Welcome back to our series “Search for Marketers.” In our last entry, we talked about natural language processing and how it improves search functions. This week we’re going to dive into image recognition.
Image recognition is now in our everyday lives. Photo libraries and Facebook tag friends and family in photos. You can search by an image in Google. Pinterest suggests new pins based on image similarities.
In our work lives, image recognition can better our productivity and workflow. Don’t you hate it when you get totally sidetracked searching for a file because you can’t remember its location or what exactly to search? The old solution was to tag files to find them later – this process is incredibly time-consuming. That’s where image recognition comes in. Instead of tagging images and files manually, the algorithm can do it for you.
What is image recognition?
Image recognition is software or artificial intelligence (AI) that scans and identifies objects, people, scenes, text and actions in images. Computer vision enables computers to understand raw visual input, image recognition then interprets the input and categorizes it. Think of computer vision as the eye and image recognition as the brain interpreting what the eye is taking in.
But how can a computer that operates in a series of zeroes and ones “see” images? They are trained and taught how to categorize with processes called deep machine learning and convolutional neural networks. The algorithm is given large data sets - thousands of images - to determine classifications.
Inspired by the neural networks in the human brain, in a convolutional neural network, each “neuron” takes an input (an image) and passes it to the next neuron to analyze. With neural networks, deep machine learning can recognize patterns in large data sets and give outputs in the form of tags.
That’s a lot of technical talk. In the end, computers are taught how to recognize patterns and pixels in images and create categories based off those patterns to help us realize relevance at scale.
AI for marketing as we think of it
When we think about AI use cases, most of us reference a handful of companies employing AI to enhance customer engagement, not workplace productivity. For instance, the Walt Disney Co. is using language processing AI to trigger an audio soundtrack when you’re reading a story aloud to your child. Coca-Cola uses AI to reinvent how consumers engage with their products through their smartphones. We rarely think how AI processes can improve workplace productivity.
AI for marketing as we should think of it
Image recognition AI streamlines our workflows. It makes daily searching tasks such as tagging files faster and easier, leaving us time to be more productive.
Tagging files is very similar to finding the most engaging hashtags on social media. What tags are people likely to search to find this content? What’s relevant? How many tags do you need? What’s going to make the most sense? Then, once you do tag your files, you’ll find yourself coming back to it months later to find out what tags you decided to use. You’re searching multiple times, disrupting your workflow.
Image recognition’s automatic and bulk tagging solves these problems. It is taught to know exactly which categories are relevant and will give you the best search results later. The software will index file metadata to machine-generate file-specific tags, bringing your files to you faster.
Now that image recognition is categorizing and tagging your files for you and you aren’t spending time manually tagging them, you’re saving a lot of productivity time. You aren’t sitting there trying to figure out the right tags that will lead you or your co-workers to it later. And later on, you aren’t wondering what specific tags will get you there. Image recognition saves you time while searching for files.
File sharing and storage can get messy and unorganized. It’s safe to say, when the marketing department evaluates new customer relationship managers, content management systems, website optimization or marketing automation solutions, image recognition is never one of the evaluation criteria. It’s time to reconsider your evaluation criteria for marketing systems that house company assets. Image recognition will simplify the search process next time you’re searching for that asset you need for your presentation. As it categorizes files based on their contents, you will find files faster and save valuable time. Let image recognition power your new search experience at work.