During the Baidu Technology Innovation Conference 2014, which kicked off on Wednesday September 3, Zalando CEO, Robin Li stated, “voice and pictures will account for more than half the total” of all searches within five years. This will require better image recognition and more computing power in order to provide real-time results for consumers as they search for items. Zalando, a European fashion retailer, has partnered with Cortexica, developer of image recognition and visual search technology, to give its customers the ability to find the item they're looking for by using image recognition software.
As Zalando looks forward to its IPO later this year, the company wants to provide the latest available technology for its customers. It will be the first retailer to use the Cortexica image recognition software, findSimilar in its mobile app.
The image recognition and visual search technology platform Cortexica has developed for online search uses algorithms that mimic the way the human brain recognizes images and objects, which has delivered a 95 percent rate for first time positive match.
The software is able to evolve by learning much in the same way as the human brain. The researchers that came up with the system include visual search scientists, machine learning engineers and neuroscientists. They reverse engineered some aspects of the human visual cortex and created a cloud-based visual search platform that leverages visual inference engines and object recognition algorithms. This has resulted in the high accuracy rate the platform is able to generate by taking still and video images and finding a match online.
Even with databases of many millions of images, Cortexica can find exact image matches or similar image matches in an efficient, highly scalable, and accurate way.
With this application, Zalando customers will be able to take a picture of their favorite item from a magazine, TV or a person walking down the street and initiate a search to find where it can be purchased.
The findSimilar image recognition software is available for the iOS app, with the Android (News - Alert) version available in several weeks.
“We are constantly looking for new technological approaches and innovative solutions in order to support our more than 13.5 million customers in Europe when shopping online at Zalando by offering them different opportunities to access our broad assortment. Besides the classic text search and our barcode scanner feature, customers are now able to search via image recognition and find clothes similar to a desired colour or pattern ,” said Carsten Ernst, Product Manager iOS for Zalando.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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