IMRSV (formerly Immersive Labs) a TechStars NY 2011 alumnus, has announced the release of the company’s Cara™ face detection software, which enables any standard webcam to become an intelligent sensor.
Cara software is a perceptive computing platform that solves the problem of optimising efficiency for retailers and advertisers by measuring consumer demographics and engagement in real-time. Cara provides anonymous audience data such as gender, age, attention time, and glances in real world spaces. IMRSV has designed Cara as a way to measure retail, advertising and other real world environments that have typically required expensive research studies using a handwritten pen, paper and clipboard. Companies such as IPG, Reebok and Adflow Networks are initial customers for Cara.
IMRSV has raised more than $2M (£1.3M) from various investors to launch the technology, which enables smarter spaces and devices – whether toys that smile back at you, or advertising messages that adapt to the audience automatically – with real-time, continuous data collection. The software detects up to 25 people simultaneously up to 25 feet away using a basic web camera for real-time information gathering. Cara is being initially released for Windows and Linux and requires only a PC, Internet connection and a standard webcam. IMRSV is currently working to bring real-time face detection to tablet and mobile devices on both Android and iOS later this year.
Available today for download from the IMRSV site (http://www.imrsv.com), the initial version of Cara is $39.95 (£26.13) per month per camera. Designed as a data-as-a-service (DaaS) offering, Cara has pay-as-you-go monthly plans with a 14-day free trial. Cara is available to developers as a REST API allowing third party developers to leverage real world data for custom applications. Developers can download the Developers Kit from http://www.imrsv.com/developers. Enterprise customers can inquire about the SDK, which provides a local real-time response and triggered events in milliseconds.
“The offline world is the largest untapped resources of information. Businesses are familiar with the power of online data, but in the physical world – where 90% of commerce takes place – there are mostly antiquated tools,” said Jason Sosa, founder and CEO of IMRSV. “Cara is a new way to measure the real world. We want to bring the advantages of the online world into everyday life, from real-time audience measurement to new methods of human computer interaction.”
The Cara product includes an analytics dashboard that provides real world audience stats including gender, age (child, young adult, adult, and senior) total duration, attention time, and glances. Attributes such as x/y coordinates, face size image width/height and distance are also being measured. The software performs with 92% detection accuracy on lightweight systems such as dual core atom processors. Possible applications include audience measurement, retail insights, adaptive advertising, gaming/entertainment, and Internet of things capabilities.
“The essential data that we seek, as a retailer and a consumer product company, is found in the actual human response to product displays, including video content in stores, as well as product end-caps, and we now have a powerful tool for gathering this information in real-time,” said Claire Fahie, head of US retail for Reebok. “With advances in customer engagement, such as Cara, we can learn more from our customer and respond in ways that were previously not possible.”
Cara has been designed to satisfy the most stringent privacy concerns and IMRSV has worked closely with leading privacy advocates to address both institutional and individual concerns regarding data collection. The technology behind this is proprietary real-time face detection software that adheres to privacy by design principles. Cara doesn’t record images, video or collect any personal information.
"Privacy by design solutions are critical to implementing new technologies in a world where data collection has become ubiquitous.” said Jules Polonetsky co-chair and director at The Future of Privacy forum. “Steps that Cara takes such as not collecting any personal information and not storing, transferring or recorded any images are key to ensuring privacy concerns are addressed as these technologies are rolled out.”
As part of a new wave of real-time ad-tech systems for richer data analysis, Cara is gaining strong support from ad agencies and media buyers.
“The reason we're so excited about working with IMRSV is that there's a lot of bad advertising out there, and a lot of really poorly targeted ads, and we think Cara can help fix that. It enables us to run massive tests out in the real world, get results back in hours, and get rid of anything that isn't working immediately instead of after months in-market. The real-time data this gives us about positive or negative reactions to advertising out in the real world is a game-changer.” said Tim McAtee vice-president, research product development at IPG Media Lab. “The simplicity of the Cara set-up is what distinguishes it from any other solution, and it applies as much to creative campaign work as it does to audience measurement.”
The lightweight design of Cara enables digital signage and advanced display companies to integrate the software into their offerings for public venues, retail locations, and other facilities that can display relevant ads and messages to audiences, based on data gathered by Cara.