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EDITORIAL Can’t choose, won’t choose? There’s an app for that…

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Choice: a very 21st Century problem, with a 21st Century answer
Choice: a very 21st Century problem, with a 21st Century answer

Adding intelligence to image recognition is the next big step in retail – and food is leading the way

Choice. A particularly 21stCentury problem and one that, as retailers of every stripe seek to offer a wider array of goods to compete with Amazon, is only going to get worse. But fear not, technology is here to help.


At first glance, an app to help diners understand what is in their elaborately crafted meal and garner some idea as to whether they’ll like it or not seems a bit of a gimmick, the possibility of what such technology offers is actually going to be essential in 21stCentury retail – for consumers at least.


We are spoiled for choice at every turn – clothes, food, gadgets everything. Anything that can help us choose must be a help. Barclaycard may have turned its attention to dining out – not least because it already does a lot of work with smoothing the payments process around dining – but the idea is one that could easily translate to any facet of retail.


We have already seen the power of image recognition in search, using it to help understand what things areis the other piece of the puzzle – and naturally mobile is the tool to deliver it.


In a world where social media on mobile is becoming the interface between customer and brand, adding image recognition is a given, but adding intelligence around that image recognition is the next big step. It has many applications.


In China, insurance company ZhongAn is using image recognition on Chickens to choose the ones that are healthy – or rather wheedle out the ones that are unhealthy – so that only the best reach the market.


In retail, it will help link visual search to understanding to purchase. This is where augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and image search (IS) – ARAIS? – collide and will be the next retail revolution.


It may not be around in time for Black Friday – although the Barclaycard app may yet arrive in time to save awkward Christmas lunches – mobile-led innovations such as this will be the bedrock of retail in 2019 and beyond.


If personalisation has been the bedrock of the online experience thus far, intelligence is going to be the next add on – and Barclaycard’s foodie app is the appetiser.


Image: Fotolia

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