Mike Process Master, a robot among the aisles at Potenza’s Iper Futura

MyAv, a 100% Italian startup business funded entirely by Orizzonti Holding, brings robotics and AI to large supermarket chains.

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Already widely used by the largest warehouses (Amazon currently has 45.000), robots equipped with artificial intelligence are starting to be seen among Supermarket aisles.

In step with the two worldwide retail giants, Walmart and Ahold, that have recently introduced shelf-audit robots in their supermarkets, MyAv has just launched Mike Process Master at Potenza’s Iper Futura. Mike is an automatized employee that works in synergy with the personnel and plays a supporting inspection role to enhance the layout, the presence and the logistic supply of products on the shelves.

Designed by MyAv, an innovative and technological business startup, along with its Research and Development team, Mike Process Master is a robot equipped with highly advanced cameras and sensors that allow it to notice even the slightest presence of obstacles or moving people and to conveniently avoid them. With a deliberately serious appearance, it integrates with consumers’ shopping experience without interfering and acts solely to help retail employees to assist customers. Mike finds missing products and other problems related to the display on the shelves thanks to a mix of technology that combines robotics, computer vision, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

In this respect, the CEO Costantino Di Carlo pointed out that the Orizzonti Holding Group operates locally but thinks globally. Thus, we expect that MyAv’s already innovation-intensive proposal will evolve with the contribution of other technological and commercial partners that can contribute to the competitive development of the project and aim at international excellence. Mike already represents the first concrete starting point in this direction.

What are the advantages for supermarkets and their customers? Thanks to Mike, consumers can expect more effective product display. Through Mike’s inspections and the information transmitted by the robot, employees in charge of product-service can put in place more and more real time process-development actions.

As Walmart and Ahold pointed out there are already different robotic solutions able to operate in retail with different supporting skills. However, robots like theirs that can integrate into the daily duty in normal superstore and megastore retail operative processes are still brand new technological innovations that must face new complexities compared to previous robotic proposals.

Mike belongs to this new development concept in the field of traditional “retail brick and mortar”. A new intelligence has been introduced into the dialogue between the customer and the store and, even though it doesn’t directly interact with customers (which is already possible for the new versions currently under design), all informative potential is important to positively influence communication in stores.

Mike is set to meet different objectives and can complete the tasks of the working plan it has been assigned to in a fully autonomous way: if the aisle is crowded or cluttered with obstacles and trolleys, Mike reprograms itself to finish its job at a later stage. As a general indication and under conditions of normal crowding, it can monitor a commercial retail space of 5 thousand square meters in an informative way and in less than 3 hours and can decide autonomously whether to begin a new inspection or go back to “base” to recharge. There is no inspection or analysis function that Mike can’t or isn’t prepared to do.

Like all great innovations it still has to learn and teach, but Mike has already been born great, like the two large worldwide distribution companies that recently preceded us by introducing a robotic assistant in daily duty that works alongside employees, supporting them in customer service in a large and well-known retail structure”.

As MyAv’s Chief Engineer Giuseppe Oddo said when speaking on behalf of those who contributed to the technical and scientific development of the project. Moreover, he highlighted that in the first six months of 2018, the goals for Mike will be to concretely verify its potential for Futura supermarkets, which it will continuously work on.

MyAv acts as a System Integrator and if, as we expect, the economic potential reported in the field is in line with the initial objectives of reaching the pay-back of the equipment and auxiliary systems within the first six months of activity, the initiative will be gradually extended to all chain structures that can benefit from it or to peer structures that the Group is already cooperating with.

Being a process-oriented, software-based device, Mike’s artificial intelligence is customized to Futura processes. We do not exclude however that in the second part of 2018 other proposals will be evaluated to extend Mike’s functions also on an international level. This will be possible if, in the meantime, synergic partnerships can be consolidated to adequately support this very interesting and yet competitive area of development. From this perspective, the prospect is also to evaluate the future listing of MyAv on a regulated market.