The advent of e-commerce and m-commerce in the recent years has significantly affected the offline retail sector, though the impact is yet to be overwhelming in sales. About 90% of retail sales still take place in stores, although that percentage is dropping as more stores shut down unprofitable outlets.
E-commerce and m-commerce have access to customer’s data to better understand their customers and their preferences. This lack of data limits the efficiency of offline retail to optimize products offered and improve shopping experience.
Nucleus Vision changes this narrative as they have developed a solution that grants data access to brick-and-mortar stores through incentives in nCash tokens offered to customers (and other data-sharing retailers) to share their data with retailers and help better understand their shopping preferences in order to serve them better.
The Nucleus Vision solution is already deployed in 10 retail stores and has over 2,000 successful authorizations as of February 20, 2018.
What Does Nucleus Vision Do?
Nucleus Vision, according to the whitepaper, is “an end-to-end technological solution that captures and provides previously inaccessible customer data to retailers and other ‘brick-and-mortar’ businesses through its blockchain and real-time sensor technology.”
The problem Nucleus Vision is designed to solve is the inaccessibility of data by offline retail stores. The access to data by e-commerce and m-commerce gives a competitive edge over offline stores. According the whitepaper, Nucleus Vision discovered 2.6 trillion customers walk into over 91 million stores every year and only 15-20% of the walk-ins will convert to into a purchase.
This means people walk into stores and buy nothing 80-85% of the time. Nucleus Vision plans to change this by making the stores have access to customers’ data when they walk into the store, allowing the store to understand their shopping preferences. This is expected to take the percentage of buying walk-ins significantly higher.
Also, loyalty programs by retailers are not so effective, as a significant percentage of customers often forget to redeem their rewards. There is a high probability that those who do not redeem their rewards will migrate to another platform or loyalty program. This is a problem for offline retailers as they easily lose customers when the loyalty reward points cannot be easily redeemed.
The technology from Nucleus Vision to solve these problems consists of four primary components: ION Sensor, Orbit Blockchain, Neuron Intelligence, and the nCash crypto tokens.
Nucleus Vision’s proprietary sensor network, the ION Network, can uniquely identify and sense temperature, pressure, motion, acceleration, and sound within the coverage area of the sensor. ION sensors enable retailers to capture new data on brick-and-mortar customers when they walk into the store. The radius of transmission of the sensor can be adjusted based on the size of the store. This technology does not depend on bluetooth, WiFi, RFID or facial recognition software. The sensors detect mobile phones as people pass through the storefront or any other place the sensor is set up, and then identify the people via mobile ID over the blockchain.
Nucleus Vision’s blockchain platform, Orbit, is the foundation over which customer identities, customer data, and the nCash tokens flow accurately and securely between all involved parties and systems. This is the foundation for the universal loyalty program that Nucleus Vision plans to achieve. Nucleus Vision is currently built with smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. However, other options are being considered for the future because of the limitation of transaction bandwidth on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Nucleus Vision Neuron Intelligence platform is a neural network for data analysis. This state-of-the-art analytics engine leverages the strength of deep learning, blockchain, and IoT. The Neuron platform enables retailers to take advantage of time and opportunity by connecting with customers in the best way to trigger a purchase. Neuron connects retailers and customers at precisely the right moment to produce excellent customer service.
nCash is the decentralized cryptocurrency used for transactions across the Nucleus Vision ecosystem. nCash has two basic purposes:
- It is the backbone of the Nucleus Vision Universal Loyalty Program (retailer rewards system)
- It is the currency used to reward customers for sharing their data. It is also used to reward other retailers when they share data of a customer (with the consent of the customer) with a specific retailer. nCash can be redeemed across any retailer in the Nucleus Vision network.
nCash is a non-mineable ERC-20 Ethereum token with a supply cap of 10 billion nCash tokens.
A simplified step-by-step use scenario from the lightpaper is expressed below:
- Customer walks into a store
- The customer’s phone ID is recognized by an ION sensor
- The ION sensor sends the customer’s phone ID to Nucleus Vision
- Nucleus Vision sends a text message (or push notification through a pre-installed partner app), to the customer offering nCash (for opting into the store’s reward program)
- If the customer opts in, nCash is credited to his or her account (nCash can be moved to an ERC20 compliant wallet)
- Nucleus Vision securely transfers this customer identification to the retailer over blockchain
- Retailer maps the customer with its core system and identifies new data that can be offered by Nucleus Vision’ blockchain network
It should be noted that the customer has to authorize every transaction to share his/her data. A customer has the option to not to share their data, and the customer will not get rewarded in nCash tokens.
