Realeyes, a UK-based company that claims to use AI technology to analyse emotional responses, is entering the Japan market after securing investment from NTT Docomo and Global Brain, a Japanese venture capital firm, among others.
In a statement, Realeyes said the $12.4 million round of funding would support its expansion into Japan as well as helping to build its business in the US and EMEA region. It is currently operating in Japan via a reseller called Intralink.
While its primary application to marketing activities, it said it wanted to develop its offering in new areas “such as smart cities, mental wellbeing and robotics”.
The company uses webcams to measure people’s emotional responses and attention levels as they watch a piece of content. It also analyses the sentiment of custom survey responses. Mikhel Jäätma, chief executive, said Realeyes wanted to “humanise technology” and “enable our devices to understand what truly drives us”.
Realeyes is currently working with NTT’s marketing divisions, according to David Waterhouse, a UK-based spokesperson. The company has also worked with Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Shell, Mars and Expedia, according to its statement.
Waterhouse said Realeyes planned to open an office in Japan this year or in early 2020. He said a possible new application of the technology was to enable robots or virtual assistants to understand whether people are paying attention, are bored, angry or happy.
Video advertising company Unruly also offers emotional analysis through its Unruly EQ and Custom Audiences tools, which it says help advertisers target the people most likely to engage with their work on an emotional level.