“AI and decentralization will drive a huge, worldwide revolution”

Posted Leave a commentPosted in AI, Retail, Technology

Alex Isaiev of OSA DS thinks AI can change retail, for good: “empowering smart consumers, providing them with the possibility to make conscious and educated purchase decisions, while revolutionising retail itself”

Alex Isaiev is co-founder and CEO of OSA Decentralized, an AI-driven big data platform with blockchain functionality. He explains that his company ”provides services for consumer product consumers, retailers and manufacturers in real-time, improving inefficient processes in retail, and solving a major problem woth global retail – product availability, which is costing businesses $400B a year. An AI engine analyzes big data from more than 100 sources in real time, finds uncertain dependencies, recognises anomalies and manages actions to improve inefficiencies at the store and supply chain. OSA DC also creates a Global Product catalog, enriched by ingredients data, an image recognition model and product ratings. Important data is secured by blockchain. Decentralized processes are managed by smart contracts. OSA DC has started development of AI-driven digital assistant for Consumers and Business. Key stakeholders get the following benefits:

Who are your biggest influences?

My biggest influence come from: Consumers, AI and Mother Earth. We are all consumers. Our children, our Families, our friends. All of them – all of us – are consumers.

What is your professional vision?

“Decentralized AI-driven digital assistant, powered by smart contracts and based on blockchain. We call it Responsible AI. We bring retail 3.0: empowering smart consumers, providing them with the possibility to make conscious and educated purchase decisions, while revolutionizing retail itself through AI, big data and blockchain technologies.

We will combine consumption data with health care data and create Responsible AI which will find the

causes of thousands of diseases. Then OSA AI will prescribe a personalized diet for consumers in order to keep them healthy.

Today, consumer product retail is like the Internet without Google and Booking.com. We are creating a retail Google to help find products, and a retail booking.com to find ratings for those products.

How do you keep up with new technologies and innovation?

We permanently improve our AI engine, as well as big data platform. Our data scientists periodically work at the stores or warehouses, in order to get the best business understanding, and have the business people study machine learning. We engaged into our board one of the leading brains in AI form Carnegie Menlo University, NY University, Caltech, and Oregon University to further develop sophisticated solutions. We are opening a Data Science laboratories managed by our AI advisory board to develop new ML language (to be Based in Moscow-Kiev), Text Mining and NLP (St. Pete) and Responsible AI (California).

How do you solve common problems in your field?

Increase sales by improving product availability on store-shelves in real time. The process is: collect big data – clean data – enrich data – analyze data – create AI engine – find anomalies – prescribe actions in retail – control actions – improve situation.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

It was in one of Brian Tracy’s books: “All is temporary. All things will disappear.  And one thing will stay. This is the thing which was done with LOVE.” And our mantra is: “AVANTI CON AMORE” (GO FORWARD WITH LOVE.)

What is still your biggest challenge?

My personal challenge and our company’s challenge is to keep focus on ONE THING. We have found the gold in real time analytics, as well as build the skills to pass Death Valley (distance between genius Data Scientist and real business to create applicable solution). This gives us capability to create solutions for many issues in consumer product retail and it’s hard to stay focused on our core mission.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

A) Genius data scientist is not equal to applicable solution

B) Flat structure does not work for all high performing people. We are building a flat structure in the company (no presidents, no directors). When we announced that, most of our employees were glad to hear that. But practice showed that a minority is ready to perform well in flat structure. It requires a high level of consciousness of all employees, high level of self-motivation. And to build a flat structure takes lot of effort from my side, and requires considerable time.

C) Strategic plans and long-term planning died in our days. Agile supported by intuition, drives success. We are living in very fast changing environment.

Where do you see the future of your field, and yourself in it?

AI and decentralization are two forces which will drive a huge, worldwide revolution. We are at an early stage of this wave, and it will take many years to change our lives dramatically. AI creates big value for humanity, and will allow to build societies with unconditional income. Decentralization will create an imminent power by uniting people, companies, and consumers. This power is much stronger than any existing big corporation. We have two missions (same as my personal ones): To create a responsible AI, which cares about the planet and consumers’ health, and shares the value in a positive way; and to combine the consumption data with health care data, then use responsible AI to find uncertain dependencies which were not known before, which in turn will help us provide a prescription for each individual consumer to care for their health and quality and longevity of life.

What’s next for you?

Decentralization. We are turning our existing big data platform into a decentralized solution to unite various parties around the globe which are currently disconnected – data providers, data scientists, IT developers, computation power providers, consumers, manufacturers, and others. We do that by uniting the forces of great minds around the planet, to unite billions of consumers to create consumer power, to empower a smart consumer.

Please fill in the blank: The Future of Retail Design Is ….

Current retail has no future. Now is the time of platforms (Amazon, Alibaba, etc.) The future method of consumption needs satisfaction – a personal digital assistant powered by AI. We call it cross-platform AI.

