Industrial applications of image analytics have become extremely commonplace, like in travel or aviation.

Almost every industry vertical today is tapping into image analytics to solve problems, increase efficiency, and expand business horizons. Workers using augmented-reality wearables walk the shop floor for active, in-line, automated visual inspections. AI, image analytics, image recognition, and computer vision applications are redefining production lines across the world.

The technology is growing at an extremely fast pace. According to a study, the image recognition market is slated to touch $109.4 billion by 2027 from $27.3 billion in 2019.

Despite technological growth, the adoption of image analytics for manufacturing and construction has been slow and cautious. The reasons include insufficient technical expertise, safety and security concerns, and the wish to avoid disruptions in operations.

But the reality is that breakthrough technology gives early adopters a winning advantage.

To help those still uncertain about it, we share 10 image analytics use cases that show the technology’s unreserved acceptance across industries.

Top 10 image analytics use cases across industries

The application of image analytics is no longer limited to the rudimentary matching of patterns and barcodes with hand scanners.

Advanced image analytics is powering computer vision today in a range of activities, from object recognition to face detection and sentiment analysis. Add to this the workings of AI and autonomous, unsupervised learning, and the number of potential applications becomes limitless.

Image analytics works from behind the lens and screens and goes unnoticed. But the following use cases will convince you of its ubiquitous presence in our everyday lives.

1. Manufacturing: Detecting defects and ensuring uniformity in operations

Automated visual inspection (AVI) reduces the chances of false positives and false negatives in defect detection and quality checks. It also makes it possible to deploy comprehensive production line automation in a no-touch economy. Today, AVI powered by AI and edge computing is helping to critically optimize and scale production. In a production line application of advanced image analytics in plants in four countries, IBM found multimillion-dollar cost savings across its product lines.

2. Construction: Using image and video analytics for worker safety

With tall buildings and scaffolds, hazardous materials, and heavy equipment, maintaining human safety in construction sites has always been a nightmare. Trips, falls, and worker injuries abound. Intelligent video monitoring of sites backed by image analytics helps to keep a constant eye on happenings. Intelligent systems also send automated alerts in case of accidents and breaches of safety boundaries.

3. Retail: Monitoring store traffic and footfall for stock management

A study done in 2019 found that US non-grocery retailers lost $300 billion in a year due to inventory mismanagement. Image analytics addresses this by transforming images into insights on customer experience, walk-in conversion ratio, and tracking of stock. Data from image analytics is not only being used to address real-time demands but also for predictive analysis to stock the shelves in advance. From tracking goods shortages to spotting expired products, applications of image analytics are transforming every aspect of retail.

4. Insurance: Assessing vehicle damage during accidents and process claims

Personal auto insurers in the US lose $29 billion annually due to omitted or misstated information. One of the biggest reasons for this loss is erroneous estimation of vehicle damage. An automated car damage analysis system creates accurate and rapid cost estimates by scanning and matching images of damaged parts against its database.

It helps appraise wrecked automobiles and vehicles with substantial or minor damage simply using a paint-less dent recovery tool. All car components unfit for use can be detected using sensors. And image analytics leads to a better consumer experience, removes the potential for fraud, and creates an efficient corporate process.

5. Branding: Using image analytics for social listening

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. Hence, a brand’s placement within the visual environment of consumers becomes crucial. Use of text-based analytics is insufficient by itself to do social listening and interpretation of conversations around a brand. For example, a text analysis of conversation around Disney’s Frozen found that the audience was adults in their 30s. An image-based analysis showed that the audience actually comprised children.

Marketers are now using image analytics to track brand mentions, perform sentiment analysis, measure the ROI of sponsorships, spot who, how and where people are using a brand’s products. Image analytics helps to assess brand visibility and quantify the prominence and frequency of branded data in images found on the internet and other media.

6. Radiology: Diagnosing ailments by combining medical imaging with deep learning

Analyzing voluminous medical image data and using AI to solve critical diagnosis issues have been at the forefront of image analytics use. In 2021, the American College of Radiology published a number of use cases where image analytics, AI, and medical imaging helped solve clinical diagnostic issues. Medical image analytics and AI are now being used to detect cardiovascular abnormalities, musculoskeletal injuries and bone fractures, neurological diseases, chest issues, and common cancers.

7. Travel industry: Improving airport traffic flow and baggage scanning

The installation of virtual scanners in airports that don’t need you to unpack bags has caught eyeballs lately. These scanners identify and inspect objects more accurately while speeding up the security check. Many airports in the US are upgrading their equipment to allow the use of biometrics like fingerprints or iris recognition for effective security screening. Changi in Singapore, will deploy facial biometric verification systems by the end of 2022. In the US, Houston Airports will use biometrics for document-free airport passenger movement.

8. Art: Image analytics and AI used for prompt-based image generation

Image analytics and AI-based image generation are taking the world by storm. From Open AI’s Dall-E to Midjourney and others, now we’ve got Stable Diffusion, which is an open-source AI model. You can download and run it. Image generation, including face generation, is solving many issues in digital media and branding, especially regarding copyright and other legalities. Beyond this, it is the first time that those who lack artistic skills can easily transform their imaginations into art.

9. Infrastructure: Detecting asphalt flaws and damage to roads

Image analytics of videos and photos of road conditions are used to train machine learning models and AI to detect road damage. A company from the Netherlands successfully used image analytics with machine learning to detect road damage with 100% accuracy. This was in 2018. Since then, the use of video and image analytics to find road damage and identify the type of damage has gone up. This helps to reduce repair costs by spotting asphalt flaws early on. Ultimately, it contributes to the safety of drivers and reduces the upkeep of roads and highways.

10. Surveillance: Security through image and pattern matching, face detection

Surveillance, safety, and unauthorized access management are conducted with the help of image analytics and machine learning. Specialized image analytics and AI-based or fixed-rule-based systems are used for a broad range of situations, ranging from face recognition to logistics management. From identifying celebrity guests to suspicious persons, and from leisure settings to factory environments, image analytics has taken automated surveillance to the next level.

What lies beyond?

While the Covid pandemic ravaged the world, it also gave an unprecedented push for digitalization. It ushered in a no-touch economy that made remote work mainstream. Once the advantages of AI and smart automation systems become apparent with wider adoption, the momentum will not slow down soon. Image analytics will play an important role in these advancements, from the medical to manufacturing fields. Wherever there’s a possibility or need for interpreting visual data, we’ll see processes simplified and optimized with the power of image analytics.

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Hitech Analytics is a leading data analytics consulting company from Ahmedabad, India. For over three decades, our teams have been developing client-specific data management solutions. We help to transform data into actionable insights that businesses need to become future-proof.