The CCG – Centre for Computer Graphics – received a visit from the SONAE Retail Innovation Committee on 17 May.
As a partner of SONAE in different innovation projects, CCG has opened its doors to showcase some of the technologies that are being explored in its applied research domains (CVIG, EPMQ, PIU, and UMC).
For its part, SONAE has unveiled some of the innovation that is being prepared in logistics among the various branches of the group, namely in terms of supply chain, labeling, systems integration, video analytics, stock management, safety and ergonomics of workers, among others.
Partnership CCG – SONAE
GCC is developing with SONAE a mixed reality project applied in the context of food retail logistics. This project allows to optimize the formation of the picking activity and to improve the logistics processes, among other advantages.
The CCG mixed-reality project was recently chosen from hundreds of technology projects to be present in SONAE’s 2017 annual results demonstration.
Interview SONAE – Tânia Calçada
At the end of the event, while distributing SONAE’s “Retail Book of Innovation 2017”, the CCG took the opportunity to talk with SONAE’s Tania Calçada, Innovation & Future Tech Area Manager on the theme of the day: innovation.
CCG: Innovation is present in the various business areas of Sonae. Just a simple visit to the Sonae website allows us to find big numbers and different awards for innovation. Do you consider innovation to be a high priority for Sonae?
Sonae: Yes, indeed, SONAE chose innovation as one of its seven values. These values guide how employees relate to each other, to the outside world, and to how they should do business. Since then, the importance of innovation for the company has been demonstrated. In addition, we still have the mission: the word innovation once again appears in this statement, which has just over 20 words.
CCG: Is it frequent to do such visits as this to innovation centers?
Sonae: Yes, it is frequent and is not limited to the perimeter of the innovation team. Innovation being one of the values implies that the various teams have that responsibility.
If we look at the innovation book, most of the projects that appear have not been followed directly by the innovation team. What we do is an open call for projects to appear in the book and for internal innovation awards. People submit their projects and rarely the winners are projects that came out of the innovation team. External collaboration is naturally sought by the teams of these projects, drawing on partners such as the CCG who inspire them and later help to realize their ideas.
CCG: Why this particular visit to the CCG? Is it the result of a partnership that has already begun a year ago?
Sonae: Yes, it’s a visit that comes from a partnership. In fact, we have been working with the CCG for more than a year, and we were able to realize the first business in 2018, with a study related to ergonomics. But, CCG is currently working on more than one project with SONAE.
The mixed-reality project has also taken hold and is moving forward, so it makes sense to show the world, at least the internal world, that we are working together.
CCG: The CCG was recently in the Sonae results demonstration of 2017, where it presented a mixed reality project applied to training in the context of logistics, at the invitation of Sonae. Do you think that new innovation projects with Sonae could emerge from what you were able to discover from the CCG during this visit?
Sonae: I think so. The visits to the four working groups were very enriching. The CCG was careful to choose demonstrative projects applying to the reality of SONAE, which captured the attention and interest of the members of the committee. People very much enjoyed the fact that there is interactivity in some of the demonstrations and the fact that researchers themselves are presenting the projects where they are developing. In the group where I’ve been, I’ve seen people very interested; some follow-ups have already been scheduled.
CCG: Do you think that the recent technologies of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, typically more related to entertainment, will be very impacting for companies?
Sonae: I think so. Professionalizing entertainment technologies is something that has been making history. It results from companies having to keep abreast of the interests of customers and employees following social and behavioral trends. But the movement is also done in reverse.
Technology related to the gaming world has been used successfully in the business world. Ludification techniques, or gamification, are today used to motivate and create healthy competitiveness. Alternative realities have the potential to make work more appealing, effective and efficient.
I think the application of alternative realities in businesses will explode when devices, head-mounted displays are cheaper and robust. There is the talk of use cases with a lot of potentials, but these will only gain scale when the hardware is able to have applicability in intense operations, as is the case of logistics associated with retail. If the devices are still a barrier, already for the production of content we have seen examples of partners with many skills. The CCG is a good example.