Accelerating Our Computer Vision Development with New Funding – and Entering the Unicorn Club

| News | by Christof Roduner, CIO, VP of Engineering & Co-Founder

shelfview Autonomous Floor Scrubbers

Computer vision is at the core of Scandit’s Smart Data Capture platform. Our technology enables smart devices to interact with physical items through capturing data from barcodes, text, identification documents and real-world objects with unmatched speed and accuracy. Whether used for enabling last mile drivers to make quicker deliveries, matching a patient with their medication or empowering retailers to make order picking for Click & Collect more efficient, Scandit automates workflows and provides actionable insights to help businesses in a variety of industries.

However, there is so much more to expect from us in the next couple of years. Having become Europe’s latest unicorn in a $150 million Series D funding round, led by Warburg Pincus and placing the company valuation in excess of $1 billion, we will be advancing our product offering and focusing on new areas that call for a broad range of engineering talent.

With the confidence of this investment and our continued momentum, we will be growing our European based engineering team by 65% in 2022 alone to unleash a number of exciting research and development initiatives in computer vision and related fields. Couple our core engineering locations – Zurich, Tampere and Warsaw or remote within Europe – with a hybrid work culture, and we think Scandit is an exciting destination for developers who share our passion for a great engineering culture and are keen on shaping the future of our products.

The next step in our engineering journey

Computer vision and the use of machine learning (ML) and mobile imaging will continue to lie at the heart of technology projects at Scandit. Looking forward, we will increase our emphasis on the use of ML and deploying our Smart Data Capture platform on a broader set of smart devices.

The latest round of funding will accelerate our engineering efforts in the realm of autonomous data capture, extending the application of computer vision beyond the smartphone to robots, stationery cameras and wearables. As we will support an increasing number of devices and applications, we will also be providing more powerful capabilities for customers to manage large volumes of collected data in the cloud.

We have already deployed a significant retail robotics roll-out in North America with our ShelfView solution. In this new product, we combine augmented reality (AR), object detection, optical character recognition (OCR) and other computer vision technology and process millions of images per day in the cloud to give retailers real-time visibility into the shelves of their stores and allow them to run their business in a more efficient and smarter way.

Building better

We will also continue to further improve our core technology on resource-constrained devices, such as smartphones, to take away the burden of repetitive tasks from the user.

Take everyday barcode scanning. The capability of reliably detecting a large number of barcodes from a distance in a single camera frame removes the need to scan every single barcode individually and saves retail workers valuable time. To achieve a great user experience, we need to use highly optimized, advanced image processing algorithms to be able to process high-resolution / 4K images on off-the-shelf mobile phones in real time.

Another example is ID document scanning. While we have offered ID scanning and OCR capabilities for a while, we are now increasingly using ML to detect fraudulent documents with a single scan. By training our ML models on authentic and fake documents, we are able to detect fake IDs and help scale the identification of counterfeits, which is invaluable in many areas such as age-verified delivery or the purchasing of age-restricted goods in retail stores.

Making an impact

Our technology is deployed at scale, and that isn’t possible without sophisticated engineering at its heart. In 2021, Scandit was used on over 150 million active devices making tens of billions of scans per year. We are trusted by eight out of the top ten US grocers and three out of the top five global couriers. Organizations such FedEx, Levi’s Strauss & Co., Sephora, the NHS and DHL rely on us to make the daily lives of their workers and customers easier and more productive, every day.

The choice of our European R&D locations reflects our commitment to superb engineering while embracing the entrepreneurial mindset and ambition associated with these regions. Our curiosity and passion for new technology has defined our engineering culture since we founded the company as a spin-off of ETH Zurich’s computer science department. We have always valued quality: not only in the products that we build, but also in the way we work together as a group of engineers. While our team has grown significantly since those early days, we have been able to maintain a unique atmosphere of collaboration and helping each other do the best work that we can. We still love to tinker, and still enjoy exploring the limits of what is possible.

Our computer vision journey began with identifying a humble barcode from a scan on a smartphone and creating a bridge between digital and the physical worlds. Our long-term ambition is to not only identify everyday objects using computer vision, but also to locate them in their context and provide even better insights and more value to the user. Add autonomous devices into the mix, and we are in for an exciting continued journey to revolutionize the way customers, businesses and workers navigate their environment – and the world.

Interested? Check out our careers page.