ELSE CORP AND MICROSOFT: Cloud Computing, Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence to revolutionize the fashion shopping experience
ELSE Corp – where ELSE stands for Exclusive Luxury Shopping Experience – is an Italian startup founded in Milan in 2014, that has benefitted from the Microsoft BizSpark acceleration programme, through which Microsoft supports new businesses by offering software, cloud, technological support, and visibility. The company works on the design and development of a technologically advanced Cloud SaaS & API platform and the related know-how about its key concepts: Virtual Retail and the Real Time Fashion System. In fact, the ambitious goal of ELSE Corp, consists of a Fashion Retail industry revolution based on these two principles, in two different directions, which are an integral part of the strategic vision of the startup:
- Virtual Retail: an innovative hi-tech industrial process for 3D CAD & Cloud based Mass Customization of fashion products. It transforms brand distribution channels into new concept spaces within brick and mortar stores (shop in shop, popup & temporary shops) named Virtual Fashion Corners, where a ‘new customer experience’ of Virtual 3D Shopping, focused on product personalization can be easily realized. It represents a turning point for future methods of retail and manufacturing, providing new innovative strategies for the sales, design, production, distribution and marketing of fashion products.
- Real Time Fashion System: enhances the customer’s virtual shopping experience and optimizes the Virtual Retail production chain through the use of AI, machine learning, deep learning & procedural modeling. Driven by the integration of 3D & 2D CAD systems and Artificial Intelligence, which leadto accurate predictions of the style and size needs of individual customers, and guarantees the real-time demand planning and forecasting. It is a vision for a new product design process for companies and independent designers, that leads to the precise prediction of individual needs and product demand while improving the social and environmental impact of the fashion industry, on a global scale.
MICROSOFT TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTING “VIRTUAL RETAIL” INNOVATION FOR THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE FASHION WORLD
ELSE Corp’s idea is to effectively merge the advantages of online shopping and physical shopping: the ”3D Virtual Boutique” allows the user to view the entire collection and to choose in 3D, for each specific model, a whole series of finishes and details. The solution is based on Microsoft cloud computing and can be perfectly integrated into the environments of any fashion reality, enabling a customized solution for every brand, retailer or manufacturer. Several companies are already experimenting with this path, which allows customers to customize their purchases by choosing color, fabric and details through ELSE Corp’s technology. Among those who have already made their projects public, there are the emerging designer Michela Rigucci, the first to use this solution in 2016, and then in 2017 the well-known brand Thierry Rabotin joined in, followed by the trendy Faceshoes project and most recently by the luxury brand of Made in Italy quality Leonardi Milano, just to name a few. The E.L.S.E. platform in fact, promotes the concept of large-scale personalization, bringing the value of craftsmanship in the era of mass production and setting new parameters for luxury & fashion consumer retail.
The E.L.S.E. infrastructure is built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and the middleware and front-end solution leverages Azure’s various modules and architecture of microcredits for the creation of the “Universal 3D Product Configurator”, which integrates visualization and real-time 3D personalization. A front-end module for Augmented Reality is also available on Windows 10 tablets, and the shopping experience has been enabled through the Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality holographic computer, which allows you to interact with holograms projected in the real world and to see the finished product and the performance of models in different contexts, from casual to posh. ELSE Corp is also developing the new features of the E.L.S.E. platform, focusing on Microsoft’s machine learning and cognitive services, to intercept market trends and anticipate customer needs in order to better plan production and optimize the entire supply chain. It is an ongoing project that aims to improve real-time forecasting and understanding of the needs of individuals, to optimize the global impact of the fashion industry and to introduce a sustainable perspective for the fashion system.
LOOKING BACK AT THE LAST YEAR
In these past few months, ELSE Corp has made great progress: in 2017 alone, the startup has participated in dozens of important events, both B2B and B2C, allowing its innovative ideas and the values on which it is based to spread. In particular, the startup took part in the Microsoft Forum 2017 in March where they presented the future of shopping, offering visitors the chance to experiment with their in-development “3D Virtual Boutique”. Following a succession of significant events related to Retail, e-Commerce and Mass Customization, it was precisely at theMICAM, the international B2B exhibition dedicated to footwear, that took place in Milan this September, that ELSE Corp along with its main business partners officially launched else.shoes ™ on the market; their innovative platform for the footwear industry, the result of more than two years of technological research and numerous tests and pilot projects. An outcome that was positively received at the “Tech Couture & Virtual Shoes: Discussions about Fashion and Technology” event organized in Moscow by Microsoft Russia on 29 September, and considered by the startup as its own official pre-launch on the Russian market & CIS.
During this long journey of “learning by doing”, ELSE Corp has been able to forge strong partnerships with important industrial partners, such as ATOM Lab, Atom’s research laboratory that develops experimental technologies and projects to create new production methods, and ShoeMaster UK, the world leader in CAD/CAM systems, offering 2D and 3D solutions for the footwear industry, as well as technological partners such as Predit, a startup whose mission is the design, development and marketing of enterprise solutions for Fashion and Retail, to simplify the development of new products and maximize the attractiveness of collections with predictive analytics; and with several system integrators such as Accenture, Techedge Group, VAR Group, Universities and International Research Centres.
Furthermore, the startup has the opportunity to work closely with the true pioneers – brands, retailers and designers who have decided to take the first big step towards a new way of conceiving the Fashion System.
More info about the event: www.else-corp.com/microsoft-digital-difference-retail