mobile camera

© Mr T in DC

A new application for mobile phones which identifies places and objects from photographs is set to create an array of new marketing opportunities.

Based on software called Snap2Search that was developed at the Agency for Science, Research and Technology (A*STAR) Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), the Singaporean start-up company Pfliq (pronounced ‘flick’) is harnessing the image recognition, classification and retrieval capabilities of the software to construct a new world of convenience.

A tourist, for example, who is armed with a smartphone sporting the Pfliq application and wandering through an unfamiliar city, would be able to snap a series of photographs and send them off to Pfliq’s remote database. The application compares these photographs with reference images and, in an instant, returns the tourist’s location, along with information on local events and points of interest.

“For consumers, Pfliq will mean convenience, information and discovery,” says Pfliq CEO and co-founder Kelvin Ng.

“With the growing popularity of smartphones, the possibilities for advertisers and marketers are endless – from sending consumers a coming event for their phone calendar, throught to putting relevant contact details intotheir phone and allowing companies to keep track of consumer preferences.”

Pfliq uses the features of smartphones to provide information to people on the move, with image-recognition technology that is close to 100 per cent accurate. Users will also be rewarded with redeemable credits for helping to expand the reference database with their own high-quality images.

On the marketing front, Ng and co-founder Sam Tang from Temasek Polytechnic believe that Pfliq will appeal to brand owners, advertising agencies and networks, as well as publishers. It can provide online advertising that directs users to a specific website and services based on analysis of usage data.

The concept behind Pfliq came to Ng just before he undertook a Traineeship for Technology Transfer Management (T3M) program run by A*STAR’s marketing and commercialization arm, Exploit Technologies. He subsequently developed the product with Tang, and before graduating from the T3M program the two fleshed out the business.

The two-year T3M program allowed Ng to specialize in ‘technopreneurship’, combining a structured curriculum of relevant knowledge and skills with on-the-job training in Exploit Technologies and other A*STAR facilities. “The program exposed me to all the opportunities and capabilities available in the technology transfer industry in Singapore,” he explains.

Pfliq has developed a service prototype and is now seeking US$ 500,000 in funding to allow it to develop a better user experience and launch an open beta of the service.

For further information contact:

Ms Li Yiqun
Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R)
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
(A*STAR), Singapore