Jason DeRienzo, Chief Revenue Officer- Vision Group, sits down with us to discuss the importance of Autonomous Retail, AI-Image Recognition and the upcoming NAMA, National Automatic Merchandising Association, conference in Atlanta May 10-12.
Jason, it’s been a while since we connected. What’s happening at the Vision Group?
I’ve been in the CPG industry for longer than I would like to admit, however, I have not seen the type of interest and adoption for technology as I see now. Specifically, AI and AI-Image Recognition. We have clients coming out of the woodwork trying to understand how our services can help them gain new insights, work smarter and be more efficient. It’s hard for companies in the CPG industry, at least those that connect with us, to find people that understand what’s happening at retail.
You are seeing a change how the CPG industry adopts new technology?
The CPG industry has traditionally been slow to adopt technology. The industry has been an “order, ship, merchandise, sell” model for generations. It seems that the complexity of store level planograms, omnichannel initiatives and unprecedented item innovation are making it harder for brands to advise on assortment, execute new items and analyze what’s working. Beyond the analytics, everyone is finding it harder to hire people to execute a retail.
Technology is the way to overcome these challenges. AI is a hot topic right now with chatGPT and Tesla. The Vision Group is getting looped into this conversation.
We know that Vision Group is known for AI-Image Recognition with tools like store360 and PDFToPOG, what else is the company working on?
One of the areas we are getting significant interest in is our InstaGNG and VisionIOT businesses. These businesses leverage our AI-Image Recognition platform to support Autonomous Retail by combining our tech with cameras that are integrated into merchandising vehicles like beverage coolers.
Autonomous Retail? What do you mean?
The most basic description for Autonomous Retail is vending. We use our technology to develop “smart cooler” in the case of beverage and frozen categories that use AI-Image Recognition to help “See” what is happening with the items being merchandised. Our InstaGNG business uses this “Visibility” to help shoppers buy items in a cooler with an app. The cameras we embed into the cooler can recognize what is being bought from a cooler and charge their credit card- autonomously. It’s pretty cool.
What does VisionIot do?
VisionIOT is how our technology measures and communicates sales data to the client. Our InstaGNG business uses the IOT technology to help generate data from a vending machine that is used to help supply chain be more efficient. It’s one thing to execute a sales transaction, it’s another to leverage this data, in-real time, to support the correct assortment and schedule cooler service to maximize sales. In addition to software as a service (SAAS), we are seeing incredible interest in Data as a Service or (DAAS). Our field executions provide incredible “BIG DATA”
This seems like something out of Star Wars?
Well, I’m a Star Trek fan (laughing), but I get what you mean. The future is today as it relates to how people can buy things. The vending industry will be forefront in transforming commerce. Shoppers want what they want, NOW. If amazon can’t deliver their piece of cake right now, the vending machine is the next best alternative. AI is accelerating rapidly, helping us make relatively mundane decisions faster. I care about Revenue, the more vending machines with our technology the more revenue we can earn from manufactures that are selling more.
Why are you here in Atlanta for NAMA?
Vision Group’s tag line is “Digitize Bricks and Mortar Retail”, Vending fits perfectly into this mission. It’s a little smaller than a Walmart, however, it’s really important for many brands, especially as they seek more ways to bring shoppers into their brand. Vending, driven by smart coolers, helps shopper’s consider brands in more places. Our technology allows mature and emerging brands a solution that reduces capital outlay significantly while providing critical shopper data to execute better.
We will be helping our partners Coca-Cola and Imbrerra showcase how our tech is being used. We believe our tech is the unlock for Vending Operators, Brands and Distributors. Looking forward to building a name for Vision Group here.
For information on Vision Group visit visiongroupretail.com, InstaGNG instagng.com and visioniot, visioniot.com. We would love to see you at NAMA. Please click on the link and fill out a contact form, we will look to schedule a meeting.