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Computer Vision Has Potential to Radically Transform Industries, Insight and IDG Study Shows

Insight commissioned IDG to conduct a survey of 200 business and IT leaders to better understand the awareness, adoption and perceptions of computer vision (CV), a type of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that allows computers to understand and label images. Using digital images from cameras and videos and deep learning models, machines can accurately identify and classify objects — and then react to what they “see.”

The IDG report, “Early Adopters See Value in Computer Vision,” indicated that the overwhelming majority of respondents agree that CV has incredible potential to transform key areas of business, including growing revenue (97%) and saving time and money (96%). While only 10% of organizations are using computer vision today, 37% said they have definite plans to implement and 44% report they are investigating the technology.

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“We were not surprised to find computer vision squarely in the awareness phase. It’s an extremely complex emerging technology that requires a significant investment, with an average return of two to three years and real-world examples just starting to materialize to prove the business case. However, the upside is incredible, and as more organizations shift from investigating to investing in the visual side of AI, those that get ahead of the curve and effectively capture ROI will gain a significant advantage in their respective fields,” said Amol Ajgaonkar, chief architect of Intelligent Edge, Insight.

Business executives understand the value of computer vision

The possibilities for how CV can be implemented are endless and span from operations to consumer experiences, with 45% citing opportunities for cost cutting and efficiency gains, while an equal percentage cite it as an innovation driver, including bringing new products and services to market.

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The top four cited ways organizations have or are planning to implement CV include:

  • Improving security, e.g., detecting unauthorized entry (78%)
  • Improving employee safety, e.g., detecting equipment malfunctions (71%)
  • Anomaly defect detection during production/manufacturing (58%)
  • Improving customer experiences, e.g., identify long checkout lines or overcrowded areas to redirect traffic or bolster customer service where needed (58%)

“If you imagine a world where workers didn’t have to go into ‘danger zones,’ or quality control moved from a manual review process to an entirely automated one, intelligent use of cameras can orchestrate smoother operations. We recently worked with a printer ink manufacturer to use computer vision to count pallets with the quick snap of photos, enabling people with disabilities to take on greater warehouse responsibilities while creating more accurate inventory counts. Similarly, we’ve helped a steel company identify hazardous materials before they inadvertently land in a smelter to be recycled. A new, intelligent view on manufacturing processes can bring immediate benefits like these,” said Ajgaonkar.

Goals for implementing computer vision vary based on industry

Business executives see clear advantages to how computer vision can improve their organizations, including:

  • The elimination of tedious, expensive or dangerous work is a motivation for 58% of manufacturers and 49% in retail and wholesale distribution.
  • Augmenting current processes and improving employee experiences is a driving factor for 47% in the energy sector, 46% in healthcare and 43% in manufacturing.
  • 53% in the energy and utility sector say it’s a way to stay ahead of the competition, and 41% from transportation agree.
  • The energy (56%) and healthcare (51%) sectors recognize that the technology can help to deliver new, more innovative products and services to their customers. Only 44% of retailers ranked this outcome as a priority, indicating that they may be missing an opportunity for growth and differentiation.

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