Blippar introduces AR facial recognition tool to Asia

Visual discovery platform Blippar has brought facial recognition technology to its app in Asia as it plans to make augmented reality a “mainstream” part of marketing and daily life.

Currently in its beta phase, the Halos feature allows Blippar users to have their image recognised by facial recognition technology. This turns their face into a recognisable object that can be scanned and verified in real life by other Blippar users.

The technology already recognises 370,000 public figures, including the late Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

However, Chris Bell, the company’s commercial director for Asia-Pacific, said the feature was a step towards AR becoming an everyday strategy for marketers.

Speaking to Mumbrella Asia, he said: “We see this area as growing exponentially. AR is at the dawn of becoming mainstream – maybe even in six months.

“The Blippar app is being leveraged by marketers because it enables users to point their smartphone at a product or advertising, which is then recognised and will give the user additional brand information, recommendations and AR experiences.

“From this users can understand a product more deeply, and in some areas such as cosmetics or sunglasses, they can try on a product before purchase; this can be experienced in-store and later while at home, bridging the physical and digital worlds.”

Explaining how the technology works, Bell said: “Using a mixture of AR, AI and computer vision, Blippar leverages the smartphone camera to recognise the environment it’s in. For example, objects, logos and cars are recognised in real-time using a machine learning AI engine. We have ‘trained’ our AI algorithms using millions of images to recognise visually at scale, and being an AI engine they continuously learn and are getting faster/smarter the more our users ‘blipp’.”

In Asia, Blippar works with international clients such as Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, alongside local companies such as Singapore Zoo, for which it created a 3D interactive dinosaur experience.

Last year, the company also promoted Guinness’ Foreign Extra Stout using an augmented reality experience to discover different aspects about Singapore.

Bell was unable to disclose how many active users Blippar has in Asia-Pacific, but said it had 65 million downloads globally. Blippar has said it will grant licenses to companies wishing to use the facial recognition technology.

The company also has a self-service platform to allow agencies to create their own AR content.


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