- Nike announced the acquisition of computer vision company Invertex for its Consumer Direct Offense on Monday. The acquisition will strengthen the company's computer vision and artificial intelligence capabilities as it integrates digital technology deeper into the business and customer experience, according to Chief Digital Officer Adam Sussman.
- The Invertex deal comes on the heels of Nike's acquisition of a data analytics firm in late March. Nike also purchased the firm, Zodiac, for its Consumer Direct Offense.
- This isn't the first case of sports technology intersecting with computer vision. In March, Slovenian engineers developed a computer vision-based system to measure the distance of ski jumps, a system they hope will replace current manual methods which can be imprecise and inefficient.
Computer vision is the science of making computers and machines see like a human being. It works with AI for image processing, especially deep learning neural networks, and is an important part of the expanding Internet of Things.
Last year, the computer vision market was reportedly valued at $10.9 billion, and this figure is expected to climb to almost $17.4 billion by 2023 as IoT devices, such as drones, and autonomous vehicles drive market growth.
So why is the maker of Air Jordans dabbling in such advanced tech?
The companies have not disclosed the terms of the deal, but like many retailers Nike is staking its future on a heavily digital strategy. The company delayed its $50 billion revenue target last fall but renewed commitments to digital platforms and innovation for the coming years.
Nike is integrating technology throughout its in-store experiences and capitalizing on mobile platforms to enhance the customer experience. On the back-end, the company is also automating parts of its supply chain to reduce lead times and improve efficiency.
As advanced technologies are integrated into more mission-critical workloads for traditionally non-tech companies, small businesses and startups specializing in these technologies like Invertex and Zodiac reap the rewards.