History of Nucleus Vision
Nucleus Vision was founded in 2014. Abhishek Pitti, co-founder of Nucleus Vision was a student at Harvard University when he got fired up about his dream to solve a problem that he could relate to. This dream was based on his childhood as a worker in his parent’s store. He quit his studies at Harvard in his second year to focus on building the company, Nucleus. Shortly afterwards, he got the opportunity to pitch his idea to the renowned investor Tim Draper who backed the company and its vision.
The company planned to raise $60M, but then it was reduced to $40M based on the counsel of the advisors. The whole $40M was raised in the private sale and the token sale needed to be cancelled. The community got tokens by airdrop. The total supply of nCash tokens is 10 billion and it became available on public exchanges on February 26, 2018.
The Nucleus Vision Team
The Nucleus Vision team operates from two locations; San Jose in the USA and Hyderabad in India.
Abhishek Pitti (CEO) is a serial entrepreneur who dropped out of Harvard Business School in 2013 to work on bringing his vision (Nucleus) to life. Prior to Nucleus, Abhishek ran LorvenSoft Tech, a software services company providing digital technology solutions to a global suite of clients across the U.S., Canada, and India.
Avinash Pitti (CTO) Prior to joining his brother Abhishek on the NUCLEUS journey, Avinash spent over 14 years developing technology solutions across SAP, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and IoT for a wide range of global Fortune 500 companies such as Siemens, BP, Philips and Bank of America.
Martin Dudley (CMO) is very prominent in the US retail industry. Having built his career at Levi Strauss, where he headed Sales & Marketing for over 15 years.
Brooks Atwood (Head of Design) is an architect from the prestigious Columbia University. He is a Professor of Product Design, Design Director for a live music events company, and a TED Talks speaker to hosting a TV show on the FYI network.
Nucleus Vision has some well-known advisors in the blockchain world. They include: Min Kim (Cofounder of ICON Foundation), Yiseul Cho, David Wachsman, Ian Balina, Arun Seth (former CEO of British Telecom), Jaron Lukasiewicz, Joy Batra, and Ravi Sinha. It is worthy to note that Tim Draper (known for his early investment in Skype and Bitcoin) is among the investors.
Roadmap and Achievements
Over 2,800 recommendations and offers have been sent with over 2,700 successful authorizations from over 118,000 unique identifications in 10 retail stores. Nucleus Vision currently has 3 telecom partners. Furthermore, the company has announced partnerships with retail companies, including Gini and Jony, Bestseller, Croma, Globus, Future Group, and Shoppers Stop.
The roadmap is in 3 phases as shown below, and the team expects to get into the second phase by Q3 2019.
The problem of a lot of blockchain projects is time. Many find what they aim to achieve is significantly more difficult than they expected. This is also a challenge to Nucleus Vision as they are still striving to meet up with their timeline targets. The project, like a lot of others in the crypto world, is behind schedule.
Another problem is that of negative news springing from various sources that affect the community. Concerning Nucleus Vision, there was negative information that circulated among the community around April 2018 that some of the company partnerships that were announced (investigated by a third party) denied having relations with Nucleus Vision. This drove the price of nCash significantly down on exchanges even as the whole crypto market was experiencing a downturn. The CEO then came out to address the issue to restore calm. However, the market sentiment has yet to pick up strongly as the whole of crypto is in a bear market.
How to Buy and Store nCash
The nCash tokens can be bought on Binance using ether or bitcoin. As an ERC-20 token, it can be bought on various decentralized exchanges that support ERC-20 tokens. The best option to store the tokens for optimum safety is a hardware wallet like Nano Ledger S. The tokens can also be stored in an ERC-20 compatible wallet like myetherwallet.
Nucleus Vision has a brilliant concept, a dedicated team, a working product, and an ambitious vision. They merge IoT with deep learning in their product to provide a valuable service to offline retailers. They have already gotten the technology right—if they can manage to gain market adoption, this will catapult the company into top relevance in the global business world.