The new frontier of AI in luxury: YNAP x Univeristy of Modena launch AI research program




YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP and the Univeristy of Modena and Reggio Emilia together for the new frontier of AI in luxury.

This new research program aims to develop solutions to revolutionize customers’ shopping experience all around the world.

As leading company in the use of new technologies, YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, the most advanced fashion hub in Italy for Artificial Intelligence and Visual Recognition, has decided to partner with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia to create a joint lab dedicated to Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision in the fashion industry.

The three-year partnership with AImageLab, the prestigious Artificial Intelligence research centre of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, will set up a research program led by Professor Rita Cucchiara, one of the leading experts in the field and Director of the National Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems.

The ultimate goal is to completely revolutionize the online shopping experiences of customers all over the world, developing cutting-edge technological solutions thanks to the processing of the luxury Group’s huge archive, which contains over 20 years of data and tens of millions of images.

As a starting point, the lab will mainly focus on two topics: Visual Search and Virtual Try On.

The studied solutions will allow to identify in YOOX NET-A-PORTER’s database not only the clothes but also specific details such as materials, lengths, colours, and classify the garments based on these elements. Furthermore, additional functions based on artificial intelligence will be developed, which will allow to further enhance customers’ virtual interaction experience with the products.

The visual processing by artificial intelligence allows to process an infinite amount of data quickly, even from a qualitative point of view, which will allow to understand, for example, if a garment is made of pure cotton or virgin wool.

YOOX NET-A-PORTER will put at the disposal of the research program its computing capacity present in its data centers, whose systems are able to perform a large amount of operations per second.

Artificial Intelligence has become increasingly essential in the fashion industry and data analysis represents a key tool both for buyers, who can confront the market by anticipating its trends, and for customers who can enjoy a highly personalized shopping experience. Through the use of this technology, it will be easier to predict market demand and guarantee customers a perfect look and fit of the items ordered online.

In addition, artificial intelligence can also make a difference during these difficult times, through the application of the latest generation of Deep Learning techniques.

Precisely for this reason, always in collaboration with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, YOOX NET-A-PORTER will participate to the Folding @ Home project and will make its computing power available to the scientific community for projects related to COVID-19 research. The Folding @ Home initiative allows any citizen and company in the world to donate their computing power for the simulation of protein dynamics and the development of new therapies.

“The collaboration with one of the world excellences in the study of Artificial Intelligence allows us to explore the potential of technology in support of humanity in an innovative way,” said Federico Marchetti, Chairman and CEO of YOOX NET-A- PORTER GROUP.

“YNAP AI LAB @ UNIMORE is an excellent opportunity to test scientific results which come from the analysis and the study of images, which we have always researched. This collaboration will allow to maximize the efficiency of YOOX NET-A- PORTER’s internal systems, thanks to the recovery of useful information starting from images, using state-of-the-art techniques, and to go even further, using innovative approaches, such as Virtual Try On, to create increasingly unique shopping experiences for customers,” said Rita Cucchiara, Scientific Director.