Taopix to launch world’s first AI-based white-label photo commerce software platform in 2019

Taopix (Newcastle Upon Tyne, England), a world-leading leading provider of photo commerce software, is launching a fully AI-enabled (Artificial-Intelligence-enabled) version of its software platform for the ‘intelligent’ creation of photo books and similar multi-image photo gift products called Taopix.ai. According to the company, the photo book sector suffers from an alarming metric – about 70% of all photo-book projects that are started, are never completed. The value of the photo book market worldwide is estimated at $4 billion (USD). “If 70% of all projects started are left unfinished, that would indicate that there’s a significant amount of money being left on the table,” said Taopix. It’s widely believed that the most significant factors at the heart of this statistic are the huge amount of time and effort needed to make a photo book. While for some this is a worthwhile pastime, for many others it appears to prevent them from finishing projects they’ve started.

James Gray.

“We’ve been looking in to AI for a number of years, primarily as a means to make photo-book creation easier and quicker.” said James Gray, CEO and Founder of Taopix. “It has taken quite some time to find a technology that’s right for the job and can reliably build books using AI. Building the books automatically and quickly is one thing, but the books have to be beautiful and meaningful as well.

It’s entirely feasible that consumers will be able to tell Taopix.ai to build them a book about a trip to Paris in August of 2018 with their partner, or build a book about the birth of their child, or a book about a wedding or a party. Taopix.ai will find the pictures, use the best ones, build the stories, and make the book. There’s also no reason for this technology to just work as part of a real-time user experience. In the future, Taopix.ai could also be used to trawl previously abandoned projects and suggest finished books to customers who had perhaps given up trying to make the book themselves,” Gray added.

Developing photo-based AI is expensive and has taken a long time to come to any level of maturity with respect to building photo books. Large tech industry giants have had the deepest pockets when it comes to R&D budgets – and for many businesses in the photo book space, this has been a significant barrier to entry in developing their own AI-based solutions.

“While many large companies have built sophisticated AI for photo analysis, nobody seems to have focused on what we consider to be our two main areas of focus,” said Kevin Gale, CTO at Taopix. “We need AI to firstly help select the best and most relevant pictures for a book, then orchestrate the images and present them in a beautiful and meaningful way. The end result has to emotionally appeal to the end customer and has to tell a story – and this has been the challenge.”

As mentioned above, the new AI-enriched version of Taopix will be called, simply, Taopix.ai. The product perform all the tasks that Taopix currently does, but will come with the added benefit of using AI to firstly select the images to be used, then construct stories from those images, and lastly to then present those images in a book that conveys both logic and emotion. Taopix.ai will analyze images based on quality, location, frequency and the presence of an entire range of different subjects. Face detection and recognition will be a key part of the solution. However, Taopix.ai will also recognize food, drinks, locations, environments, events and situations, to name a few.

“We felt an absolute obligation to build AI in to our product and help our customers solve the eternal problem of project abandonment,” said Nigel Lee, Executive Chairman at Taopix. “It simply could not be left to the industry giants to dominate the market. The benefits to the end-consumer of this technology are enormous and everyone in the industry should have the ability to offer an AI-based product, regardless of size or scale. We firmly believe that Taopix.ai will give all of our customers an amazing advantage in acquiring customers online. We’re convinced that our AI solution will dramatically increase conversion rates and significantly reduce project abandonment – whether choosing to make photo books offline, online or on a mobile device. We believe we’ve built the ‘Holy Grail’ and that this technology can help our customers unlock the billions of dollars of potential growth opportunity still left in the sector,” he added. Taopix.ai will be “parameterized” and on that basis will allow Taopix customers to launch “incredibly meaningful products.” Books can be built around stories, themes, people, places, as well as over certain time periods. The technology has been built in an exclusive partnership with Muvee in Singapore, and is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2019.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.