Indivd’s integrity-friendly face recognition tool can revolutionize retail
The AI startup has developed the world’s first legal anonymization technology for image data, based on face recognition via existing cameras in the stores.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
May 27, 2021
Victor Molen is a ” self-made” series entrepreneur with a sales background within digital services, B2B, and digitalization of retail. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Indivd and compares the tool with e-commerce, providing physical retail with all sorts of data needed to make the right and rational decisions.
— I’m passionate about game changing solutions that change markets. Based on this delivery of new insights, we are also building an entire ecosystem, so that physical retail can seriously address the fight against and together with e-commerce.
Your technology is patented and called Indivd-X and you describe it as completely anonymous. How does it work?
— We do not save any personal data about individuals. So what we can actually do is to see patterns or behaviors in the store for certain subgroups, target groups, or zones in the physical space. For the past three years, our AI specialists have been training the algorithm on behaviors from both real and synthetic data from the store. This means that we can offer physical retail all the insights they need to build more attractive experiences for their visitors and this with great accuracy.
Let’s talk about integrity, how do you keep the customers anonymous?
— It is very easy to explain, as long as you do not go into technical details. We choose to focus on groups of individuals and not on individuals. Despite this, we can still create a good idea of how individuals move, prioritize, and convert in the stores. This is what is interesting if you want to make a change.
The stores in Indivd’s home country Sweden have remained open during the pandemic and they’ve teamed up with retailer Best of Brands outside of Stockholm for a first pilot.
— Together, we’ve developed a case where they have certain issues regarding the flow, their primary target group, and which brands have the most impact. We have been able to test our technology, how we apply it to already installed infrastructure, and also to make sure that everything technically goes according to plan, tells Molen, continuing,
— We have achieved great things in this project when it comes to the technical challenges. It might have been desirable for us to be able to deliver the requested insights faster than what happened. But our big challenge has been that the insights take time to create and shape to become reliable. However, this is a challenge that only needs to be overcome once, the first time, when the insights are developed.
What feedback have you received from Best of Brands?
— They have worked closely with us throughout the process and have discovered that there is an extremely great need for the insights we can provide for the entire retail ecosystems. Until today, there is no technology or insights you really can rely on, so they’ve been very positive about us, both before but also during the entire time the pilot itself has been going on.
When looking at news broadcasts from retail stores in, for example, China or Russia, they seem to be so far ahead when it comes to in-store camera surveillance, monitoring customer behaviour, and so forth. Yet, you claim to be industry-first with your technology, so what’s the difference?
— The big difference is that we are, as far as we know, the only technology that can make it anonymous and privacy-friendly. It is a completely new and revolutionary technology that we have therefore also been able to patent. There is no one today who has received regulatory approval within the GDPR. All over the world — including in China and Russia — individual consumers, organizations, politicians, and government agencies are beginning to realize the need to protect the integrity of people in the private and commercial sectors. The EU has shown the way with its strict GDPR rules.
Indivd recently secured a new investment and Molen tells how this will bring them even closer to the market.
— The development and marketing work that we have carried out over the past almost four years It is extremely complex. We’ve built up a global development team and solved difficult AI and technical challenges, at the same time as we have developed our tools in close collaboration with the Swedish retail industry. This is probably also why no other player, so far, has been able to implement such a generous initiative.
What else do you have coming?
— We are constantly looking for new pilots to test the technology, both in existing and in new global markets. We will soon present 2-3 new pilots in Sweden and internationally. If all goes well and according to plan, we will launch our technical platform commercially already this autumn in connection with the implementation of a new investment round — good to know for anyone interested, Molen concludes.