The Neiman Marcus app allows its user to identify an article of clothing just by taking a picture. The app can identify any product from Neiman Marcus, allowing fans of the brand to easily style themselves and copy parts of the styles of other shoppers they see, even outside the store.
The technology behind this app comes from Slyce’s image recognition, an visual search software company that helps brands and companies quickly connect with shoppers from anywhere, just as long as they take a picture of Neiman Marcus product. Slyce connects a vast database of images to their brand names and prices, and allows users to purchase products from anywhere. This technology makes it much easier for brands to sell products. As long as someone sees something they enjoy, like a Neiman Marcus handbag, they can just snap a picture of it. The visual search app will identify the product, and allow the user to buy one for themselves right there.
This is just one application of the growing field of image recognition and visual search. With this technology, computer software is able to identify images, read text, and even describe pictures to the blind. Google uses image recognition to find the sources and descriptions of pictures uploaded to the search engine. Some surveillance systems use image recognition to read license plates or find human faces. The possibilities for using this technology seem limitless.
But for retail manufacturers, visual search technology provides a means of doing business that can literally cut out the middleman- retail stores. Brands can now be there right at the very moment a potential customer sees something they like. Before, when someone had a moment of inspiration, they would carry on with their day, often forgetting about the stylish coat they saw someone wearing, or a new car they thought they would look good in. With visual search technology being utilized in the manner of companies like Slyce could not only change that, but perhaps alter the way in which people shop altogether by helping switch the economy more towards online shopping.
From a business perspective, visual search is the ultimate technology for instant gratification. Where this leads the world in the future, and the ubiquity of the field remain to be seen.