Recognition start-ups can reshape the digital landscape

Digital companies are pouring funds into various recognition services, with the likes of Google, Facebook and Alibaba having made major acquisitions in this space in recent years. Many of these companies view facial, voice and eye recognition software as a key ingredient of future digital services, whether in security, e-commerce or social media. Business transfer agents have been busy enabling exits in the recognition space and this space could become even more dynamic as rivals launch a recognition arms race going forward.

As the name suggests, recognition software is any digital platform that can recognise users by their voice, facial features, fingerprints, heartbeat or any other unique human element. Fingerprint and voice recognition software has already been mainstream for some time, with Apple’s Touch ID and its Siri voice-activation services becoming a standard feature of iPhones. Facial recogniton is also growing, with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba using it to authenticate customer payments.

These technologies can potentially transform entirely how users interact with both the web, each other and their devices. Perfecting recognition software would eliminate unnecessary buttons on hardware and remove clunky physical contacts with technology. In future, this can allow devices to be small but responsive and powerful, such as a smart watch with the full functionality of a smartphone.

The most basic market for recognition services is already well advanced, and it is security. The continued growth of the online economy means that cyberfraud and theft have become major issues for all companies, but especially for financial operators. Recognition via a unique human element is cost-effective for the platform to implement and time-saving for the user, much more so than passwords and layered security protocols.

The mobile segment is especially well suited to this. With mobile Internet penetration set to reach 70% of the world’s mobile subscriptions by 2030, speed and convenience are becoming key in mobile transactions. In mobile commerce, recognition software will simplify IT processes and unlock the market to the less technology-savvy consumer.

In terms of other segments – Internet search is already being revolutionized by voice recognition offerings while it can also be deployed in health care and the medical world because it can detect moods, stress and other states of well-being.

Combined with virtual or augmenter reality, facial recognition can create unique identities and personalities in cyberspace, providing a legitimacy to interactions in gaming, social media and other networking environments. Facebook’s facial recognition research project, DeepFace, is now very nearly as accurate as the human brain. DeepFace can look at two photos, and irrespective of lighting or angle, can say with 97.25% accuracy whether the photos contain the same face. Humans can perform the same task with 97.53% accuracy. 

Ultimately, recognition platforms will be vital as mankind moves to the next phase of technological innovation.



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