On November 14th, WeBank and BBK group officially announced that they established the Retail & AI Joint Laboratory. Through AI Visual Analysis, Machine Learning, federated learning and other technologies, they will break through the difficulties of traditional retail industries to help the increase of the economic growth. Qiang Yang, the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, and Tian Wang, the founder and CEO of the BBK group, inaugurated the joint-laboratory. Tianjian Chen, deputy general manager and Xiong Pen, Senior Vice President of BBK group and CEO of smart retail, signed the MoU.

Qiang Yang, the Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer (Left) and Tian Wang, the founder and CEO of the BBK group, inaugurated the joint-laboratory.

Under the background of the demographic dividend disappearing and consumption upgrade, the traditional retail industries are facing the great challenge of slowing growth and hard increase. Specific to the actual business, it is a high cost of labor, goods high consumption, complex data sample, non-standardization of goods management and other problems. Digital upgrades driven by artificial intelligence technology may be a good way to break the dilemma of the traditional retail industry.

It was reported that AI retail is the starting point of this cooperation. The two parties will collaboratively carry out a solution for the smart operation of AI retail, which consists of three core parts: smart labor, smart operation analysis, popular products forecast. By introducing Fintech into the scenario of retail and business, they build the industry benchmark of smart retail. Before signing the MoU, WeBank and BBK group has conducted the cooperation in the field of smart AI operation. Focusing on the issues of high cost, low efficiency,and slow growth in the retail industry, they will address issues of high labor cost, the difficulty in transferring experience, and inaccuracy of sales forecasting in traditional retail approach by combining multiple AI technologies,such as smart labor management,AI visualization Analysis, and feature engineering. It can further improve profits, which is a creative step of the upgrade and revolution in the retail industry.

For the example of smart labor in the retail AI solution, the labor smart management engine based on the AI technology can help companies to know exactly the skills required of all positions to improve the staff production efficiency. The Senior Vice President of BBK group and CEO of smart retail, Xiong Pen introduce that it will improve 50% of efficiency in the cashier position. Meanwhile, the engine can match the employee’s spare time with the position with little manpower to realize the smart labor across the position. Until now, 80% of the jobs have been filled by intelligent workers, who have matched their skills and time perfectly in real-time to greatly increase the utilization rate of effective working hours.

The deputy general manager of the WeBank AI department, Tianjian Chen said: according to the data, in the last month, BBK group has indirectly saved the labor cost of 3,327 days through smart labor, which demonstrates a noticeable effect on reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency. As for the aspect of the application, smart labor successfully solves the pain point of the retail industry, such as the high cost of manpower, idle hand. In the terms of theoretical research, the AI smart labor paper jointly submitted by WeBank AI, Nanyang Technological University and BBK group, also won the annual innovation award in the 28th international joint artificial intelligence conference (IJAI 2019). From academic research to industry implementation, smart labor- a new method of digitizing manpower- is playing a demonstrative role on the integration of production-study-research, accelerating the implementation of AI technology in more retail scenarios and promoting the comprehensive arrival of smart retail.

In the future, the two parties will jointly establish a labor platform for brick-and-mortar retailers to apply federated learning to realize the best match of source and group intelligence sharing by talent network. The standardization of behavior and performance form the digitization of credit and ability, which greatly improves human efficiency at last. The retail AI joint-Laboratory of WeBank and BBK group will create a new path of the digital upgrade of retail.

playing an important role in the AI field, WeBank expresses that it will continue to act as a facilitator in the future. As with the BBK group to create a smart AI solution of smart labor. WeBank will continue to devote time and effort on fundamental capability and industry solutions, keep open and work with cooperators to create more new products, new functions and new solutions to help the retail industry become comprehensive intelligence.