Santa Clara, CA - June 15, 2015 : Silicon Valley-based Sensitel won a joint award at IBM's Hackathon held at Galvanize, san Francisco, at IBM's launch event for opening of Spark Technology Center.
Traditional brick-and- mortar retailers are losing to online buyers and hundreds of brand-name stores are closing due to declining sales. To gain customers back and to improve their shopping experience, some forward-looking retailers are turning to facial intelligence and recognition to improve customer engagement and personalization.
Until today, auto-detecting faces has been hard, and impossible in real time. With Apache Spark™ and the Data Scientist Workbench, instant and continual facial recognition gathering is within reach for business users outside of large-scale enterprises-retailers, event-planners, or security, with potential applications for missing persons as well.
At a Spark™ Hackathon, Sportphotos.com's Brandon Schatz and Sensitel's Ray Sikka created Search by Selfie, a facial recognition and intelligence application. Happily surprised by the ease of working with machine learning algorithms and Spark, Brandon and Ray realized they could take a picture, extract key features, transform those key features to normalize the data of the faces, and then train models in Spark. Matching the input against MLib models, they were able to begin quickly identifying individuals by their face, body, and items like racing bibs. Now deployed in the SportsPhotos.com platform, Search by Selfie can process photographs from large-scale events like marathons, and help individuals find photographs of themselves, even when their bib number isn't present. On an even larger scale, intelligent search systems could be built to help missing persons cases by search through data sources like public security cameras. Search by Selfie and future applications modeled after it helps pull individuals into view out of an anonymous crowd.
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