In 2012 I was approached by a contact and his colleague who had a desire to exploit their advanced technical knowledge and skills, specifically in the areas of AI and image analysis. Both have PhDs in robotic engineering. There are a lot of algorithms and open research in these areas but these two experts felt that their edge is their multi-disciplinary knowledge and unique perspective. Their initial ideas were around creating 3D models from supplied 2d images and video, such as building models for real estate marketing purposes.
I connected the technical experts with another contact of mine who has experience supplying technical solutions to the real estate market, and is someone that I have previously partnered with and who I consider a valuable business strategy advisor. We received a detailed technical presentation from the experts and then completed a brainstorming and market analysis process to identify potential business applications for the available technological skill set. Our initial advice was to focus on the highest value aspect of the technology, that was closest to practical realisation, and had the least competing methods of achieving similar value. To this end the Real Estate industry was quickly dropped as the value of 3D models was not high and competed with myriad alternate and cost effective methods of presenting real estate product.
Instead eye tracking software was identified as a candidate for further development. It is applicable to a variety of business uses, current offerings are expensive and complicated, often requiring the use of custom hardware. The technical partners in the venture that we have proceeded with were confident they could deliver a cost effective scalable eye tracking solution that would compete on technical deliverables with more expensive and less scalable competition.
xLabs Gaze is now at proof of concept stage and we are taking to potential partners about the next steps. We will soon be demonstrating uses of our technology with selected eye tracking usability studies on well known web sites and testing assumptions of user behaviour and existing business models – for example, exactly how much attention do Facebook ads get? Additionally we have completed initial research into various market verticals and are assessing the business case of specific products that will leverage xLabs Gaze.