Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Neven Vision Offers Physical World Connection Using Images

Remember an image is a physical world hyperlink too.

Two major physical world connection events took place this week.

NTT Docomo announced they would be embedding Neven Vision's image recognition technology on their phones, and Bill Gates highlighted the importance digital images will have in the new platform for interactive advertising and media companies.

A major wireless carrier is implementing the physical world connection.

My interview with Neven Vision's CEO Alex Cory came at a perfect time.

Neven Vision offers the ability for mobile phones to interact directly with real world images to get offers, contest, transactions and more. Their iscout application focuses on "points of interest" and allows mobile phones to "see" and understand visual imagery which then offers a direct connect function.

Neven Vision is able to turn an image INTO a physical world hyperlink. Think about that. By taking an image and extracting "points of interest", they can identify the image and then direct the user to the targeted site or content....from ANY IMAGE.

Their mobile technology can even resolve a barcode today.

The focus of physical world connection has centered around a code, barcode or 2d code. A barcode is usually on packaging, while a 2d code has to be added to make an object hyperlinkable.


Neven Vision uses existing images to make any packaging it Internet accessable.

Last year Neven and Coca Cola teamed up for a mobile marketing campaign that made the CocaCola logo a mobile hyperlink.

I can see the problem coming for the 2d code players.

They can function great as hyperlinks, but there are many companies that offer them which will lead to lots of closed networks. This is fragmented and unless there's one application that can read ALL of them, mass adoption will never occur.

If you don't have a logo or barcode and don't want to put a 2d code on your advertsing, Neven Vision solves this problem. They can read a barcode, 2d code, or any image.

When NTT Docomo announced they were putting Neven's application on their phones, I could see a physical world "platform" being adopted how quickly other applications could come from this. It's nice to see a major wireless provider recognize how big the physical world connection application will be.

Expect to see them launch 2 mobile marketing campaigns with major brands shortly.

I plan on meeting in person with them at CTIA show and show in detail how this technology works with pictures.

5 comments:

HangDog said...

I would really like to see in person how easy it is to us NevenVision’s software to read a 1D barcode. 2D codes have been no problem for the average cell phone camera. It’s a function of physics. A cell phone camera needs to be able to zoom in on the barcode. However, the zoom function on most cell phone cameras is a digital zoom. Without a change in the focal length the fuzzy picture just becomes a bigger fuzzy picture. That’s why ScanBuy’s product line requires a macro lens adapter to read 1D barcodes. Until the focal length can be adjusted or an analogue zoom capability is incorporated in all phones there will need to be a software modification akin to what was done to the Hubble telescope to easily read a 1D barcode.

When you are at CTIA take a bag full of products with a variety of barcodes on it, especially ones that are on the side of a bottle. Don’t just let them show you what they have on their table; they will know that they can scan these. Put it to a real world test. Try a Pepsi bottle since we already know they work with Coca-Cola.

Your one comment above is very telling:
"This is fragmented and unless there's one application that can read ALL of them, mass adoption will never occur."

The market itself is fragmented along many fronts and it will remain so. One of the biggest problems involves legal jurisdictions. Neven’s product might be fine for Japan and DoCoMo, but take that same product to Europe or North America and will it still pass legal muster? It will come down to who owns the intellectual property rights in those jurisdictions.

Another company to take a look at will be Mobot. They have run similar campaigns linking the physical world to the web. Also, remember that one UPC code is not limited to linking to one database. It can be set to go to many places in the electronic world. It will depend on who accesses it, when they access it and where they access it. The answer to the WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE can lead to lots of choices for the owner of that UPC code and will be where marketers want to take their products.

Scott Shaffer said...

I plan on taking lots of pictures and meeting with the various companies in the physical world connection space.

There are a couple companies (not on the PWC list) that have some great technology and applications. They are not ready to expose their wares or IP just yet.

In speaking w/ Alex of Neven, he explained why NTT chose them.

I think you will hear more soon about their iscout application. I dont think many would have considered a security application as the catalyst for adoption. It does create a nice platform.

As far as mass adoption..there are many analogies that can be used.
DVD players, gas pumps, electric outlets etc. If a standard was never created, mass adoption will take a lot longer.

The mobilespace is heating up..stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Hangdog: I love questions like this. People can't believe this technology works, without a macro lens or other work arounds. And it's global, on any handset.

Come to booth #5213 at CTIA to see a range of solutions, deployed live on carrier handsets from Europe, US and Asia.

This never fails to impress anyone who sees a demo. It'll be the best 5 mins you spend on a booth at the show.

Anonymous said...

Hangdog: I love questions like this. People can't believe this technology works, without a macro lens or other work arounds. And it's global, on any handset.

Come to booth #5213 at CTIA to see a range of solutions, deployed live on carrier handsets from Europe, US and Asia.

This never fails to impress anyone who sees a demo. It'll be the best 5 mins you spend on a booth at the show.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see how well the generic image recognition technology could possibly scale up.

Yes, it's not especially hard to recognize a single pattern, like a Coke logo. It gets harder when there are two such patterns.

But what if there are thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, and you're using the rather wretched optics and sensors of a camera phone in poor ambient lighting, with motion blur on top?

Somehow, I just have the funniest feeling the whole thing breaks down catastrophically.