Digitization of Human Perception
From a digital solution for wine recommendation to medical sensor data
Many areas of our lives require expert knowledge or trained perception. Genie Enterprise’s vision is to make them available for the whole world. Genie Enterprise was founded in 2018 to build - based on artificial intelligence (AI) - solutions for the digitization of the wine sommelier business, but quickly expanded its reach into other industries. The focus is on research and development of sensor and AI solutions to understand human perception as well as learning, and also using knowledge from texts and sensor data. Regina Kessler (CEO) and Thomas Kessler (CTO) explain their exceptional entrepreneurial journey.
CHEManager How did it all start and what was there first: the idea or the company?
Regina Kessler: In my case the idea came first. I wanted a digital wine recommendation system that not only answered the usual questions but was more profound. In order to have a basis for this, which gave stability to our first idea, I founded the company.
Why did you pick the name Genie Enterprise for your company?
R. Kessler: The ‘Genie’ is inspired by my first name, Regina. When I was younger growing up in Germany, my nickname was ‘Gini’, pronounced like the Genie from ‘Genie in a Bottle’. Maybe I earned this nickname because I often was a bit too cheeky. The company name in turn is also inspired by the genie we want to free from the bottle in order to realize new ideas, but also by the story about the spaceship ‘Enterprise’ from the ‘Star Trek’ tv series and movies, which explores the unknown worlds of the universe. In our case, these are the unexplored worlds of artificial intelligence.
What is the USP or differentiating feature of Genie Enterprise?
Thomas Kessler: What makes us special is that in all our products and solutions, we focus on the special characteristics of the needs of the individual and respond specifically to them.
Which obstacles did you have to master so far?
T. Kessler: To be honest, so far, we have been very lucky. Certainly, it was hard to find good employees in the beginning, but thanks to some cooperation with universities we could solve this problem quite soon by getting quite good access to talented master thesis students, who we can train step by step.
Also thanks to the support of the Ministry of Economics, Agriculture, Transport and Viticulture in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and many associations such as 5-HT Digital Hub, KI-Map and the Ecoliance, we have been able to build up a really good network, so that emerging problems can be solved quite well and quickly.
What have been the most exciting projects so far?
T. Kessler: Each project is special and exciting in its own way. But I believe that our upcoming research projects on sensors combined with artificial intelligence, which can replace the human nose sufficiently to measure more accurately but also more reliably, will be particularly exciting.
What will be the next steps to develop Genie Enterprise?
R. Kessler: Our next steps definitely go in the direction of research. Here we are currently awaiting confirmation of some research projects that are particularly close to our interests. It will also be exciting to work with students and universities on our healthcare project.
Regina Kessler is the CEO and founder of Genie Enterprise. Her background is marketing and sales of consumer products and digital services in several companies. She is a trained wine sommelier with experience in creating digital wine products.
Thomas Kessler is the CTO of Genie Enterprise with a university background in mathematics, computer science and AI. He has been working for several companies digitizing their businesses with software and AI for over 20 years.
Predicting Human Perception
The vision of Genie Enterprise is to identify unthought ideas, go beyond human boundaries and enhance human experience through digital learning. Therefore, the start-up develops data driven products and solutions powered by artificial intelligence. Genie Enterprise digitizes human expert knowledge and perception to make them applicable and available for the whole world and uses cutting-edge research results to create practical and sustainable solutions.
Although the vision of the founder is broad, the company started with very specific problems. The first problem is the individual human perception of taste and odors and how it influences choices of products. Coming from the wine business. The founder started solving the issue of lacking capabilities to describe or define personal preferences of taste and odors and to match them with complex products.
The team of the start-up company is researching to extend their capabilities to apply sensors and AI to predict human perception of taste and odors. This set of products will be applicable where odor perception is relevant to the quality of products like wine, food, fragrances, but also plastic products e.g. in cars.
Another problem came up during the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year. The company is researching and developing a new product that will enable each person to monitor their health status with everyday tools like smartphones and smart wearables to detect upcoming diseases early. This product line will target risk patient groups and care services.
Products, Services and Support
Genie Enterprise with headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware/USA, and a research and development center in Ludwigshafen, Germany, was founded in 2018 by Regina Kessler and meanwhile has grown to a team of 10 employees and will continue to grow.
The young company has four main branches of operation. Three of these generate revenue and cash flow, while research in the fourth branch provides a solid foundation for the start-up company’s capabilities.
The company develops its own products, which they market with partners. The first product line is a personal digital sommelier called WineGenie. It identifies a customer’s preferences and recommends wines just like a human sommelier would do. WineGenie is available as an online shop plugin or in-store solution on SAAS (software as a service) basis with monthly subscription.
The solutions branch provides AI and software building blocks to clients to create their own products. The current portfolio includes detection of product anomalies from video and sensor data, reading product labels or type plates (also engraved or embossed), identifying unique objects in complex scenes, and knowledge extraction and inference systems that read and understand huge amounts of text.
The professional services team supports clients to build data-driven or AI-based solutions by leveraging the start-up company’s solutions or sometimes just their expertise.
Finally, the research and development team works in joint projects with research institutes and universities to develop future products and solutions. First research focus is on sensors and AI technology to predict human perception of taste and odor. Second research scope was started due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will leverage medical knowledge and analysis of sensor data to everyone to prevent serious diseases.