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Marketing & Ecommerce

Realeyes gets NEC’s backing in ‘emotional AI’ partnership

by Rachel England
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Hoping to teach computer systems to understand non-verbal communication

Japanese IT giant NEC is partnering with British computer vision startup Realeyes to work on artificial emotional intelligence, or “emotion AI,” as a key component of AI-based products and services.

Realeyes uses computer vision and machine learning to measure how people respond to digital content.

By “reading” body language and facial expressions through the camera, the software can determine emotional states such as attentiveness, happiness, surprise and anger. The end result? Brands and companies are better able to determine how their marketing campaigns resonate with their audiences.

Research indicates that the average consumer spends just eight seconds on a piece of digital content, so it’s important that content makes an impact from the get-go.

The eyes have it

Realeyes draws its data from participants willing to share access to their webcams and smartphone cameras. Indeed, if you visit its website you’ll be asked to take part in a research project as you navigate the site. According to the company, its attention classifier offers an 86% level of precision, which Realeyes says is “very close to be able to teach computers to measure attention as well, if not better, than humans.”

The London-based company – which works with the likes of AT&T, Mars, and Coca-Cola – has secured sizable funding, including $16.2 million in series A in May 2018, and $12.4 million in Series B, from a number of Japanese companies in 2019.

Its partnership with NEC – which is involved in cloud computing, AI, IoT, and 5G – will help expand Realeyes’ range of applications, while helping the Japanese corporation move into new areas of business.

Toshifumi Yoshizaki, NEC’s senior vice president, said the company is currently eyeing up the hospitality and marketing sectors: “These developments help to realize both companies’ objective of enriching people’s lives and contributing to the realization of a safe, secure, fair and efficient society.”

Realeyes CEO Mihkel Jäätma said that the partnership will help advance his company’s mission to “bring a trillion more smiles” to the world. “Our combined technologies along with NEC’s scale will accelerate innovation in making virtual experiences more human in an age where ‘eyes on screens’ and connecting virtually is the new normal.”

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