How do you make a machine ‘see’? And once granted, what does this sight enable technology to ‘do’? Computer vision is a branch of AI, concerned with instructing machines on extracting meaningful insights from digital data like images, videos and other visual inputs. Leveraging this information, computer vision facilitates appropriate actions and decision-making in accordance with specific tasks.
This technical capability harmoniously integrates with existing technologies, offering novel approaches to address real-world challenges, throughout multifarious industries. As a discipline, computer vision is considered as belonging to computer science, and it strives to enable computers to identify and comprehend objects and people. Given its broad range of practical applications, computer vision emerges as a vital aspect of various contemporary innovations and problem-solving solutions.
Computer vision and reshaping the shopping experience
On this issue, Evyatar Ben-Shitrit, Director of Innovation at Shopic, says “computer vision is an already-ubiquitous presence in our daily lives. It plays a crucial role in diverse technologies, from facial recognition in biometrics, to autonomous vehicles, robotic QA inspection processes, and even medical image analysis.” Its ramifications are vast.
“Shopic,” says Ben-Shitrit, “utilises computer vision to identify items placed in grocery shopping carts, enabling automated checkout processes.” He highlights a recent and highly significant trend in computer vision technologies: the shift towards edge processing. “Recent advances in edge cloud storage have allowed for ‘on-site’ computer vision processing; reducing latency, energy consumption and bandwidth usage.” This development not only lowers adoption costs, but also addresses data privacy concerns, enabling wider acceptance of computer vision systems. Ben-Shitrit predicts that as the accessibility of computer vision technology increases, more industries - including healthcare, retail and autonomous vehicles, will embrace its potential.
“Computer vision systems are evolving to become more sophisticated,” he says. “As AI algorithms improve, computer vision gains the ability to recognise objects, faces and even emotions with greater precision.”
Techniques such as attention models and graph neural networks play a crucial role in enhancing the processing of images and facilitating a deeper comprehension of context, thereby enabling more accurate interpretation and analysis of visual data. However, as these technologies become increasingly intertwined with human lives, their ethical implications also grow in parallel with their advancements. Ben-Shitrit emphasises the utmost importance of ethical use and compliance with privacy regulations in the development and deployment of computer vision applications.
Computer vision is also poised to transform the realm of augmented reality (AR) experiences. By seamlessly integrating computer vision cameras with eye-tracking capabilities and gyroscopes, AR solutions gain the ability to dynamically adapt virtual environments based on the user's movements and interactions. This breakthrough opens up a world of possibilities in various domains, including disability assistance devices, direction apps that provide personalised navigation guidance, and immersive gaming experiences that blur the lines between the virtual and physical realms. The fusion of computer vision and AR technologies holds tremendous potential in enhancing accessibility, interactivity, and engagement for users across diverse contexts.
But the application of computer vision technology doesn’t stop there, and is having a huge impact across many different fields.
Reimagining airport operations with Computer Vision
Paul Staples, Director of Airport Operations at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, introduces AeroCloud Optic, a groundbreaking computer vision technology designed to track passengers' movements from kerb to gate. Staples explains, "By leveraging AI and ML algorithms, AeroCloud Optic anonymously monitors passenger flow, providing real-time insights for operational decision-making. So far, successful trials have been conducted at Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Florida, and have paved the way for this industry-first advancement."
AeroCloud Optic aims to address the challenges faced by airports in ensuring seamless and efficient passenger flow, especially as air travel is predicted to return to pre-pandemic levels. By harnessing the power of computer vision, this innovative solution enables airports to identify operational bottlenecks and respond promptly with additional resources.
Staples emphasises, "The solution empowers airport staff to predict future scenarios, enhancing resource management and improving the overall passenger experience." At Liverpool John Lennon Airport, AeroCloud Optic has already made a significant impact by reshaping commercial activity through the delivery of accurate information for operational planning, marketing and even retail environments.
What sets AeroCloud Optic apart from previous technologies is its anonymous tracking capabilities. Unlike Bluetooth or WiFi-based solutions, AeroCloud Optic provides end-to-end passenger insights without compromising privacy. This real-time Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution replaces outdated methods and offers precise data for informed decision-making. Staples highlights the importance of this aspect, stating, "AeroCloud Optic prioritises passenger privacy while delivering valuable insights for airport operations."
The integration of computer vision into airport management systems represents a significant milestone in the evolution of airport operations. It has the potential to reshape the way airports operate by providing valuable data and insights to optimise passenger flow, resource allocation, and retail opportunities. By harnessing the power of computer vision, airports can gain unprecedented visibility into passenger movement, enabling data-driven decisions and improved operational performance. Staples emphasises the transformative nature of AeroCloud Optic, stating, "This technology marks a significant step forward for airports worldwide in delivering a seamless travel experience from kerb to gate."
With its focus on innovation and efficiency, AeroCloud Optic has garnered attention and recognition within the industry. The solution has been praised for its ability to deliver real-time insights and enhance operational decision-making. As airports face the challenges of increasing passenger volumes and evolving travel expectations, AeroCloud Optic equips them with the necessary tools to adapt and thrive. Staples concludes, "AeroCloud Optic represents a game-changer in the airport management landscape, providing airports with the means to optimise their operations and deliver exceptional passenger experiences."
As airports embrace AeroCloud Optic, they position themselves at the forefront of technological advancements in the industry. The solution's ability to leverage AI, ML algorithms, and computer vision propels airports towards a future of data-driven operations and improved efficiency. By investing in innovative technologies like AeroCloud Optic, airports demonstrate their commitment to meeting the evolving needs of passengers and enhancing the overall travel experience.
The promising future of computer vision
The possibilities and applications of computer vision technologies continue to expand, permeating diverse industries and transforming the way we perceive and interact with the world. Both Evyatar Ben-Shitrit and Paul Staples acknowledge the challenges that accompany this exponential growth. The shortage of skilled specialists in the field and the need for upskilling the existing workforce present significant hurdles that must be overcome. Moreover, addressing concerns related to privacy, transparency, and ethical use is of utmost importance to ensure responsible deployment of computer vision systems.
Despite these challenges, the potential of computer vision remains immense, offering new functionalities and opportunities across a wide range of fields and sectors worldwide. Already, we are witnessing its transformative impact in various industries. In the retail sector, computer vision is being adopted to create self-serve shopping systems and cashierless stores, revolutionising the shopping experience and streamlining operations. Farmers are leveraging computer vision to monitor crops, detect diseases early, and optimise agricultural processes. Autonomous vehicles are incorporating computer vision technology to enhance safety and enable advanced driver-assistance systems.
Furthermore, computer vision is instrumental in the development of vSLAM (visual Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) systems, which play a crucial role in accurate mapping for disaster relief efforts and precise weather predictions. These applications represent just a fraction of the potential uses of computer vision, highlighting the vast array of possibilities that lie ahead. As the technology advances and becomes further integrated into our daily lives, computer vision will continue to reshape industries and pave the way for new advancements.
It is important to recognise that the true extent of computer vision's impact extends beyond what we can currently envision. As it permeates various applications and industries, computer vision has the potential to fundamentally shape our world, revolutionising manufacturing processes, enhancing healthcare diagnostics, optimising transportation systems, and much more. The limitless possibilities offered by computer vision make it a technology that holds immense promise for the future, heralding a new era of innovation and transformation across the global landscape.