Dialogue with SmartMore Founder Shen Xiaoyong: Use Technology to Liberate people|ZhenFriends

"In 2020, I was fortunate enough to get to know Xiaoyong and several founders who have just left Tencent and are planning a new company. The team's top technology accumulation and firm belief in entrepreneurship made ZhenFund make the decision to invest in ideas without any hesitation, and has been with him all the way to this day.

In the past three years, SmartMore has achieved a series of breakthroughs and growth in the face of huge challenges. We are happy for them, and hope to share with you some thoughts about SmartMore's progress in the sea of intelligent "smart" creation. I hope today's sharing can inspire you."

——Cai  Nina, investment manager of ZhenFund

Cai Nina: SmartMore serves enterprises and rarely directly faces consumers. Could you use a few simple examples to introduce to readers what SmartMore is doing?

Shen Xiaoyong: The first example is mobile phones. In the entire production of mobile phones, a lot of automatic inspection technologies can be used. It can ensure that every component in the mobile phone can not find a speck of dust.

The second is to take glasses as an example. SmartMore also provides lens quality inspection technology. We can guarantee that the quality of the produced lenses must be no problem, and can also increase the efficiency of lens production or customization several times.

Cai Nina: The thoughts before entering the traditional big blue ocean industry of intelligent manufacturing? What is the original intention of starting a business?

Shen Xiaoyong :When I was studying in school, I was thinking about what is the significance of academics? I have always firmly believed that in addition to theoretical research and applied research, we can do more other things. How to combine what I have learned on campus with the industry, and how to use what I have learned to empower the industry and create greater value is a question I have been thinking about. This is also the most real motivation and idea at the beginning of my business.

When I first came out to start a business, I said that I must do meaningful and valuable things . And technology must find a good scene to be able to generate value. I think the best scene must be in the industrial world.

Cai Nina: The team has accumulated top technical capabilities in the field of computer vision in the past. How do you use your own advantages step by step to improve industry efficiency and empower customers?

Shen Xiaoyong :It integrates a variety of advanced computer vision algorithms developed by SmartMore, optical imaging technology, and software systems that support hundreds of different hardware. It is a full-stop industrial operating system. This intelligent industrial platform can quickly meet customer requirements in extremely demanding industrial scenarios, and complete low-cost cross-industry replication through systematic design and optimization.


SmartMore ViMo and sensor series products

For example, through unsupervised inspection technology, only the data of ordinary products can be provided to complete high-precision defect detection, which has successfully landed in the automotive industry with high safety requirements, and the entire delivery cycle has been shortened by more than 5 times. In the PCB industry, through comparative learning and other technologies, the algorithm platform provided by SmartMore can support more than 300 different circuit board products at the same time, and it is no longer necessary to customize scheme design and model training for each product, which greatly reduces delivery costs . In terms of optical imaging, the imaging solution developed by SmartMore for transparent materials can clearly present the invisible two-dimensional code on the optical lens. The defect detection index has reached the top level in the world.

Through in-depth practice in the field of intelligent manufacturing, SmartMore is expected to realize the commercial value and industrial transformation of efficiency optimization, quality optimization, cost optimization, supply chain optimization and brand optimization in the future.

Cai Nina: In the exploration of intelligent "smart" manufacturing and digital "smart" innovation, what is the core competitiveness of SmartMore? Can you give an example to share what value Smart has brought to customers?

Shen Xiaoyong :SmartMore has been committed to achieving three-level goals:the first level is to reduce costs and increase efficiency, the second level is to realize the improvement of customer unit product value, and the last level is to help customers realize digital transformation. Based on the above three goals, when facing the needs of customers, Smartmore usually adopts a two-way approach: combination of a small number of customized products + a large number of standardized products. We use the project system to promote the realization of customer needs in various subdivided industrial scenarios.

For example, in October 2021, on the production line of a Fortune 500 auto parts manufacturer, Smartmorecustomized some bearing detection algorithms based on the Smartmore ViMo platform to meet customer needs, developed an "intelligent bearing detection integrated machine" and started trial operation . After the product is launched, it can automatically identify 23 defect types at one time, helping customers improve the quality inspection efficiency by more than 80%, and the detection accuracy is close to 100%.

In addition, we pay more attention to the extraction and production of standardized products. Relying on its own years of technology accumulation, Smartmore quickly entered the industry, understood the pain points of the industry, and sought the best solution. From project to product, in this process, it continuously polished its products to gradually meet the wider needs and scenarios of the market. , which is also our main development direction in the future.


