In the AI Startup of the Week, the editorial staff of ai.nl is featuring promising AI startups, their innovations, solutions and challenges. In this twenty-third episode, we are taking a look at Amsterdam-based AI startup Sightcorp, which was recently acquired by Raydiant. Sightcorp calls itself an anonymous audience analytics intelligence specialist for digital signage, DOOH, out of home media, and in-store analytics.
Raydiant, a San Francisco, California-based provider of cloud-based digital signage technology to retail businesses and restaurants, announced in January that it will acquire Sightcorp. With the announcement, Sightcorp’s nascent deep learning-based technology came into the focus in an industry that was keen to understand and improve return on investment.
A Spin-off from the University of Amsterdam
Sightcorp was co-founded by Roberto Valenti and Theo Gevers in 2013 as a spin-off company from the University of Amsterdam. It provides proprietary lightweight AI edge software solutions that bridge the gap between the online and real world. As consumer habits evolve, companies are facing the challenge of understanding what they like or what kind of content they interact with the most.
The digital world lacks a platform that is clearly able to paint a picture about consumer interaction in the way Nielsen does for broadcast content. Sightcorp wants to plug this gap with its AI-powered software designed to help businesses understand their audience. The analytics offered by Sightcorp allows companies to streamline their product and even improve their content.
Sightcorp does this for digital signage, DOOH, OOH, and in-store analytics. It “provides anonymous in-store analytics to retailers and powers the DOOH ecosystem with ad performance metrics for advertisers, real-time audience reach for media network owners, and an industry-recognised impression-based currency for programmatic advertising.”
Powered by Computer Vision and Deep Learning
At the heart of Sightcorp’s AI-powered software service is two of the most dominant technologies: computer vision and deep learning. It uses computer vision and deep learning as a primary technology to build easy-to-use, low CPU intensive, and affordable audience measurement software solutions.
It does all this by combining features such as age verification, face detection, gender recognition, face mask detection, mood estimation, face analysis technology, emotion recognition, people counting, face tracking and analytics, and demographic analysis.
All these solutions form a part of various products offered by Raydiant. The ingenuity of Sightcorp is not how it uses AI but how it turns AI technologies like deep learning and computer vision into useful solutions that common people interact with. It also does this by keeping privacy in mind which is an area where the AI industry is moving towards.
Acquisition by Raydiant
Raydiant founded by Jack Abraham, Justin Jones, and Tuan Ho in 2017 has become the platform of choice for leading retailers, e-commerce, and restaurants in-location experience management. The company helps brands build “personalised and meaningful end-to-end content experiences” that result in higher engagement from consumers as well as staff.
The platform is offered as a plug-and-play, cloud-based solution allowing customers to “create, manage, and scale on-screen experiences across 1 or 1,00,000 locations”. It works with more than 3,500 brands, including First Bank, Dickey’s BBQ, Harvard University, The Salvation Army, Red Bull, Chick-Fil-A, and Thomson Reuters. US gourmet burger chain Wahlburgers, owned by Radiant investor Mark Walhberg and family, is also a customer.
With Sightcorp acquisition early this year, Raydiant is looking to offer “anonymous in-store screen engagement analytics on dwell times, viewers, impressions.” The idea being that these metrics will help customers increase sales and deliver optimised content without invading on user privacy.
In 2021, Raydiant released its State of Consumer Behaviour report, which found that 60 per cent of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand over one bad in-location store experience. A Think by Google survey found that 40 per cent consumers will spend more than planned if they find the shopping experience to be personalised. With the AI-powered analytics software from Sightcorp under its belt, Radiant aims to offer this personalisation insights to its customers.
“To survive and thrive in the future of brick and mortar, brands must deliver a seamless in-location customer experience that’s convenient, digital, and personalised; yet many are held back by the complexities and high price point of achieving these goals,” Raydiant Chief Executive Officer, Bobby Marhamat, said at the time of acquisition.
“We’ve built Raydiant from the ground up to help solve these pain points and are thrilled to add Sightcorp’s unmatched technology into our product offerings to more deeply serve the evolving needs of brands, customers, and employees worldwide,” added Marhamat.
With Sightcorp, Raydiant has probably found its secret ingredient to offer a product that offers depth and breadth. The real impact of the product will be known as more customers adopt these solutions and offer insights on their real use case and real world impact. For now, Radiant and Sightcorp are a lethal combination of proven technology and AI-powered smarts.