ITOCHU Announces Signing of Capital and Business Alliance Agreement with Idein inc., an Edge AI Startup

December 23, 2022

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has signed a capital and business alliance agreement with Idein Inc. (headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Koichi Nakamura, Chief Executive Officer; hereinafter “Idein”), a company that provides edge AI platforms.

ITOCHU, in collaboration with FamilyMart Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “FamilyMart”) and Gate One Corp., a joint venture of ITOCHU and FamilyMart, engages in the advertising and media business by leveraging the “FamilyMartVision” digital signage media installed at the stores of FamilyMart.

In recent years, measurement of advertising effect has become increasingly important in the advertising and media business. In particular, with respect to internet-based digital advertisements that continue to grow sharply, efforts are being made to respond to advertisers’ needs by making advertising more efficient based on measured data, reflecting the development of a variety of tools such as those for measuring website visibility. Meanwhile, for advertisements placed in physical locations such as out-of-home media and advertisements in trains, measured data need to be improved in both of qualitative and quantitative terms. Measurement of such advertisements’ effectiveness is currently based on questionnaires and surveys conducted at limited frequency and limited locations.

Starting with the demonstration experiment stage of FamilyMartVision, ITOCHU continued to develop an AI-based camera (AI-based image analysis) through cooperation with Idein with a view to digitalizing results on the visual recognition of signages(i.e. viewability). Utilizing Idein’s edge AI*1, potential issues on privacy by shooting images, and network congestion by increasing data traffic, are to be addressed and ITOCHU is working to improve the quality and amount of measurement data.

Customers’ data are being digitalized*2 with respect to their gender and ages in a way that considers their privacy, as well as the status of visual recognition of signages, through AI-assisted cameras introduced for the FamilyMartVision signages installed in approximately 3,000 FamilyMart stores. ITOCHU seeks to establish the competitiveness of FamilyMartVision as media apparatus, by building a system in which a strong advertising effect is produced through the use of data acquired by the AI-based camera, with an eye toward strengthening the overall advertising and media business conducted by the ITOCHU Group. Under this policy, ITOCHU has decided to form a capital and business tie-up with Idein to further accelerate collaboration.

Going forward, in addition to measuring the visual recognition of signages, efforts will be made to develop AI models that analyze customer types and their behavioral patterns in stores and apply such developed AI models to other retailers, service providers, logistics, manufacturing, and a broad range of other business areas related to social infrastructure. ITOCHU also will engage in development jointly with Idein in areas other than AI-based cameras.

Given increasingly low birthrates and an aging population, many companies are facing the issue of personnel shortages in Japan. AI-assisted service areas therefore are expected to grow sharply and provide a solution. ITOCHU will leverage the ITOCHU Group’s business foundations and broad networks through collaboration with companies such a Idein possessing strengths in sophisticated technologies, and seek to create new value-added through the fusion of the real world and digital technologies from a market-oriented perspective.

Company Profile

Company Name Idein inc.
Representative Koichi Nakamura
Location 1-4-13 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Establishment April 7, 2015

FamilyMartVision and AI-assisted camera (top center of a signage)

  • *1Edge AI:
    General term referring to the concept of making an AI-based analysis through devices (edge) close to an area where measurement is conducted such as stores, in comparison with a traditional AI-based analysis at a large-scale data center (cloud) located in a remote place. This technology is expected to resolve issues arisen by utilization of AI, namely, communication network congestion against the backdrop of an increase in the amount of data, and assurance of data security.
    Idein offers high-level technological strengths through, for example, the development of software that executes an advanced AI-based analysis on a low-cost device. The company captured the top market share of edge AI in Japan in 2021 (According to the market share of edge AI-based platform by vendor in “Current Status and Outlook of Edge AI-based Computing Market 2021” by Deloitte Tohmatsu MIC Research Institute Co., Ltd.
  • *2Edge AI enables the analysis and disposal of images of a filmed customer immediately after such images are shot, and no data that could identify the individual person is stored.