Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent survey on computer vision. Your responses have been a great help to us in understanding which products and applications we should focus our attention on to create solutions most useful for our customers.
One of the most interesting parts of our findings was the current applications and implementation of computer vision in Greater China. At the moment, China, with the US, is a world leader in AI development. This, together with the push for the Made in China 2025 initiative, makes the nation an exciting, dynamic market for computer vision development.
We segmented the data we collected to concentrate on the Greater China region. From this information, we were able to gain insights into the transformations in computer vision happening right now. Security and surveillance, factory automation, autonomous vehicles, and retail automation proved to be the most popular applications.
Security and Surveillance
The security and surveillance category came out on top as the most popular application for computer vision. Out of the respondents who had had previous experience with computer vision, 73% have taken advantage of the technology for security and surveillance. The category also shows the most future interest with 78% of the respondents, who are likely to implement computer vision*, answering they would use it for security and surveillance purposes.
This trend towards surveillance in Greater China comes as no surprise when its government is working closely with the country’s tech industry to reduce crime using Big Data. The increased accuracy of facial and object recognition technologies makes tracking suspicious or unlawful behavior much more effective. These technological advancements have also led to a specific range of use cases from detecting jaywalkers to monitoring potential suspects.
The second most used application of computer vision, from our collected data, is factory automation, with 49% of our respondents, having previously worked with computer vision, benefitting from this function. 34% of respondents* are likely to target this area with computer vision technologies in the next two years.
The focus on factory automation in Greater China can be explained by the region’s efforts to make intelligent manufacturing a national imperative. McKinsey claims that half of all work activities in China could be automated, making it the nation with the world’s largest automation potential. From quality control (QC) to robotics to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), computer vision opens huge possibilities and developments in factory automation. The challenge will be to develop more affordable and intuitive systems for China’s millions of small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises.
Autonomous vehicles turned out to be the biggest climber from the results of the survey. 34% of the respondents who had used computer vision on the past, have capitalized on computer vision’s potential for this application. The focus on autonomous vehicles is set to rise by almost 10% with 43% of prospective computer visions users* considering implementing the technology in this sector.
The Chinese government has named autonomous cars one of the key sectors in its “Made in China” initiative and is committed to helping Chinese companies lead the world in such technologies. The nation holds the world’s largest market for autonomous cars and, with greater ease in making regulatory decisions quickly, China is eager to develop smart cities to cater to an autonomous driving revolution.
The application of computer vision in retail was of importance to approximately 25% of respondents, both with computer vision experience and prospective users*.
In terms of retail automation, computer vision has a lot of potential. Facial recognition can be used to identify customers, allowing retailers to better track buying habits and understand consumer preferences. This identification, through facial recognition, can also be taken advantage of to make payment in-store more efficient. Also, as a marketing method, brands can send identified customers special offers directly to their smart phone and, in turn, increase customer loyalty.
Despite the possibilities computer vision opens, according to our results, there will be less movement in the retail automation in the next two years, compared to the other categories mentioned. The reason for this could be that any change, as well as potential financial benefits, would be slower due to China’s highly fragmented retail landscape. However, Internet greats, like Alibaba and JD.com, have poured millions into the online-to-offline (O2O) business – a move that, no doubt, smaller companies will be quick to follow.
From our findings, we can see where the concentrated efforts of computer vision are in Greater China. Security and surveillance appears to be an important application here to stay. We should expect great advances in the autonomous vehicle market over the next few years, funded with huge amounts of investment and pushed forward with government regulation. Although retail automation and factory automation show less signs of significant growth in the next two years, these fields hold masses of potential for computer vision to have a revolutionary impact.
*These respondents answered “No” to the question “Have you had previous experience working with computer vision technologies?” and preceded to respond with “Very likely”, “Somewhat likely” or “Neither likely or unlikely” to the question “How likely are you or your company to develop computer vision systems in the next 2 years?”.