To cap our AI-focused Transform 2019 event, taking place July 10-11 in San Francisco, VentureBeat will recognize and award emergent, compelling, and influential work in AI through the inaugural AI Innovation Awards. We take pride in shining a light on innovation and these awards, presented by Ople, give us a chance to do so in a new way. This series highlights the nominees is each of our five award categories: NLP/NLU, Business Application, Computer Vision, AI for Good, and Startup Spotlight.

The field of AI is turning out new ideas and compelling research at a blistering pace, but the practical applications of AI matter to people right now. These range from RPA to reduce human toil to streamlined workflows and more intelligent software and services. Real companies that are developing and implementing AI need solutions that solve business problems today, not in five years.

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova may seem an unlikely name for an AI company, but its robots have danced their way into retail stores — as workers, not products. The robots roam store aisles using computer vision and facial recognition software, with RGB photos and point clouds, to perform inventory management. The boxy helpers are already deployed in dozens of Walmart stores, and by last year they had traversed some 7,000 miles, 0.4 MPH at a time. They can generate tremendous savings in human work hours and retail costs.

Reality.ai

AI is hard, but AI on the edge is even harder because of many inherent constraints. Some devices enjoy powerful onboard chips, but for throngs of edge devices, practical considerations and physical constraints simply don’t allow for more than a sensor or two. Reality.ai has approached this challenge by focusing on signal/sensor data. The company’s offerings include prebuilt frameworks, capabilities built on commodity-level hardware, cloud-based software, and even data services to provide real-world solutions for businesses.

Red Points

Anyone who creates intellectual property (IP) knows how difficult it can be to track if it’s stolen or copied, and recompense is even harder to come by. With the specter of global losses from pirating and infringement reaching a reported $4.2 trillion by 2022, Red Points attacked the problem with AI. The Barcelona-based company says hundreds of brands on its platform are already leveraging its computer vision algorithms and ML models to flag violations and kick off the enforcement process.

Amenity Analytics

Amenity Analytics was created on the premise that information Fortune 100 companies need to make crucial decisions is already out there; they just need a way to sort through oceans of unstructured data to develop key insights. The company uses NLP and pulls from all manner of sources, from regulatory findings to social media posts. Amenity Analytics offers both an off the shelf Amenity Viewer product and custom solutions, including analytics and API services.

The Transform AI Innovation award ceremony will be held on the evening of July 11 to wrap up Transform 2019.