Megan Gell
Jul 16, 2018

Kairos acquires facial recognition startup, expands into Singapore

“Asia is home to over half the world’s 'digital population'. So, it's a massive opportunity for us."

Kairos acquires facial recognition startup, expands into Singapore

Kairos has announced the acquisition of EmotionReader, an Ireland-based AI startup that uses algorithms to analyse facial expressions around video content. Co-founded by Singapore-based Dr. Stephen Moore and Dr. Padraig O’Leary in 2017, EmotionReader was backed by Enterprise Ireland, one of Europe’s largest VC funds.

As part of the deal, Kairos will consolidate its R&D team in a new Singapore office led by Dr. Moore, taking advantage of the region’s AI talent and giving it a platform for an upcoming APAC expansion.

The office will primarily be an R&D hub with technical support also operating for the region in order for Kairos to cover most commercial timezones comfortably. It is also planning a dedicated sales outpost.

“The Asia-Pacific market is expected to be the fastest-growing market with regards to adoption of AI, in particular the adoption of image, video and pattern recognition technologies,” Kairos CEO Brian Brackeen, told CEI.

“Asia is also home to over half the world’s 'digital population'. So, it's a massive opportunity for us. Not to mention the region's AI talent is abundant, world-class, and commercially fluent with real applied AI use cases, not just academic theory.

“In our mission to fix biases in today’s face recognition algorithms, we’re thrilled to welcome to Kairos some of the best deep-learning talent in the world."

Moore has been appointed chief scientific officer of Kairos.

He said: “The EmotionReader team is looking forward to working with Kairos to make state-of-the-art face recognition accessible to all. With recent advances in AI and deep learning, we’re at a tipping point where AI will change the lives of millions of people for the better. Kairos is perfectly placed to make this a reality and do it in a socially responsible way to benefit all.”

The Singapore government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to develop AI programs at universities, and Kairos is strategically partnered with several institutions to facilitate future talent recruitment and IP adoption.

Application for events

Kairos already works with major event providers in the US, and will be offering these products and solutions to the Asia-Pacific market.

“When we set out, our goal was to release developer tools that made it easy to integrate face recognition with practically any camera-enabled software solution,” said Brackeen.

“This has worked well, yet the feedback we got was also how we might help even more with developing industry-specific integrations, that are tailored for the specific requirements of an event, digital signage or a marketing activation.

“So, the next step in our plan is to focus on solution services. We're helping partners and customers in a variety of areas; such as business analysis, user experience design, and even fully custom build-outs on top of our AI platform.”

With EmotionReader’s research team on board, Kairos will be working hard to push the limits of current face recognition systems to be more accurate in real-world conditions. Specifically, in optimising the algorithms to work without bias on all races, ethnicities, genders and ages of faces.

“Events may draw a diverse crowd of people, so Kairos would be able to reduce the misidentification problems many other systems have; therefore creating a more inclusive digital experiences for all event goers,” said Brackeen.

“The emotion component, allows us to understand more about people as they interact with the event's digital touch-points; organisers and vendors can leverage these emotional inputs to provide more adaptive, personalised experiences.”

And, as face recognition systems are adopted for new use cases, potential IP opportunities will be a focus to cement Kairos a leader in this space, including diversity of algorithms, automatic learning faces template as faces change over time, plus offering anti-spoofing solutions.

Brackeen said that Kairos will expand further in Asia Pacific, but the details are under wraps for now.


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