VisionLabs: Three Questions for the IoT Startup

VisionLabs, a Moscow-based company founded in 2012, is one of the top 12 startups that qualified for the final of the 2016 edition of Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, and Intel’s ChallengeUp! IoT accelerator. VisionLabs is a visual recognition company that provides face recognition software and cloud services to various clients. According to a Labeled Faces in the Wild (LFW) survey performed by the University of Massachusetts, VisionLabs has rapidly become one of the three leading commercial facial recognition technologies in the world.

The founder of VisionLabs, Alexander Khanin, gave us a short interview at the third ChallengeUp! mentoring session, which was hosted by Cisco in Amsterdam.

What is VisionLabs about and why do you believe you are the best?
The dream of retailers all over the world is to know who their customers are. You have to know your customers to achieve a high conversion rate. Everybody knows how to do it online, but no one knows how to do it for offline shopping. At VisionLabs, we have finally figured that out.
Every customer is a unique person with a unique face. The face is the most personal ID in both the offline and online worlds. That’s why the cloud service we’ve brought to the market, FACE_IS, is the perfect solution: It helps retailers to remember their customers, recognize them by their face every time they enter the store, and make them feel more welcome. Our technology is so accurate and so fast that you can read customers’ faces like a QR code at the store entrance using common cameras.

Our service for retailers is pretty simple. After buying a monthly subscription, you install network cameras at your store entrance, connect them to the FACE_IS cloud, and export the data from your CRM system. Once this process is completed, your CRM and loyalty system become smart and allow you to send notifications when an identified customer enters the store. Everything is 100-percent encrypted, depersonalized, and protected.

At the moment, thanks to our participation in ChallengeUp!, we are also working with Cisco on speaker tagging during video calls, which will enrich the human interaction experience in video communication systems like SPARK.

How did you start your business? Face recognition is often seen in sci-fi movies like Minority Report with Tom Cruise – was that an inspiration for you?
I became very passionate about computer vision since starting my studies at Bauman Moscow State University. I’m very glad that a few years ago, I met like-minded people with whom I was able to create VisionLabs, a company that teaches machines to see. We believe that this fantastic ability can disrupt the development of many industries.

Tell us more about yourself. How do you balance out your high business involvement in your free time?
To be honest, I don’t have much free time because VisionLabs is growing extremely fast. However, I do like hiking and boxing, and I also have a brown belt in Shotokan karate. I am currently finishing my PhD thesis, “Fusion of LIDAR, visual and thermal data for road scenes understanding”, so my free time is naturally limited.

Author: Angus Emery Product IoT Presales Manager and Mentor, Deutsche Telekom
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