Nike Inc. is taking a bigger bet on digital technology.
The athletic behemoth announced Monday its acquisition of Tel Aviv, Israel-based Invertex Ltd., which specializes in 3-D foot scanning.
“The acquisition of Invertex will deepen our bench of digital talent and further our capabilities in computer vision and artificial intelligence as we create the most compelling Nike consumer experience at every touch point,” Nike chief digital officer Adam Sussman said in a statement.
In 2014 when he launched the company, Invertex co-founder and CEO David Bleicher — who spent more than decade in leadership roles in the medical device field — originally set out to use 3-D scanning and automated design processes to create customized medical equipment such as custom foot orthotics and braces.
In a 2017 interview with FN, Bleicher said he had observed an uptick in demand from the retail sector — about a year into the company’s launch — making it “crystal clear that the lack of this technology is preventing the footwear, eyewear and fashion world in general from migrating to online and omnichannel shopping.”
Invertex has since released its FeetID system, which includes an in-store unit that 3-D-scans a precise measure of a shopper’s feet and sends it directly to their mobile phone within seconds.
“Instantly the Invertex’s cognitive match engine guides the shopper to all the shoes in the store, armed with personalized information and reviews to enrich their shopping experience,” he said. “Invertex’s combination of powerful deep learning and augmented reality, combined with it’s 3-D body scanning technology and domain expertise, have created the world’s most accurate body-based match engine for footwear.”
While Nike hasn’t gone into significant detail about how it plans to implement Invertex’s technologies, the athletic brand said the tech firm’s staff will “focus on building groundbreaking innovations to help Nike serve millions of members around the globe.”
“Nike’s connection to and understanding of their consumer is unsurpassed, and we look forward to joining their team to help drive the Consumer Direct Offense,” Bleicher said yesterday in a statement regarding the procurement.
Nike in 2017 unveiled its Consumer Direct Offense strategy, focused on better serving its customers personally and at scale. To fulfill the plan, the brand said it would accelerate innovation and product creation and move closer to consumers in key cities.
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