Actionable photography. Made possible by mobile technology.
What was the last photo that you took with your mobile? My last three were:
A photo of a shower gel bottle that talked about a new revolutionary ‘Manwasher Shower Tool’, which left me puzzled. I shared it on Facebook challenging my friends to tell me what that ‘tool’ could be;
A photo of a letter from the tax office, that I needed to email to our accountant. We keep our office paperless… almost;
A snapshot of our whiteboard with results of team brainstorm, which I shared with my colleagues.
What did all these pictures have in common? None of these were photos of friends, family or kittens. All of them have been used to facilitate a conversation, business process or a decision, i.e. all of them have had a follow-up action.
The experience of taking pictures has been totally transformed over the past 10-15 years.
It is estimated that the total number of photos taken in the world has grown from 25bn in 1980 to 85bn in 2000 and is expected to reach 880bn in 2014. Another interesting fact is that about 10% of all photos ever taken have been taken in the past 12 months!
With the quality of cameras on smartphones approaching that of digital cameras, and smartphones’ ability to cater for multi-tasking, photography itself has adapted and become actionable. This is made possible due to the connectivity of smartphones and analytics capabilities behind many mobile applications.
Let me give you a simple example. Digital photography has given a lot of people a chance to show off their real or imaginary artistic skills (taking all those pictures of English breakfast is now free!), and smartphones have given consumers a seamless way to act on these - to share these photos among friends (500+m photos are uploaded and shared daily on the four largest social media platforms) and engage in a conversation.
However, more importantly, mobile technology has also given rise to various utilitarian applications of photography.
Think of a medical application, whereby a photograph of a mole taken by a consumer on his smartphone is sent through an app to a server and processed. Back comes a recommendation to seek urgent medical attention.
At Shopitize, we have optimised the camera using our proprietary technology to understand shopping receipts. This allows consumers to get cashback on their regular shopping directly to their bank account once they have taken a photo of their shopping receipt. For manufacturers and retailers, it provides a window into cross-retailer real-time shopping data, which, when combined with campaign management tools, allows to optimise campaigns in real time, thus increasing marketing ROI.
Who could have predicted that taking a photo of a simple shopping receipt could give so much value back to both consumers and manufacturers?
Co-founder and Head of Business Development