Neal Analytics: Highlights of 2020
This year was one of transformation. We saw businesses innovate and implement a range of cloud, data, and AI solutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are a few of our highlights in 2020:
How Campari Group pivoted to digital outreach for customer engagement during the pandemic
Campari Group knew the company needed to unify their customer data and marketing platforms in order to gain key customer insights. As the 6th largest spirits company, Campari Group has over 20 in-market companies and includes than 60 brands such as the familiar Campari, Wild Turkey whiskey, Skyy Vodka, among others.
Phase I focused on unifying Campari Group’s data platform. To do this, Neal Analytics worked with the customer to implement Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, as well as the CustomerIQ solution, to break down data silos and provide a 360-degree view of the customers.
Then, the pandemic hit. Campari Group faced a new challenge of keeping their customers and bartenders engaged from afar as bars and cities faced new COVID-19 restrictions. They took this in stride with Phase II by quickly pivoting to the Dynamics 365 Marketing platform and creating digital events for Camparistas along with feature-rich social media campaigns, email marketing, and more.
How PepsiCo leveraged Autonomous Systems to perfect Cheetos snack production
Optimizing production yield and keeping consistent quality is a challenge, especially on the scale and standard PepsiCo requires for Cheetos.
Neal Analytics worked with the Microsoft AI team to help PepsiCo develop an Autonomous System. The solution, built on Microsoft Project Bonsai, used an AI-agent to help PepsiCo operators optimize the yield and extrusion of Cheetos production and baking processes.
Neal Analytics worked to train the AI agent, or “brain”, of the system by developing an accurate simulator of the extrusion process for the brain to train with using Deep Reinforcement Learning and Machine Teaching techniques. It was great to see this level and complexity of AI move from the lab to the production line to solve real-world challenges.
Combining AI and computer vision at the edge for stockout detection with StockView
Shopping behavior has changed in 2020 with BOPIS becoming more common place and in-store shoppers prioritizing speed and efficiency over time to browse the aisles.
With a small and busy in-store staff at any given time, and limited real-time visibility on out-of-stock events, the real business impact of missing items could go unnoticed for hours, days, or more. One impact is resupply forecasting, which becomes a challenge without the right data. StockView leverages AI vision at the edge for key retail and healthcare scenarios, adding another set of “eyes” on the shelves to monitor supplies and notify others of stockouts.
Intelligent Order Sequencing for mobile, drive thru, and in-store coffee orders
Curbside pickups, drive thru options, mobile ordering – all these orders have different needs and a range of customer arrivals. “First come, first served” doesn’t always work to the benefit of the customer as this coffeehouse chain realized. Neal Analytics worked with the coffehouse chain to create a solution that could balance the timing of orders based on a variety of factors, such as the customer’s estimated arrival time, orders in the queue, and barista workflow.
Using custom machine learning algorithms and real-time data, the solution prioritized orders for food and drink across channels, improving the customer experience with lower wait times and increasing sales in the process.
Happy New Year
Thank you to all who have made these successes possible. Here’s to 2021, and we wish you all a Happy New Year!