Anyline Inc.’s technology made a splash earlier in the year when Discount Tire revealed it was bringing Anyline’s optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities into its 1,000-plus stores.
The nation’s largest independent tire dealer is using a handheld tool that has a laser to read the tire’s tread depth and OCR technology to recognize the DOT number on a tire’s sidewall. The tool, developed by Zebra Technologies, digitizes both scans and eliminates the need for a technician to record any of that data on paper.
Karen Savage, head of sales for Anyline, says the company has adapted its technology to read and digitize the black lettering on a tire’s black sidewall and sees “tons of opportunity” in the tire space. She says the company is working with tire manufacturers and automotive original equipment manufacturers, other “top tier retailers,” and even conducting a pilot in an automotive factory where a manufacturer reads the sidewall of the tires that are put on a new car as it’s assembled, and then ties those tires to the vehicle’s VIN.
Anyline is strictly a software company, and so it partners with others who make or offer hardware. Zebra made the tool Discount Tire is using. Anyline also partnered with ATEQ TPMS Tools LC to add its technology onto a new TPMS reader.
“We’re pretty agnostic about what piece of hardware someone wants to use,” Savage says.
Internally, the company uses a machine learning tool, and so as it processes “thousands and thousands of scans, the tool is able to learn what it’s seeing (and) it gets technically smarter.
“When we started out with Discount Tire with our prototype I think we were in the 60% range for accuracy, and now we’re in the mid-90s. As we go forward in that partnership, the tool gets more robust, which benefits everybody.”
The partnership with Discount Tire has prompted others in the tire retailing space to take action, Savage says.
“It kind of moved some of those larger retailers ahead with plans they already had,” she says. “The companies I’m working with, they had projects that they were rolling out for the end of next year, and all of those timelines have moved up.”
In the first quarter of 2022, Anyline will introduce a new capability — to measure tire dimension, which will help show how tires are wearing.
“It allows someone in the bay to look at that dimension electronically and it will give them a report — this shows irregular wear and tear, this needs replacement (or) needs alignment. That’s some of the new technology that we’re working on.”
That new capability will also allow Anyline to capture and read more details off the tire and gain more descriptions of the tire size, she says.