Applications of computer vision range from helping in medical diagnostics and inspecting products for quality control to optimizing crop yields and monitoring livestock health, showcasing the promise of the technology.
Today, almost every industry has embraced digital technology in its quest to survive in the competitive market. In order to build brand growth and loyalty, businesses nowadays have to follow the latest tech trends. One such technological concept that has recently gained tremendous popularity from industries worldwide and also tech-enthusiasts is computer vision. And what exactly is computer vision all about? Well, computer vision refers to machines that have image-processing capabilities and can respond appropriately to different situations in various surroundings.
Let’s take a day-to-day scenario to explain the concept in simpler words. When we look at a particular thing or a person, our brain starts capturing the images simultaneously. While all this happens, our brain processes the captured images to understand the situation and the surrounding for reacting accordingly. For example, if we see a known person, our brain signals us to greet the person or interact with her. Similar things happen with computer vision systems. Computer vision includes three steps - capturing images/videos in real-time, processing the acquired content with AI, ML, and DL, and taking actions based on processing results. Realizing the remarkable potential of computer vision, several industries have already embraced this technological breakthrough to grab the opportunities it presents. Let’s take a look at some compelling applications of computer vision in the industries listed below:
1. Computer Vision in Manufacturing
Manufacturing, an industry that has had to deal with the production of items according to evolving customer expectations, is not new to adopting new-age technologies. Computer vision has also made inroads in the manufacturing industry to benefit companies with its novel applications.
- Quality control is one of the crucial activities that manufacturing companies should be mindful of to improve customer satisfaction levels. Traditionally, to ensure that the products do not compromise on quality, the concerned officers had to manually inspect products for any kind of defect. However, getting accurate results with manual methods is a myth. On the other hand, computer vision can automate the entire process for manufacturers. The machines can acquire images in real-time, resulting in on-the-spot analysis and computation. Even a slight crack can be visible in the images, which will be revealed in the analysis report. Manufacturers, with the help of computer vision, can streamline the production process and reduce the costs associated with non-conformance.
- To avoid unplanned equipment failures, manufacturers are expected to keep an eye on their machinery all the time. But, inspecting equipment for technical glitches tirelessly is nearly impossible. Computer vision, on the other hand, can fit the best in this scenario. Systems with image acquiring and computing capabilities can easily automate the monitoring process. Pictures and videos of equipment will be captured by machines, which when processed will give information on technical defects of the machinery (if any). Manufacturers can take appropriate proactive actions, which will help in reducing costs and ultimately improving the company’s bottom line.
2. Computer Vision in Retail
From shelf merchandizing to quality assessment, retailers are piled with numerous tasks to ensure high customer satisfaction levels. As AI-enabled computer vision can think as humans do, the machines can automate a majority of cumbersome tasks. This can help retailers to focus on more critical roles, which can help in achieving productivity goals and generating greater revenue. And, it is quite impressive to know that even in its infancy, 30 percent of retailers will use computer vision by the end of 2020. Let’s check out some potential applications of computer vision in the retail industry.
- Imagine you enter a store, grab the items you want, and move out without waiting at cash counters. Now, what if we tell you that this is no longer a sci-fi fantasy? The fusion of cameras, sensors, computer vision, and AI allows retailers to get rid of check out sections. So, let’s now understand how it works. As soon as a customer enters the store, their identity is scanned and verified with the help of an app on their smartphone. With multiple cameras and sensors, the customer’s movement is monitored and gathered. Once they reach the outlet’s threshold, cash will be deducted for the items from their bank account. The retailer behemoth, Amazon, has integrated computer vision to offer customers a frictionless experience with 33 percent more convenience.
- Computer vision-powered machines with high computational capabilities can move around the aisle, capture images of inventories, and react in times of need. For instance, if a machine finds that the items will soon be out of stock, then it will notify the concerned officials. Besides, machines can check items for missed price tags or labels, allowing retail managers to be productive at strategic work.
3. Computer Vision in Healthcare
Another industry that has always been an early adopter of modern-age technologies is healthcare. Digital technology helps the healthcare industry to precisely diagnose and treat diseases, helping patients to recover quickly. One such technology, computer vision, is set to revolutionize the way hospitals have been diagnosing and treating their patients. The report from MarketsandMarkets reveals that the market for computer vision technology in healthcare will reach 1457 million dollars by 2023.
- With machines taking away repetitive and time-intensive tasks, physicians can spend more time with patients. With that being possible, doctors can closely monitor their patients and can give the best possible treatment. Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Florida, United States, leverages computer vision and AI to address complications in women during childbirth. About 1 to 5 percent of women suffer from postpartum blood loss, as per the report from Stanford’s Children Health. Until now, doctors relied on manual methods to examine the postpartum hemorrhage. But with computer vision and AI, machines can capture images of medical equipment like surgical sponges and suction canisters. Prompt diagnosis will help in early identification of complications, preventing the loss of lives.
- Another astounding application of computer vision in healthcare is radiology (medical imaging). With the ability to visualize and identify patterns, computer vision seems perfect for this domain. It is reported that computer vision and AI takes just 1.2 seconds to screen CT scans and detect neurological illnesses. Similarly, Microsoft’s research project Inner Eye develops computer vision and ML to detect tumors from 3D radiological images. In this way, computer vision technology can turn medical images into meaningful intelligence, allowing doctors to provide more effective treatments.
Applications of computer vision extend far beyond just the ones mentioned above. The technology has innovative uses in the logistics, real estate, and insurance industry too. Indeed, the scale at which computer vision is changing the landscape of various industries is quite impressive. In the future, as the technology matures, industries will identify more breathtaking business applications and use cases. To survive and thrive in the competitive market, industries (regardless of the size and the work they do) should evolve with these technological innovations.
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