous with innovation.

Selected as a gold-standard participant under Intel’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) program, Shekel has unprecedented "storefront" access to a range of Intel’s capabilities, including parts and lead generation tools.

With the backing of such a well-established global player, Shekel is in pole position to bring its more advanced products — like the Capsule, the Innovendi and the Product Aware Shelf — to market.

The Capsule — an autonomous micro-market that launched in October last year — was recently recognised by Intel in a white paper as part of its Open Retail Initiative (ORI), which Shekel joined in 2019.

While only one of these micro-markets exists — at the Casino MonoPrix in Paris — it was deemed by Intel to be one of the most cost-effective and scalable technologies that will inevitably play a pivotal role in the process of retail digitisation.

"We are very pleased with this recognition from Intel for our Product Aware Technology and its central role in any autonomous store solution," Shekel’s Retail Innovation Division's Head of Business Development Rami Bahar said.

"Our team has been working with Intel's IoT Group and Hitachi Vantara for more than a year now to develop the Capsule — our scalable autonomous store concept, powered by our Product Aware Technology, Hitachi's LiDAR sensors and Intel's edge computing," he added.

The Innovendi — Shekel’s take on the traditional vending machine — has also made it onto Intel’s innovation radar. 

Like vending machines, the Innovendi houses a selection of products for sale, but that’s more or less where the similarities end.

In addition to recording all transactions in real-time communication with the machine’s operator, product identification, product position, replenishment plans and suggested pricing are also accomplished through the use of IoT platforms and predictive analysis.

"We are proud to be recognised once again by Intel as one of the world’s top technology providers that are contributing to the accelerated advancement of the digitisation in the global retail sector ecosystem as part of the ORI," Shekel’s CEO and Executive Chairman Arik Schor said.

"We continue to collaborate with leading technology and retail and providers from around the world as part of this initiative to develop and seamlessly deploy state of the art IoT AI technologies that address growing customer trends and support retailers’ business objectives and growth," he added.

The compact, fully autonomous nature of the Capsule and Innovendi products means that they’re well-suited to the hustle and bustle of major cities — a massive advantage with reopening economies around the world that are roaring back to life from shutdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But perhaps where Shekel’s biggest opportunity lies is in its Product Aware Shelf.

By deploying IoT Load Sensors, advanced on-shelf electronics, and embedded software and AI algorithms, these shelves provide highly accurate data that tracks all aspects of product information: when a product is added or taken away, how many products are left and when new products need to be ordered.

More importantly, the applications of the Product Aware Shelf are not confined to Shekel-specific purposes.

The shelves can be retrofitted to existing marketplaces, meaning that supermarkets and shopping centres can deploy the technology within existing stores, thereby opening Shekel’s technology up to the whole of the smart retail market that’s expected to hit US$38.5 billion (roughly A$49.74 billion) by 2023.

A report published by McKinsey in 2019 on the impact of automation in the retail sector argued that "the longer companies wait to respond, the higher the risk they will not be able to catch up," and that those who survive will need to understand the implications and act quickly to address them.

By that logic, surely those companies leading the charge — like Shekel Brainweigh — would stand to not just weather the coming changes, but prosper immensely.

Shares in Shekel Brainweigh have ended Thursday trading up 11.1 per cent at 15 cents per share.

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