Silpo parent Fozzy Group has launched Laboratory Zi, a research and development centre for artificial intelligence and innovation.
Laboratory Zi will devise advanced solutions for retail chains, logistics and restaurant businesses of the Fozzy Group.
The centre uses technology from TemaBit, an IT business within the structure of Fozzy Group. It creates original end-to-end solutions and specialises in web and mobile development, business process management software and infrastructure projects.
The retailer will conduct experiments using artificial intelligence, convolutional neural networks, machine learning, immersive technologies, as well as the Internet of Things.
The data-science algorithms developed from these experiments will control the processes in the company's stores, the retailer added.
The company is already conducting pilot projects in the field of robotics.
Laboratory Zi will focus on developing the store of the future and conduct extensive research on e-commerce and retail outlets.
It is working on interfaces using virtual, augmented and mixed reality for operational processes and customer experience.
The store of the future aims to organically integrate digital and physical dimensions in the usual space of a supermarket.
Andriy Yanbukhtin, head of the TemaBit Fozzy Group's Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Innovation, said, "We are rethinking the role of technology for the various businesses of the Fozzy Group.
"Some of our experiments will significantly change the experience of our guests. At the same time, we are working on innovations to improve internal operational processes."
Laboratory Zi comprises a team with diverse experience from candidates of mathematical sciences to first-year students.
The company plans to almost double the number of machine learning specialists, data scientists, Python developers, robotics and mechatronics engineers by the end of this year.
It is estimated that only 5%-10% of experiments will continue as full-fledged projects and will be implemented in real life, the company added.
Fozzy Group is one of the largest trade and industrial groups in Ukraine, encompassing retail, food production, banking, IT, logistics, tourism and restaurant businesses.