Demonstration diagram of Smartmore chip loading defect detection

Cai Nina: Can you introduce the industry status and problems in the field of industrial vision in China? What does Smartmore think about and solve these problems?

Shen Xiaoyong :The domestic market demand mainly comes from the automation transformation and upgrading of traditional manufacturing enterprises, the comprehensive penetration of visual applications in industries with a high degree of standardization such as 3C and automobiles, and the localization of foreign agency products. At present, the domestic industrial vision field is very large, but it is also facing the problems of large task challenges, high precision requirements, and difficult industrial scale application.Specifically, in terms of the implementation of industrial vision applications, there are four major implementation problems: extreme shortage of data, high requirements for industrial acceptance, various forms of inspected products, and indistinguishable defects. The traditional deep customization solutions in the past can no longer meet the requirements. The needs of the rapid development of the market.

In the past two years since its founding, Smartmore has cooperated with more than 100 leading companies in the industry including the world's top 500 companies. This allowed me to explore and think more about the field of industrial vision. I found that on the one hand, the application scenarios in the field of industrial vision are very large, and on the other hand, the needs of many people in charge of industrial manufacturing are not clear.

What Smartmore is doing is to combine its own technological advantages and industrial thinking, start from the technical form, quickly understand the industry, propose solutions from a higher dimension and level, and change the business form through the "Smartmore Model". Realize the delivery of industrial standard level, and then realize the transformation of manufacturing industry to intelligent manufacturing.


Smartmore Intelligent Manufacturing New Factory

Cai Nina:You have achieved good results domestically in the past three years. Do you consider opportunities in overseas markets? How do you see the opportunities and challenges of China's "smart" manufacturing going global?

Shen Xiaoyong :It is not easy for China's "smart" manufacturing to go to the world. In the past several industrial revolutions, the paths and emphases of several developed countries were different. Germany focuses on the continuous upgrading and optimization of equipment and production systems. The advantage of the United States lies in continuous change through data analysis and knowledge innovation. Japan focuses on the construction of organizational culture.

So what is the competitiveness of China's "smart" manufacturing on the global stage?I think it is the industry know how that has been honed continuously in a broad and rich application scenario, coupled with the technological innovation accumulated in our rapid rise in the new industrial revolution, and the unique practical experience formed, which is unique to other countries . incomparable.

However, China's current role in the world's industrial chain is still relatively low-end, which is both an opportunity and a challenge for Chinese companies . The global influence of China's "smart" manufacturing is worthy of attention, but it is also necessary to seize the opportunity to target and seize the high-end of the value chain in order to further exert new momentum.

Cai Nina: I still remember the first time I met Dr. Shen. The company is still in its early stage, with a team size of less than 30 people. It has grown to hundreds of people in less than three years. Do you have any special or important management experience that you can share during the period of rapid business and organizational expansion for start-up companies?

Shen Xiaoyong :Since its establishment in December 2019, the team size has expanded from a small research and development team of dozens of people to a large team of more than 600 people in three full years. Organizational vitality is the key to success. Continuously creating an excellent organizational atmosphere is the goal we have been pursuing. It is a sharp tool to promote the company to become more efficient and agile in the journey of high-quality development, and it is also one of the key factors for us to win the battle.

In addition, in the process of organizational construction and adjustment, we also pay great attention to the leading role of the core team in the business. This year, we also proposed to update the organization of TPM within the company, allowing technical R&D personnel to go to the front and lead the process and rhythm of the entire project. In this way, the combat capability of the team has been greatly enhanced, and the delivery efficiency has also been improved. Reduce unnecessary communication costs. The vitality of the entire organization is also greatly stimulated.

In the future, I hope that the company can maintain such a scale, further improve quality and efficiency, and continue to build an entrepreneurial team with great combat effectiveness and cohesion.

Cai Nina: As an entrepreneur who has been on the road, do you have any recommended books?

Shen Xiaoyong : Principles by Ray Dalio. In this book, I followed the author through the whole process of thinking and exploring from the principle of life to the principle of work. The author's writing and thinking are very clear, and he is also friendly to people without financial background. Try to use the most concise and plain language explains clearly how the business world is played. Have a clear grasp and judgment of the current main contradictions and core needs, and strive to put these issues into practice to promote them. It is one of the most important qualities of an excellent manager, which is fully demonstrated by the author.