Sony Semiconductor Solutions, Headwaters, and AWL conclude demo experiment utilizing AITRIOS™ edge AI platform for store DX at Lawson from March to August 2023

December 27th, 2023

Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation

Headwaters Co., Ltd.

AWL, Inc.

Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (Representative Director, President and CEO: Terushi Shimizu, hereinafter referred to as "SSS"), Headwaters Co., Ltd. (Representative Director: Yosuke Shinoda, hereinafter referred to as "Headwaters"), and AWL, Inc. (Representative Director and CEO: Muneharu Kitade, hereinafter referred to as "AWL") conducted a shared demo experiment in Lawson’s stores to improve store operation, utilizing AI and SSS’s AITRIOS™ platform to individually optimize stores. The experiment used SSS’s edge AI-enabled devices at seven stores in the Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures from March to August 2023.

Shelf with products

Edge AI technology enables the automatic detection of products on store shelves with advertisement data.

In this experiment, the three companies efficiently detected and visualized the status of store shelves by utilizing edge AI technology and Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Shelf Monitoring and On-Shelf-Availability

Using edge AI, we visualized the display status of store shelves as well as the status of supports (such as collective displays and POP (promotional advertising and videos) to ensure that they are properly implemented at each store. This initiative aimed to improve operations and propose enhancements to individual store strategies. Having installed dozens of pocket-sized devices equipped with SSS's intelligent vision sensor*1 meant we were able to perform AI processing on the edge. These allowed us to automatically detect, with high accuracy, changing product layouts, shelf sections, and inventory status. As a result, we significantly streamlined the workload previously required for store employees to manually check shelves and products and also reduced the amount of data transmitted to the cloud, also lowering overall system costs.
*1: SSS's intelligent vision sensor 'IMX500' that incorporates AI processing capabilities within the sensor.

In the retail industry, regardless of the scale, customer experience and improving store profitability are important themes. Based on the insights gained from this experiment, the three companies will work on developing and proposing sustainable solutions that enable each store to independently implement the Plan/Do/Check/Action (PDCA) cycle for optimizing store management guidance and support measures.

Visualization of shelf status by Business Intelligent tools

Visualization of shelf status by Business Intelligent tools

Edge devices equipped with Sony's IMX500 were installed in Lawson stores.

Edge devices equipped with Sony's IMX500 were installed in Lawson stores.

Roles of the three companies
Roles of the three companies
Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation

Provides the Intelligent Vision Sensor, 'IMX500,' with AI processing. Edge devices are equipped with IMX500 to detect shelves and products using dedicated, retrainable AI models.
To facilitate efficient device management and AI development/operation, SSS offers the AITRIOS platform, which leverages the Microsoft Azure cloud service.
*For more details about AITRIOS, clik here.

Headwaters Co., Ltd.

Integrated and analyzes data on 'Shelf Monitoring' as a prime vendor, developing the system on Microsoft Azure.
Specifically, used Cosmos DB and App Service to accumulate and store data, develop a tablet application, and provide data visualization through Power BI.
Created prediction models to determine campaign effectiveness by combining ensemble models such as XGBoost, Random Forest, and Linear Regression using Microsoft Azure ML and implementing a causal inference model.

AWL, Inc.

Provided the development of AI models for product detection on shelves, AI models for identifying shelf sections, products, and product display conditions, and solutions that operate on edge devices equipped with IMX500.

Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation, System Solutions Business Division, Comments from Eita Yanagisawa, Head of the Division:

“We aim to contribute to various industries by using innovative edge AI technology centered around image sensors to provide new value and solve challenges. The significance of conducting various verifications based on the policies of Lawson, which has been actively engaged in digital transformation, is significant. We will continue to support retail industry digital transformation by maximizing the appeal of each store.”

Comments from Yosuke Shinoda, CEO, Headwaters Co., Ltd.:

“Through the development of AI solutions using IoT and AI technology in factories and stores, we have been supporting DX promotion in various industries. While it is possible to obtain sales data through the use of POS in store operations, it was not possible to grasp customer behavior before purchase or shelf display conditions. With the development of advanced image sensors and the evolution of edge AI, it has become possible to acquire various data that was previously not visible. By integrating the strengths of various companies with world-class technology and supporting Lawson, which has a strong commitment to digitalization, we aim to promote DX in the retail industry and contribute to the creation of a richer society.”

Comments from Yasuhiro Tsuchida, CTO, AWL, Inc.:

“Since our founding in 2016, we have been providing high-quality and operable edge AI camera solutions to contribute to business efficiency and productivity improvement, mainly in retail settings. Implementing and operating edge AI camera systems requires advanced technology, including optimizing system performance. Through collaboration with companies possessing top-class technology, such as Lawson, which is committed to innovation, we have been able to realize unprecedented initiatives. Moving forward, we will continue to build innovative AI solutions and contribute to society by being useful in various scenes, ensuring safety and security, and creating a prosperous future.”

Comments from Nobuyoshi Yokoi, Executive Officer, Industrial & Manufacturing Business Division, Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd.:

“We are cooperating with Lawson to improve store efficiency and enhance customer experience through Azure. We utilize various components on Azure to securely store data obtained through edge AI, and operate applications safely in the cloud. Through solutions such as AITRIOS, which is made possible by the partnership between Sony Semiconductor Solutions and Microsoft, we aim to continue supporting Lawson's innovation.”

* AITRIOS and AITRIOS logos are the registered trademarks or trademarks of Sony Group Corporation or its affiliated companies.
* Microsoft and Azure are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
* Other company names and product names mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.