The Baltics are truly becoming a must not omit region to talk about when addressing innovative AI projects.
Whenever we are talking about Maxima, the world’s first grocery retailer implementing unique Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions, Oxipit’s ChestEye artificial intelligence-based radiology software suite which helps radiologists improve productivity or Gosu.ai, a gaming startup which provides tools and guidance to gamers using machine learning.
An article on sifted.eu points out that in recent years, Estonia has been a buzzword for startup success, with companies like Bolt, Skype and TransferWise having a global impact. However, with second-hand clothing marketplace Vinted raising a €128m in Series E funding late last year — and in the process becoming Lithuania’s first tech unicorn — it is clearly time to look more closely at Estonia’s Baltic neighbor.
Last year saw more than €170.6m invested in Lithuanian startups. While this was lower than the €183m raised in 2018, it highlights the money being pumped into the local ecosystem. According to a Dealroom report from last November, since 2013 Lithuania has topped the list of Baltic nations when it comes to venture capital investment, with an average annual growth rate of 135% between 2013 and 2018 (compared with 88% for Estonia and just 8% for Latvia).
In fact, in terms of overall invested venture capital, the country was fourth in the CEE region during those years, behind only Estonia, Poland, and Romania (though far behind those top three).
In December, Go Vilnius, the business development agency of the Lithuanian capital, opened a Start-up Museum, showcasing the success stories of 12 local start-ups. Those highlighted included Vinted, as well as companies like nanosatellite manufacturer Nanoavionics, mobility platform Trafi, cybersecurity company Tesonet and car-sharing startup CityBee.
But, coming back to AI projects, some of the most interesting innovations are coming from the Baltic region.
“Artificial intelligence” (AI) has become one of the buzzwords of the decade and it seems that it’s going to carry on in the new decade as well, as a potentially important part of the answer to humanity’s biggest challenges in everything from addressing climate change to fighting cancer and even halting the aging process.
As mentioned earlier, Maxima is the world’s first grocery retailer implementing unique Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions, aimed at improving work efficiency and the customer shopping experience, streamlining operations and reducing costs of running its stores, and balancing employee workloads. Shelf stocking and checkout lines are already being managed by Artificial Intelligence solutions in larger Maxima stores.
The Artificial Intelligence solution is piloted by the Maxima chain in Latvia to ensure that customers’ favorite products, such as dairy products, meat, and beverages, are readily available. The process is enabled by the AI employing hi-res video cameras to analyze product availability and triggering operational commands, executed by both systems and people in synergy.
An identical approach is used at checkouts: if a higher than average amount of people are waiting at the checkouts, the store manager receives this information via tablet and effectively organizes workloads to open another cash register for faster customer service.
The Nordic-Baltic Region is one of the few regions that have declared a collaboration on artificial intelligence. The declaration was released in May 2018 and was called simply AI in the Nordic-Baltic Region. It was said within this statement that AI can ‘double the economic growth potential in the long-term’, a bold claim to be sure. There is a high digital maturity in the Nordics.
TECH Conference Europe Spring Edition in Tallinn will take place on the 5th of May at Radisson Blu Hotel Olümpia and will also examine the Current State Of The “Ai In The Nordic-Baltic Region” Policy in an interesting panel discussion by leading AI experts. Register now to secure your seat! (limited to 125 delegates)