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ViSenze, a NUS Spin-off Company, Partners with Rakuten to Create Visual Search Driven E-Commerce in Taiwan
Jul 02, 2013 (09:07 PM EDT)


SINGAPORE, July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ViSenze Pte Ltd (www.visenze.com) today announced that it has partnered with Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba, Inc., a subsidiary of Rakuten Group to launch a state-of-the-art visual fashion search and recognition service on Rakuten's social and shopping sites in Taiwan. ViSenze is a NUS spin-off company that has developed intelligent visual tools, which provide visual search, match and recommendation functions on web and mobile platforms.

In this new partnership, ViSenze's technology is powering the novel Fashion Finder application on two sites (www.oshare.com.tw and www.rakuten.com.tw/event/funsearch). This allows users to search and buy similar fashion items that they see on the sites, from user-generated photos and from user-uploaded images, which could be taken from fashion websites or e-magazines.

"Rakuten is always on the look-out for like-minded partners and innovative technologies to accelerate our business. We are very excited to embark on this promising partnership with ViSenze, as we truly believe the new retail experience, powered by the Internet, is characterised by discovery! As the first in Taiwan to roll out this feature, we cannot wait to see how our customers in Taiwan will react. Rakuten looks forward to offering this unique feature to our customers in other parts of Asia and beyond," said Mr. Toru Shimada, Senior Executive Officer and CEO of Rakuten Asia.

Mr. Yuichi Ejiri, Executive Officer of Rakuten & CEO of Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba Inc. said, "At Rakuten, shopping is entertainment! We are all about offering personalised, online fashion discovery experiences to our customers so Oshare and the new visual-powered form of e-Commerce with Rakuten Fashion Finder will do just that. With just a click, our shoppers can now search what they want to buy with images instead of words. They can also find out where to buy what their favourite celebrities are wearing or carrying. ViSenze truly makes shopping entertaining!"

ViSenze's intelligent visual search and recognition technology is engineered to help digital businesses in e-commerce, online advertising, affiliate marketing as well as social networks solve real-world challenges in an exploding visual web world. Digital businesses and consumers benefit in a number of ways from ViSenze's technology:

  • Similarity Search enables e-commerce companies to let their customers find what they are looking for more efficiently. When online shoppers browse the merchandise, they are subtly recommended visually similar items, based on category, style, colour, pattern – increasing the chances of converting discovery browsing into purchases.
  • Intelligent image matching tool allows users to upload photos from websites and e-magazines to find clothing, bags, shoes and accessories similar to those worn by their favourite celebrities, or to upload a picture of their desired fashion item and find the same or similar products.
  • Visual-contextual application helps advertising networks and exchanges analyse how online users engage with visual content on the web, in order to render contextual advertisements, or to re-target consumers with an advertisement based on images previously viewed.
  • ViSenze's cloud based multi-platform technology enables the above services to be made available to users on-the-go, at anytime and from anywhere, on web, mobile or social networking sites.

ViSenze differentiates itself from other visual search companies, as its technology can recognise a wide range of key objects in images and isolate them from a cluttered image background for more targeted analysis and matching. This means that ViSenze is able to handle different types of images, including those with complex backgrounds, as well as also perform accurate recognition and matching to visually related or similar products. This capability enables the company to deploy its technology quickly to different verticals, through rapid and adaptive machine-aided learning techniques, and generate intelligent visual driven business analytics to help enterprise clients make sense of how their visual assets are used.

In addition to Rakuten, ViSenze's cloud based technology has also been deployed on Singapore-based Clozette (www.clozette.co), a fashion social shopping network that is using ViSenze's technology to offer "find and buy similar" recommendation for fashion items.

"ViSenze aims to unlock the intelligence in visual content and create innovative visual search applications for different businesses across different platforms. We are proud to partner Rakuten and Clozette as they validate the successful application of our technology to the fashion industry. We have started developing new application solutions to other verticals such as automotive and consumer electronics. Additionally, we are developing a contextual visual search driven recommendation engine and expanding our visual based analytics capability," said Mr. Oliver Tan, Chief Executive Officer of ViSenze.

Technology developed within a University

ViSenze's search and recognition technology uses sophisticated techniques to segment, detect, classify and recognise different objects in visual images or videos. The technology was originally developed by the NUS-Tsinghua Extreme Search Centre (NExT), a leading research centre jointly established by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Tsinghua University of China. Unlike other image matching tools, ViSenze's technology analyses the visual content to identify key objects of interest to users and their context. This helps ViSenze's enterprise clients to understand which parts of images resonate well with their end users and find relevant ways to engage with them better.

ViSenze was founded in 2012, by four enterprising individuals: Mr. Roger Yuen, a seasoned entrepreneur who serves as its non-executive Chairman; Mr. Oliver Tan, who left the corporate world to serve as its full time CEO; Professor Chua Tat Seng, the current co-Director of NExT who also serves as a non-executive Scientific Advisor to ViSenze; and Dr. Li Guangda, the Chief Technology Officer, who was the lead visual recognition researcher at NExT. ViSenze also employs three other members of the original NExT team that developed the technology.

"We are delighted to see such innovative technologies, which began their lives in an NUS laboratory setting, commercialising successfully to solve real-world challenges. I am also encouraged that a number of NUS faculty members have also spun off to join ViSenze as this demonstrates their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment in creating intelligent search solutions for digital businesses around the world," said Dr. Lily Chan, CEO NUS Enterprise.

About ViSenze

Founded by web veterans and industry leading multimedia specialists, ViSenze is a spin-off company from NExT, a research centre jointly established between National University of Singapore (NUS) and Tsinghua University of China. ViSenze's mission is to unlock the intelligence captured in any rich visual content using sophisticated visual recognition technology and has created a portfolio of innovative multi-platform solutions: ViSearch for intelligent visual Search, ViContext for contextual analysis and recommendation, ViMobile for mobile search and recognition, and ViSight for visual driven business analytics. Through continuous large-scale rapid machine learning and practical R&D based on real-world problems, ViSenze's technology helps today's digital businesses address challenges in fast-growing visual content across web, mobile and social media platforms. For more information, please visit www.visenze.com

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of consumer and business-focused services including e-commerce, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, e-book, portal & media, online marketing and professional sports. Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western Europe and North America. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees worldwide. For more information, please visit global.rakuten.com 

About NUS Enterprise

NUS Enterprise is a University-level cluster that provides an enterprise dimension to NUS teaching and research involving the University's students, staff and alumni. The functions of the Enterprise Cluster complement the academic cluster of the University to nurture talents with an entrepreneurial and global mindset. NUS Enterprise promotes the spirit of innovation and enterprise through Experiential Education, Industry Engagement & Partnerships and Entrepreneurship Support. For more information, visit www.nus.edu.sg/enterprise

About Clozette

Clozette is a fashion social network where women can discover, shop and share fabulous fashion and beauty finds and buys from around the world. It is also a digital platform for fashion brands, retailers, designers and artisans to engage and interact with consumers and fashion tastemakers. Driven by user-generated fashion content, its high-engagement platform delivers unprecedented insights and analytics about consumers' preferences and what is trending in the world of fashion & style. For more information, please visit www.clozette.co

SOURCE ViSenze Pte Ltd