Cross Talk 1 <ABIST Co.,Ltd> Taking on the challenge of automating vehicle authentication operations with AI and OCR

ABIST has made a huge impact on the industry with the development of an automated vehicle authentication system that uses AI and OCR. However, when the business plan was first started, it did not go very well. We interviewed them about the factors that led to the success of their system, which has achieved "efficiency improvements" supported by the field, and how it was developed.

Cross Talk 1<アビスト> トレーラー

A sense of trust created by deep communication and sincere response with an awareness of the field

Mr. Shin, Senior Managing Director, ABIST Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "ABIST")

Our company's main business is dispatching engineers using 3D CAD and contracting work for our clients. 3 years ago, our president asked us to start a new business using AI because AI would be advancing rapidly in the future, but we were not getting good results.Then, I was introduced pluszero.

In our main business, we trained and developed new graduates from scratch, but for a new business, it would take too much time to develop them from the beginning and we would miss the right timing. Therefore, I began to think that I would like to start a business in collaboration with a company that had high technology.

We talked to several companies, but most of them wanted to sign a contract first before discussing what kind of project we could do. However, pluszero proposed that they would study with the potential members for about three months to see their aptitude, make a presentation to the president about the AI business, and then finally decide whether to collaborate or not. I felt that pluszero's attitude was very sincere.
Ojiro, Chairman of the Board, pluszero Corporation (pluszero, Ojiro)

We heard that it is quite difficult to challenge new business within the company, so we made such a proposal to you. Of course we can offer our knowledge of AI and IT, but we don't have a deep understanding of your business, which is mainly 3D CAD outsourcing. That's why we thought that the most efficient process would be to create value by mutually aligning our eyes.

We asked the members to form a team and receive basic AI training as if they were on-the-job training, and at the same time, we encouraged them to communicate with each other in depth. In the end, we came up with hundreds of ideas from you and from us, and we narrowed them down to three to present to the president.

There are many aspects of AI that we won't know until we try it, but your company made the decision to do it very quickly. It was an instant decision, and I knew that I could change the world quickly with this company.
Mr. Maruyama, Director, Senior Managing Executive Officer, General Manager of AI Solution Business Division, ABIST Co.,Ltd.  (Following referred to as ABIST, Maruyama)

The project we worked on this time uses OCR, but it is no exaggeration to say that it was born out of feedback from the field. Some people wondered how accurate the OCR would be, but I think that pluszero's techology was a perfect fit to dispel their concerns.
pluszero, Ojiro

A major issue for us was how to make an impact on the industry. If you contact us on a Thursday, we will use our proprietary engine to verify whether it meets your specific needs on Monday, and then immediately come back to you with a proposal. We tried to propose not only the partial functionality of the OCR, but also the overall picture of how the customer's entire business can be streamlined in this way.

"A system that can be used properly in the field" was created by working with ABIST , a company with strong field capabilities.

Mori, President of pluszero Corporation (Following, pluszero, Mori)

There were two difficult aspects of this OCR technology. The first is to recognize the document format. We needed to recognize what format the document was created in before the character string. We have read documents in various formats such as receipts, invoices, papers, patent documents, etc. We have been focusing on customizing OCR rather than selling packages. I think this experience was useful in the case with your company.
Another difficulty was the strict standards in the field. 99% of the OCR is relatively easy to read, but the remaining 1% can be wrong. If we don't design a backup plan for what to do in the event of a mistake, it will eventually become unusable for business. I believe that by appropriately incorporating the functions into the business that your company is involved in, you were able to naturally introduce AI and make it usable in practice.
pluszero, Ojiro

AI is booming. Although it is a powerful weapon, it is only a means to an end. I feel that the most important thing when introducing AI and IT is to understand what the issues are in the field and how deeply you understand the field.

One of the success factors was that  ABIST was able to smoothly and accurately determine how to use the system in the field and how to introduce it to a level where the field would really want to use it. The more we proceeded, the more we could see what the next challenge would be, and I think we were able to strike an optimal balance between your on-site capabilities and pluszero's AI solution capabilities.

Toyota, our client, appreciated our speedy and sincere response to the issues that arose from time to time.

We started by holding a study session, but if we had proceeded with a contract from the beginning, I don't think it would have turned out this way. Even now, I consult with various matters, and you gives us advice as if it were your own. I sincerely hope that this wonderful relationship will continue for a long time and lead to the business we both want. I am very happy to have found such a reliable partner.
ABIST, Maruyama

Looking back on it later, I often found myself thinking, "That's what Mr. Ojiro said before. When he first told me this, we hadn't even started our business yet, so I was skeptical, wondering if we could really do something like this. When I actually started working on it, I realized that the advice was based on a thorough understanding of the market and technology.

It's been a year and a half since we started this business. The cycle of catching up with the customer's issues and creating solutions for them has finally started to rotate. It would be great if our engineers could do it by themselves, but for this project, I feel that the two companies are the key to making it happen.
pluszero, Mori

The application of AI requires considerable knowledge of the domain in which it will be operated. We were fortunate to be able to build a broad partnership with your company because you have deep knowledge of the manufacturing industry. In addition to that, I think your strengths such as 3D CAD and 3D printing will become a major battleground in the next 10 years. AR and VR are also areas where your experience can be quite useful. I expect that AR and VR will also be areas where your experience will be very useful, and I expect that they will grow into even more advanced businesses in the future.

We want to spread BPO with impact to the world.

pluszero, Ojiro

The extent to which AI can be used to improve efficiency is not something that can be achieved overnight. That's why I'm excited to collaborate with you to take the lead in the industry. I have realized that by increasing the number of cases of 3D CAD and AI applications, we may be able to change the future of the manufacturing industry.

It is often thought that AI will be effective as long as it is introduced, but on the other hand, there have been many cases where the introduction of AI in the field did not meet expectations and disappointment spread. I really learned a lot from this collaboration, as I was able to see up close the professional attitude of "We are going to bring it up to a certain level of quality that can be used in the field." It is said that "AI can find the best solution 99% of the time," but 99% of the time, it cannot be used in the field. In a positive sense, I was able to understand the harshness of the field. It was a collaboration that allowed me to experience the joy of deriving solutions on how to make an impact in the field within the current situation.

Ultimately, I would like to work with ABIST to create a standard model for AI implementation. We hope to be able to realize a business model in which we take on the non-strategic tasks of our clients through "business process outsourcing (BPO)," in which technology and people collaborate optimally. While the maintenance is done by people who are trusted by the field, we can maximize the benefit of efficiency improvement by AI, and as an end user, we can realize cost reduction. I would like to spread such truly effective BPO to the world.

We have just launched our AI system, so I feel that we still need pluszero's help in terms of technology. Your company has also told us that they would like to collaborate with ABIST in the manufacturing industry, and I hope that we can leverage each other's strengths to tackle even bigger projects. For that purpose, I would like to polish my technical skills so that I can stand on my own.
The details of the dialogue can be found from the following.

Cross Talk 1<アビスト> 本編