- Czech startup Iterait specializes in deep neural network development for various industries, be it healthcare, manufacturing, building processes, or marketing
- The team delivers complex AI solutions that increase efficiency and productivity of businesses, reduce costs and free up workers’ time for higher-level tasks.
- Iterait, through its Vividi project, is to become a leader in retail digitization and create a link between offline and online sales.
Iterait is a Czech-based startup that develops systems based on artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning. The company excels in delivering great insights in several areas from healthcare to security and marketing, finding a solution to modern world issues, and making the most out of even crisis-like situations such as the pandemic.
The founders, Adam Blazek, Filip Matzner, Petr Belohlavek, started in 2018 with the goal of making the world a better place through the use of AI. As not many people in the Czech Republic knew how to use it, the three founders were on their path to be the first company in their country to focus the power of AI in various fields.
Adam Blazek, founder and CEO at Iterait, told ITKeyMedia that: “Artificial intelligence can simplify and optimize a lot of repetitive tasks so that people can focus on more critical and creative activities. At the beginning of its operation, Iterait concentrated on custom projects in many areas from industry to healthcare. We started with only 6 people and today we are a team of 18”. Their specialization is in deep neural network development for various industries and can, amongst others, facilitate healthcare practices, detect imperfect products in manufacturing or select the best advertisements for shoppers just by a quick look at a camera.
The young startup can boast already with great accomplishments. The winning of the Czech Digimed Award in 2020 counts as one of the team’s achievements. This was granted for their medical project called IsleNet, tailored for the Prague Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM). The web application in which doctors upload an image from a microscope and, in a few seconds, get a detailed overview of how many islets of Langherhans and what quality is in the sample is helping with the experimental treatments of diabetes.
And if that is not cool enough, at the beginning of 2021, the company was highlighted by EU-startups.com, the leading portal for staying atop the startup scene in Europe, in a top 10 most promising Czech companies that are worth watching this year.
Filip Matzner, Iterait founder, carries on by saying that: “We are also proud of our product Vividi which is one of the first commercially successful applications of Edge AI technology in the world. With the early releases of chips capable of running deep artificial neural networks on a device the size of a cell phone with a fraction of energy consumption compared to “modern” cloud solutions, we immediately realized its hidden potential.”
Their main focus now is on Vividi, the intelligent little box that combines a camera with artificial intelligence and monitors the passing people in order to collect anonymized statistics in real-time. The latest processors offer tremendous computing capacity without the need to connect to the Internet or send data to the cloud, which has enabled the emergence of a branch called Edge AI.
This multipurpose device can be explained as the equivalent of Google Analytics for the offline world. For example, Vividi can recognize people’s shopping behavior and identify what is the gender and age of a customer. It also specifies where they go, where they look, what their expressions are, where they spend most of their time, how long they spend in a waiting line and other statistics that are very important to retailers.
Petr Belohlavek, co-founder, explains there are no reasons to worry about data privacy. “It doesn’t break people’s privacy and therefore is GDPR compliant. All data is processed inside the device – Vividi processes the image in a few milliseconds and discards it immediately. The only thing that leaves the device is statistics that can no longer be linked to a specific person. No image or video is stored in the device or the cloud either.”
In general, the process of artificial intelligence training consists of two steps that are repeated over and over. The first step is to present the AI model with a video and let the model guess what happens in the video. If the video is something the model has never seen before, it will likely make a mistake in its guess. The second step is to give the model feedback of what was the desired answer and let it learn from its mistake. These two steps are repeated until we consider the model to be sufficiently accurate. It is not that different from the trial-and-error learning we all experienced as children.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a series of challenges, yet it created opportunities as well. It gave birth to Vividi Stay Safe solution that helps monitor the number of people in stores to ensure customer safety and comply with government regulations. Over the last year, Iterait grew the size of its team, its client portfolio, and the markets they reach. “In addition to the success in the Czech Republic, we also entered other European markets – such as Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Belgium – we grew by 200%. We currently have about 20 larger clients – mostly shopping centers, retailers, banks and sporting events”, added Adam.
Magdalena Lehocka, the director of Slovak Spartan Race, an innovative sport competition that organizes more than 130 obstacle races yearly around the world, is one of Iterait’s happy clients. She told ITKeyMedia, in regard to adding VIVIDI to their business that: “We highly appreciated the pro‑customer approach, speed of order processing and flexibility in communication. Thanks to the accurate measuring of the VIVIDI solution, we were able to comply with COVID-19 regulation and keep the race running smoothly.”
Slovak Spartan Race is not the only ones though. About 200 Vividi devices were sold to various clients such as shopping centers, retailers, and banks in a total of six markets: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Belgium and Sweden, with another 200 in production. In these regions, the startup also gained distributors. As eustart-ups.com highlighted, Iterait is worth watching this year, and the next ahead in seeing them becoming leaders in retail digitization and create a link between offline and online sales.
Sorina Vatavu is a freelance journalist from Romania. Pursuing a master’s degree in law and technology in the Netherlands, she is very passionate about arts, traveling, and the interplay between regulation, ethics, society, and technology.