Eye on AI - March 6th, 2020
Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!
This week we’re moving away from the food industry to focus on an industry we don’t typically cover: fashion!
How the Fashion Industry Uses AI to Increase Productivity and Sustainability
We begin with a close look at an essay out of Medium, titled “Artificial Intelligence is Restyling the Fashion Industry”, in which contributor Grace Byers outlines how AI is transforming the traditionally high-waste fashion industry into a well-(vegetable)oiled efficiency and sustainability machine.
“The fashion industry continues to be one of the biggest global polluters. It is responsible for 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions, 20% of the world’s industrial wastewater, and 25% of all insecticides used in the industry,” writes Byers. “.... However, artificial intelligence can be used at many stages of production to combat this dilemma, in turn reducing inventory levels.”
It works like this: through digital assistants, customer history tracking and the like, product recommendations improve for the customer while inventory recommendations improve for the client, thus minimizing overproduction, returns, etc. so there’s less waste (According to a survey by Capgemini, artificial intelligence could help retailers save $340 billion annually by the year 2022). This in turn has allowed companies like TOMS shoes, with its newly revamped one for one shoe model, and H&M to discover bottlenecks and increase sales.
“H&M is improving the way they spot trends and plan logistics and reducing the number of discounted sales, and masses of unsold stock by using artificially intelligent technologies,” writes Byers. “They are also using it to examine supply and demand and allocate a sufficient number of goods to each store, once again, reducing the number of wasted clothes. At the H&M group, they are combining both analytics and AI with human intelligence to use what is known as ‘Amplified Intelligence.’”
AR May Soon Dominate Fashion Shopping
We’d conclude this week by focusing on what we consider to be among the more exciting new technologies emerging within fashion and retail: Augmented Reality. We’ve touched on this a bit in the past, describing how it allows users to test out things like new hair colors, accessories, nail polish in real time on their cell phones, and just the other week we discussed Apple Quick and other AR apps for testing furniture. New this week is that Burberry has announced that it too will be launching an AR app, as discussed in the MediaPost article “Burberry launches AR shopping tool via google search”.
“Consumers can use the AR tool to see Burberry products virtually in the environment around them, much like companies like Wayfair and Ikea facilitate AR shopping,” writes MediaPost’s Chuck Martin. “By using Google Search to find Burberry items, consumers can see AR versions of products that can be scaled against other real-life objects.”
By the year’s end, I wouldn’t be surprised to see all the major brands offering AR in one form or another, if they aren’t already. There are even some who believe AR, AI and VR will shape fashion’s future, with Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Peter Diamandis going so far as to predict that in the not so distant future, “artificially intelligent digital assistants will know your taste better than you and clothing will be made exactly to your measurements,” with in-store shopping composed of AR glasses given out at the door. We’re not there yet. But I won't be surprised when we get there soon.
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