Salesforce Einstein Vision Brings Image Recognition to CRM Apps

Moving to expand the capabilities of its Einstein AI software, Salesforce announced developer tools it says make it easy for any company to develop image recognition apps for CRM.

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Salesforce Einstein is gaining image recognition features. Salesforce.com has announced Einstein Vision a set of application program interfaces designed to help companies build customer relationship management apps with image recognition features.

While image recognition and CRM may not seem like an obvious fit, Salesforce said the pairing has huge potential. For example, companies could use the image recognition to check on inventory levels or product quality as well as spot customer preference trends.

Einstein Vision lets developers leverage pre-trained image classifiers, or train their own custom classifiers to handle a wide variety of specialized image-recognition use cases.

“Any developer can easily embed AI and image recognition to any app for text or voice data or image capture,” Ally Witherspoon, director of marketing at Salesforce, told eWEEK. “These custom apps can be unique to their business and specific to their brand. Because it’s part of the Salesforce platform, it’s also part of the workflow so it can easily be used to augment a marketing campaign.”

Witherspoon cited several examples of how pilot customers are already using Einstein Vision including a large retailer in Europe who has developed a program to identify key words in customer reviews to help them identify problems.

Michael Machado, director of product marketing at Salesforce, said the goal of Einstein Vision, as with other Einstein releases, is to make data science more accessible.

“We’ve taken a complex machine learning problem and got it down to an API layer where customers can build any AI-powered application,” Machado told eWEEK. “We have built a simple UI to show how it generates a model. Instead of customers having to buy GPU servers and develop complex models, they can focus on their customer’s problems and upload their files to our cloud service.”

Machado demonstrated how in just a few steps Einstein Vision could be trained to recognize the difference between a flat and a pitched roof when reviewing images of houses. One potential use case for this would be to help a solar company more easily identify houses that are best-suited for solar panels.

Einstein Vision can be embedded to enhance applications in a number of ways including:

Visual searchthat lets consumers use visual filters to find products that best match their preferences and take photos of products to discover where they can be purchased—in-store or online.

Brand detectionto analyze user-generated images in communities, message boards and social media, giving marketers a better understanding of their customers and potentially improve the return on investment of their marketing campaigns.

Product identification of images to give sales and service reps the ability to remotely evaluate product issues, manage inventory and analyze product mix and selling potential.

Salesforce also announced that Einstein apps for sales, service, marketing and commerce that it announced earlier are now available as part of the company’s Spring ’17 product release.

Einstein Vision is currently in a pilot or test phase release, but is expected to be generally available later this month, the company said.

In a separate Einstein-related announcement, Salesforce said it has added 15 new startups to its Salesforce Incubator. This international group of startups, which covers a broad range of applications and industries, plans to build Einstein AI features into the apps they are developing.

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...