It was the early 2000s when a group of university researchers in Linköping, Sweden started analyzing human faces in images and videos. Their aim was to produce computer vision algorithms that could extract facial information so it could be stored and analyzed as required.
The group strived to perfect the process and created a platform that was better and also much faster than any competing system. This series of discoveries and breakthroughs led to the birth of Visage Technologies AB in 2002.
The organization’s technology focuses on face and head tracking, including state-of-the-art face detection, eye tracking (gaze tracking), face analysis (gender, age and emotion estimation), and face recognition. This immense detection prowess is bolstered by industry-beating support for all major platforms and embedded systems.
A unique mix of research, knowledge, experience and cooperation, combined with consulting and custom development services have helped the company’s clients make the most of this cutting-edge technology.
With more than 200 clients in 50 countries ranging from small startups to large multinationals, as well as academic and research institutions, Visage’s technology is truly universal. For clients requiring custom development services, its teams have successfully completed projects ranging from days to years.
From an early focus on face animation, Visage Technologies has gradually adapted to strong market demand and is now fully focused on face tracking and, more recently, eye (gaze) tracking and face analysis. It continuously and actively engages with its clients in order to incorporate their requirements into subsequent versions of its products.
The company has grown rapidly in the last few years, and currently consists of around 50 full-time engineers, with a large number of part-time employees engaged on temporary sub-projects. Visage Technologies was ranked number eight on the Sweden Technology Fast 50 list of companies for 2017.
From Researchers to Leaders
Visage Technologies was founded in Sweden by three university researchers, Dr. Jörgen Ahlberg, Prof. Igor Pandzic, and Prof. Robert Forchheimer. All three worked together in the early 2000s on developing the MPEG-4 Face & Body Animation standard.
They held positions at universities in Linköping and Zagreb while working with the company. Today, Jörgen Ahlberg is the Chairman of the Board. He runs the Swedish arm of Visage and is well-connected in the vibrant computer vision, machine learning and AI industries.
A Unique Approach to Technology
In a comprehensive SDK, Visage Technologies offers all face analysis functionalities (face detection, face tracking, facial motion, gaze tracking, facial expression analysis, gender estimation, age estimation, and face recognition) while its competitors only offer some of them.
As an added advantage, the organization also helps its customer build their own product or service on various platforms.
Visage Technologies licenses its face tracking technology and adapts it to the customer’s particular needs, implementing apps and services on multiple operating systems (including Windows, iOS, MacOS, Android, Linux) as well as on the web (through HTML5). Its services include custom development of computer vision software that provides face tracking technology or specific computer vision software which the customer demands.
These customers benefit from the state-of-the-art face tracking technology regardless of the platform or platforms on which they want to deploy the service. In addition, Visage’s team of highly-qualified software and algorithm developers gives the company a cutting edge that helps it to solve customers’ problems.
Sailing through Rough Weather
Visage reveals that it made its foray into the segment largely in response to customer demand. Originally, the organization was more focused on algorithm development, but adapted when it became obvious that the market wanted more.
While also selling licenses separately, its solutions team offers customer development projects ranging from simple API modifications to building a complete product or service.
When Visage Technologies was founded in 2002, computer vision was not sophisticated enough for its targeted applications; it took the company several years to find the niches where its technology could be applied to fully exploit its potential.
After ten years of struggling with almost no revenue, the market exploded. Since then, the company has had to contend with the rapidly growing demand for its services.
Preparing for a Bright Future
When Visage Technologies was founded, computer vision was mostly an academic field without wide industrial application. It took about a decade for this to change, and now the company is changing the industry instead.
Each day sees new applications of computer vision, and the challenge for Visage and other companies in the industry has become finding qualified engineers in the field.
When it comes to the future, Visage Technologies is planning continuous expansion. It will continue to innovate in its fields of specialization by recruiting a mix of engineers and researchers to stay at the forefront of computer vision, machine learning and AI software development.
At the same time, the organization will broaden its scope, and help its customers develop new applications that it itself has not imagined.