Microsoft has developed a new tool aimed at the retail industry, to identify items by rough images and match them with those in a catalogue.
The ‘Image Segmentation Tool’ will allow companies to manage the large collections of images held by the retailers.
Inventory management is a growing challenge in the thriving online retail industry, as legacy technology means the process can been slow, expensive and error-prone.
Microsoft developers said they were working with a “successful international online fashion retailer” earlier this year to test the technology.
The developers added: “Our aim was to work with this retailer to design an algorithm capable of identifying whether a newly arrived item was in stock using only a mobile phone image of the new item as a reference.
“If the retailer’s staff could snap a photo of a new arrival and use our solution to search their catalog of studio images for matches, we could eliminate the cost of errors and wasted time.”
The new technology comes at a time when online retail is peaking, with sales growing by 18%.