“So far nobody cracked what an ultimate store should be like”

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Retail

Sefi Gabay of SEBO a customer experience consulting firm feels at the epicenter of a retail coup: “The distribution revolution will connect everything – autonomous cars, drones, what a warehouse looks like and the way people shop

Sefi Gabay is senior partner at SEBO, a company that specializes in research, consulting, and design of customer experience in commercial spaces. Among SEBO’s clients are Unilever, Nestle, Henkel, Nesperesso, James Richardson Duty Free, and Ahava.

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you value in your field? Who inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

“I’m a student of Paco Underhill, he’s both my spiritual guide and my teacher, and he is a member of the board of my startup. When it comes to retail, he’s the leading global “guru”, who developed what we call the shopping science. His book, Why We Buy, is in the syllabus courses in  the best universities. This book changed my life, it got me and my business partner Boaz Yariv acquainted with this field, and that’s how we started working in it. We’ve conducted similar research of our own, and when we realized Paco Underhill had already done it and modeled it, we started studying him, invited him to Israel met with him, and he’s became my main inspiration.”

What is your professional vision?

“Ourcompany’s professional vision is to change the face of retail so as to provide the easiest, most pleasant, fun and worthwhile experience for the shopper. Retailers often act based on an internal perspective rather than the perspective of what’s good for the shopper. Our vision is to turn shopping into a shopper-oriented process.” 

How do you approach a new project? 

“Basically, anything you do, someone else has already done. It doesn’t mean you can’t redo it or improve upon it. Especially if it’s here in Israel, which is different  than other countries in the sense that it’s a great market for pilot programs and  experiments. It  has a small population over a small area, which means logistics is  cheap, everybody knows everybody and it’s easy to get to decision makers.

We conduct worldwide cross-sectional studies, gather information on what has already been done, and then we try to improve on it. We strive to gather multidisciplinary information when we encounter local, unique, fundamental problems that we need to crack.

For example, the lines at the Ben Gurion Airport duty-free shops. We identified a unique set of problems, that only exist here in Israel, that stem from a regulation that mandates displaying your passport, giving a flight number, etc., at the cash register . This ,means that  Oonce you get to the cash register, you may encounter between thirty and sixty problems, which are very hard to predict. So you need to change the entire system, not just the cash register.

Another example is a large soft drink company, which told us the retailers are losing on it’s combo deal where they give you a discount on any purchase of food and one of the company’s beverages. In such cases we’ll usually try to offer a solution from a different discipline. For example, we had an alcoholic drinks project, where we were asked to predict the effects of the alcohol reform in Israel  on the amount of new alcohol businesses that will pop-up. In order to make such a prediction, we borrowed a gravitational model from physics. This model measures the gravitational force of a certain interest point in a crowd. We built a model that amazingly and accurately predicted what would happen to the market. We predicted the growth factor would be pi, which is a crazy answer.

We know that cities grow in a circular manner – you start with the center, and then when people recede from the center, they organize themselves within a minimal distance from it, so they’re in fact creating a circle. We found a direct connection between physical math and population distribution.

When you have a problem, a lot of people from your field already took a crack at it, and the only way you can solve it is with tools nobody else used, and that’s not just me saying it, it’s Albert Einstein. When you approach the problem from a different angle, that’s your chance to do disruptive things.”

How do you keep up with new technologies and innovation?

“We don’t really care for conferences. We read a lot. Lots of Linkedin. Over the years, I’ve collected a list of excellent, trusted information publishers, and the best, most up to date, coolest information I get is from them. Whatever makes its way to the trades is already out of date. I have to keep up with the source, that’s where everything happens. My business partner must have read at least ten thousand papers.

Going over 60-100 papers is basic in order to conduct the kind of research we need to undertake. But you have to know how to read papers, or else you have no chance of ever finishing them.”

 Where do you see the future of your field, and yourself in it?

“Our future is very unclear in a very interesting way. Retail is where everything’s at. Paco Underhill says retail undergoes a revolution once every 50 years on average.  We’re in the midst of two crazy revolutions – the information revolution; the Internet and the distribution revolution, a much more serious one, as it will connect everything – autonomous cars, drones, logistics, what a warehouse looks like, multiple product return points and the way people shop.

The shopping and distribution of commodities are about to change. You will no longer need to deal with repeat-purchases, like bread and milk, which constitutes 70% of shopping. The interesting game will move on to the special items, to things that require experience, to luxury, hobbies, areas with stronger shopper-involvement. We’re currently trying to figure out how to design the current shop, which is already a future shop. So far, nobody cracked what tha  ultimate shop should look like, one that’ll make you want to shop in it. We’re taking part in a race to organize and build the new shopping experience. It involves a lot of digital, full connectivity, multiple point control, content. The second thing is to understand how the shopper changed. The third thing is to predict the future – how all of the technologies will combine holistically.

Retailers have invested way too much in growing and way too little in adapting to the changing shopper. The way shops are organized can change their revenue by 40-50%. But retailers would rather shut down shops than re-plan them, because such planning costs money.”

 What’s the best advice you ever received?

“I’ll tell you the best compliment I got: Paco said, ‘I’ve never seen such a great partnership.’ The best compliment and advice was to keep up this partnership.”

 The Future of Retail Design Is…

“…understanding the shopper.”

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