E-3 Magazine talked to ARpalus about what its solution has to offer, how it relates to existing SAP systems, and what’s next for the company.
What exactly does ARpalus offer?
ARpalus helps CPG companies and retailers optimize their in-store operations and product availability using real-time computer-vision on tablets and smartphones to monitor store availability issues such as missing products or out of stock planogram compliance. Let’s assume, for example, that a retail chain with 200 stores generates annual revenue of US$5 billion, and at any given time, there is a 5 percent out of stock (OoS). If this chain’s assortment is 40,000 SKUs, 5 percent means 2,000 SKUs that are constantly missing from the shelves. Let’s assume that this OoS problem leads to a 2 percent loss of sale; this translates to a huge loss of US$100M in potential revenues. At ARpalus, we believe that the unique combination of computer vision and augmented reality is key to a more efficient and automated retail space. Perfect retail execution eliminates manual or semi-manual methods that are commonly used today among CPGs and retailers. At first, we help our customers get visibility regarding the daily stores’ operations by the granularity of a shelf, category, SKU, store, or geographical location. This helps us better understand the trends inside the organization and to then generate recommendations. In a later stage, we generate recommendations directly to employees’ devices, based on data from nearby stores – all in real time.
How does your solution work?
ARpalus efficiently monitors shelf compliance issues using real-time computer vision uniquely fused with augmented reality. Using edge computing, we’ve created a cascade of hundreds of micro deep-neural networks that work together to deliver results within sub-seconds. These results are marked on top of the ‘real world’ using augmented reality and spatial awareness to instantly give the employees what they need. The clear visualization on edge devices helps the employees dealing with ever-growing workloads that need to be taken care of and coordinated.
What are the customer-side requirements?
We hardly need anything from our customers to start. The only thing we need is an updated product catalog with all the products the customers want us to integrate. Our technology then kicks off by rapidly adding all the SKUs into the system in an efficient and scalable way.
Why did you start ARpalus to begin with?
From day one, ARpalus launched products to help CPG companies and retailers solve critical in-store problems related to creating the best possible planograms and user experience. We’ve assembled a team built out of professionals from the AI, computer vision, and XR (extended reality) fields to solve a $1.8T problem of store availability. Working closely with our customers, our investors (Nielsen), and with the help of SAP and SAP.io professionals, we’ve crystalized our value proposition to perfectly fit some of the most critical problems physical retail is facing.
How could your solution potentially help customers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the different challenges of reopening?
Making employees’ health a number one priority is a key goal for any company amid COVID-19. BYOD (Bring your own device) is a slogan that really made an impact during these times, and we strongly embraced it. While most of the work in front of the shelves is manual and, in some cases, using the store’s devices, we’ve automated it and reduced the average time an employee stands in front of a shelf by 50 to 90 percent. Using the employees’ personal devices, we also keep them safe, without the need to touch multiple devices and products while conducting their work.
How has SAP.io’s involvement impacted your journey?
SAP.io’s team gave us a big push by connecting us to top SAP professionals and executives and putting us in front of clients. Their help was not only limited to the program but extends to now and beyond as well, as we are still talking with them and asking for their help from time to time.
What’s next for ARpalus?
ARpalus is focusing on making our retail solution simple and automated. Looking forward, our unique technology can be used to solve additional existing problems such as self-checkout. It may even disrupt the current paradigms of the computer vision industry as we know them today.