- Artificial intelligence is gaining popularity as companies such as Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft and Google increasingly invest in the technology
- For the retail sector, AI is becoming a necessity as businesses look to ease cost pressures while also improving a customer’s experience in-store
- One of the ASX-listed business operating in AI-based solutions within retail is ASX-listed Shekel Brainweigh, which owns advanced digital weight tech called ‘load cells’
- These load cells are integrated alongside the company’s own AI and machine learning software to create SBW’s Product Aware Technology, which has multiple applications
- Shares in Shekel Brainweigh are trading at 15 cents each at market open on October 19
Artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining increasing popularity in a number of different industries as some of the world’s biggest companies invest in the technology.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already heralded artificial intelligence as the backbone of its current and future products, dedicating the company’s recent AGM to AI.
Amazon also announced in late September a number of new AI products, while Google and Microsoft are well-advanced in developing AI-based tech.
For the retail sector, one of the companies offering cutting-edge AI-based solutions is the ASX-listed Shekel Brainweigh.
The company believes its suite of products is well-placed to serve the coming wave of AI-powered retail solutions needed within the sector.
Driving the change
The introduction of AI into the retail space is well underway, as companies try to reduce costs and drive efficiencies.
A 2020 report by Deloitte looked at the global retail sector and found among the factors driving change was a social transition.
It explained the value of human interaction at the point of sale has been diminished over time, prompting the need for different checkout systems.
Additionally, health and hygiene concerns are on the rise post-COVID-19, changing the way people pay as well as the time they spend in stores.
Not surprisingly, the report found 63 per cent of consumers surveyed stated convenience was key for grocery purchases.
It’s in this area that Deloitte highlighted Shekel Brainweigh for its inventory management solutions, which can help retailers provide consumers what they want, when they want it.
Full suite of products
The company specialises in scales, a business it’s been involved in since the early 1970s, offering electronic scales and weighing systems to customers across the globe.
Shekel Brainweigh also owns a suite of digital weighing technologies, along with advanced deep learning and artificial intelligence algorithms and models.
At the heart of the ASX-lister’s offering is its digital sensor tech, called a load cell, which can provide a quick and accurate weight for almost all products.
These load cells are then integrated alongside the aforementioned AI and machine learning software to create SBW’s Product Aware Technology.
Shekel Brainweigh’s Chief Technology Officer Guy Moshe explained the tech was so precise it could recognise whether a customer was trying to buy a Coke or a Coke Zero.
“Analysing big data of packed goods weights, we learned that there is variance, for example, between a Coke and Coke Zero,” Mr Moshe said.
“Based on its high-resolution patented sensors, SBW developed sophisticated statistical algorithms which generate a unique adaptive distribution per SKU, resulting in real-time, flexible and highly accurate product recognition technology.”
Leading AI in retail
The self-described game-changing tech has already been applied to the retail space, with SBW creating multiple products that can sense when a product is picked up or put down.
Among the Product Aware Technology offerings Shekel Brainweigh has available are the Product Aware Shelf and associated Product Aware Bay, the Innovendi vending machine hubz smart coolers and and Micro Market Capsule.
SBW’s Innovendi vending machine has already been deployed in more than 100 locations across Israel, including office and commercial buildings, transport hubs and medical offices.
Meanwhile, the Micro Market Capsule acts as a mini supermarket, combining multiple technologies that can be deployed at busy areas such as train stations, providing a frictionless shopping experience for consumers.
Customers simply walk into the store, swipe their card and grab what they want, with the ability to walk out without any human interaction or checkout slowing them down.
Two stores have already been opened in Paris, while another two are being set up in Israel and the US. The company is confident the idea will expand as convenience continues to alter the retail landscape.
For example, SBW explains its Product Aware Technology could be added to existing stores — allowing consumers the convenience of being able to continue to shop even after staff had gone home.
Specifically, this ATM-style fit out could sit at the front of convenience stores, allowing consumers to buy much-needed products after hours or at other convenient times.
A modern retail store could even be zoned, allowing for some products to be bought in quick, autonomous manner while other specific items would go through a traditional checkout process.
Commenting on how Shekel Brainweigh products fit into the future of retail, Mr Moshe said SBW’s range was scalable, enlightening and proven to work in multiple situations.
He added that other similar solutions, such as camera-based recognitions products, attracted higher prices and more technical challenges when compared to SBW’s range of products.
“Aside from privacy concerns, machine vision-based recognition solutions have built-in limitations such as concealments and varying lighting conditions,” Mr Moshe said.
“Adding cameras to improve performance requires significant compute efforts, making the solution expensive in terms of the running costs and creating new operation challenges for retailers, such as onboarding new products requiring pre-sets of lab photos and training time.
“In comparison, SBW’s solution is efficient, lean and cheap thus scalable.”
Given the increasing investment in AI, as well as the push to reduce costs, SBW is confident its established products are well-placed to ride the coming AI wave in retail.
Shares in Shekel Brainweigh opened Tuesday’s trading session at 15 cents each.