Pensa Unveils Breakthrough Technology to Automate Retail Inventory Visibility

Company uses advanced computer vision, artificial intelligence and autonomous drones to see and understand what’s on store shelves; Partners with Anheuser-Busch InBev to demonstrate technology in the Intel booth (#3437) at National Retail Federation’s annual expo

Pensa Systems, a leading innovator in autonomous perception systems, will demonstrate its new retail inventory visibility system for the first time at the NRF 2019: Retail's Big Show. Aimed squarely at eliminating the retail industry's one trillion-dollar blind spot(1) around in-store inventory, Pensa's system is designed to inform retailers and brands of what is actually on shelves - across all stores, everywhere, at any point in time.


Inventory visibility is an age-old problem for brands and retailers, and it is only getting worse as e-commerce and physical store shopping combine. Industry studies(2) report nearly one in 10 items as missing on the shelf or misplaced, leading to lost revenue, dissatisfied customers or excess inventory.

Pensa's breakthrough approach uses computer vision to "see," patent-pending artificial intelligence to learn, analyze and conclude, as well as agile, autonomous drones as roving eyes to automate high value visual tasks for the first time. Pensa is the first company to deliver a broadly scalable system that provides complete, real-time and actionable data and insights, enabling CPG brands and retailers to automatically and systematically track in-store inventory.

"You can't sell what you don't have on the shelf. In-store inventory visibility remains a giant black hole for the retail supply chain," said Richard Schwartz, president and CEO of Pensa Systems. "Retailers and brand manufacturers have tried all combinations of robots, cameras and smart shelving, but these solutions are too expensive, inaccurate and brittle. Pensa addresses this problem differently. By combining AI smarts in the cloud with inexpensive drones for remote data collection, we have created a scalable solution that can break the logjam."

At NRF 2019, Pensa is demonstrating its autonomous perception system at a mocked-up retail store in the Intel booth (#3437). Pensa's system, utilizing Intel in-store edge servers with Intel architecture to power the analytics, will be featured as part of Intel's future of retail showcase, further highlighting the importance of real-time insights and how smart analytics can digitally transform stores. Pensa's autonomous drone rapidly scans and automatically senses shelf conditions in the beer section of that store with high accuracy. It then reaches conclusions and makes predictions about stockouts and other conditions for sale. Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) — which is a Pensa customer and strategic investor through its ZX Ventures growth and innovation unit — has partnered with Pensa on the demonstration, which is based on a real-world pilot with AB InBev.

Field-tested with major CPG brands and retailers

Pensa has performed multiple live trials of its system, working with major CPG brands and retailers. The system has been piloted in multiple countries on multiple product categories and SKU formats in a variety of shelf conditions, including dry shelf as well as open and closed-air coolers. With minimal changes or integration required at retail locations, the system can scale quickly across stores and product categories, so brands and retailers can minimize stockouts, optimize product planning and increase revenues.

Pensa recently completed a successful pilot of its new inventory visibility system with global beverage company AB InBev in the heavily trafficked store of retail partner IGA Extra Beck in Montreal, Canada. With less than 90 minutes of set-up time, Pensa's drone-based system collected hourly and daily data on out-of-stocks and real share-of-shelf within the beer section. Over a period of two weeks, Pensa's system scanned dry shelves and coolers with multiple product types (i.e., cans, bottles, packs), capturing 15.9M SKU images during 200 flights (totaling 2 miles of travel), with its continuously learning accuracy already reaching 98 percent for out-of-stock detection.

"Retail out-of-stocks represent a significant challenge for CPG companies and their retail partners, as they can lead to millions of dollars in lost sales," said Andrew Green, Global Director of Innovation at AB InBev. "We are very enthusiastic about Pensa's novel approach to retail inventory visibility and look forward to testing it in further commercial environments."

"Any solution that can help us maintain store integrity and ensure we don't have out-of-stocks provides the competitive advantage we need," said Todd Beck, owner, IGA Extra Beck. "The ability to learn about a potential out-of-stock situation hours ahead of when our manual systems might notify us represents an opportunity to drive incremental sales and make customers happier in the process. The immediate feedback we can get from the Pensa system can offer tremendous value to our business."

NRF Big Show attendees can visit Pensa Systems in the Intel booth (#3437) to view a demo and learn more about how the company's new approach can enable retailers and CPG brands to improve inventory visibility, boost revenues and increase profitability.

About Pensa Systems
Pensa is a leading innovator in autonomous perception systems for retail inventory visibility. Its system uses breakthrough technology - including artificial intelligence, autonomous drones and computer vision - to see and understand what's on store shelves, providing crucial data to minimize stockouts, optimize product planning, and boost revenues and profitability. Pensa partners with top retailers and CPG brands globally to address a trillion-dollar "blind spot" at a critical time for the retail industry. Please visit http://www.pensasystems.com to learn more, and stay connected via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Footnotes
(1) https://www.retaildive.com/news/out-of-stocks-could-be-costing-retailers-1t/526327/
(2) https://www.nacds.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Retail-Out-of-Stock-Reduction.pdf https://www.supermarketnews.com/online-retail/reducing-online-out-stocks-critical-retailers-says-gma-study

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