Data circulation is growing exponentially. In 2013, it was 4.4 zettabytes; by 2020, it is expected to


Data circulation is growing exponentially. In 2013, it was 4.4 zettabytes; by 2020, it is expected to reach 44 zettabytes. Parallel with this is the number of companies investing in ways to put these data to good use.
Retail is one of the sectors that have witnessed the most rapid changes in this area. That big data is transforming the way the sector functions around the world should come as no surprise considering the amount of research that goes into in-store analytics to anticipate customers' future purchasing behavior.
The Japanese AI venture ABEJA is one of the many companies that specialize in this kind of big data analysis solution for the retail industry. Since its establishment in 2012, the company has developed deep learning technology in-house to offer AI solutions to a series of corporate clients, many of them in retail.
ABEJA harvests high volumes of data acquired across a range of different sources, including drones, robots, and all sorts of logistic devices, that can later be used to conduct high-level analysis through deep learning. This allows the company to optimize store management and inventory management for its fashion and retail customers based on accumulation of sensor data like radio-frequency identification (RFID) and IoT. The company's proprietary technology can be found in about 530 stores in Japan, including brands such as Guess and Beams. In Tokyo's Parco-ya Ueno shopping center, ABEJA maintains 200 cameras and runs all the data it gathers through the company's AI system to track volumes of customers as well as their ages and genders.
In 2018, ABEJA made headlines around the world when it received funding from Google. After having established its first foreign subsidiary in Singapore in March 2017, the company continued to expand in South-East Asian markets.

Questions for Discussion
1. How do retail companies use Big Data infrastructure?
2. How is ABEJA's AI used in day-to-day retail business?
3. What are ABEJA's target markets in the medium term?

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