MOBILE VISUAL SEARCH EXPLAINER: How the smartphone camera could become the new way consumers find brands’ products online


BI Intelligence

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The smartphone is getting smarter as tech and internet companies inject increasingly sophisticated computer vision and object recognition functions into their hardware and software. The ability to “understand” what the user is pointing their mobile camera at and “read” the image has opened the door for visual search.

Foreseeing the potential for mobile visual search to create new revenue opportunities, brands are attempting to harness the smartphone camera’s increasing sophistication to engage with consumers and drive sales.

In this report, BI Intelligence analyzes the developing technologies behind mobile visual search and its value to businesses and brands. The report also assesses risks and opportunities inherent in developing a visual search strategy, provides a list of companies that are working in the space, and discusses what they’ve accomplished so far.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • There is strong evidence that mobile visual search technology will take off in the near future, including growing access to technology, strong usage rates of camera-related apps, and early indication of potential revenue growth.
  • In some instances, visual search is faster and more accurate than text or voice, as it cuts through consumer-introduced ambiguities.
  • The mobile visual search ecosystem is growing, with a slew of enabling platforms, native apps, and internet companies all broadening their expertise in the field.
  • Leading internet search companies, including Google and Baidu, are in a race to capture the mobile visual search market as it begins to eat into traditional forms of search.
  • The smartphone is the perfect launchpad for visual search technology, but new form factors, like smartglasses, hold great potential.

In full, the report:

  • Provides an argument for the potential uptake of mobile visual search technology by tech companies, brands, and consumers.
  • Outlines the current mobile visual search landscape.
  • Explains how startups and tech companies with mobile visual search products are evolving their business strategies.
  • Provides an outlook for the future of the mobile visual search industry.

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