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Protect 2018: Yitu Technology Brings AI-Powered Facial Recognition To The Philippines

March 18, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

A bleeding edge Chinese startup was one of the highlights at the recent Protect 2018, the annual security conference whose latest installment took place from March 12 until 13 at the New World Makati Hotel. The Shanghai-based Yitu Technology was a gold sponsor at Protect 2018 and joined the accompanying exhibition to showcase its facial recognition software.

Yitu Technology was founded in 2012 by two engineers who wanted to advance the state of homegrown artificial intelligence (AI) in China. The company has so far passed three funding rounds from investors on either side of the Pacific Ocean and has offices in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Singapore, and Silicon Valley. Yitu plan on introducing facial recognition and big data analytics products to the manufacturing and service sectors in the Philippines.

With facial recognition having gone mainstream in China the same companies who’ve led the charge are now searching for new markets. Yitu Technology inaugurated a satellite office in Singapore at the beginning of the year and, based on the company’s promotional material, now have Certis Cisco and Changi Airport Group among their clientele. There hasn’t been any other recent news about its expansion in the rest of ASEAN but its founders are preparing to enter Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand soon.

Yitu’s AI-based “solutions” are grouped into five categories. These are Smart Security, Smart City, Smart Healthcare, Smart Finance, and Smart Hardware. When it comes to the first category Yitu boasts having the world’s largest “portrait comparison platform”–a database of facial IDs used in China–that’s powered by its machine vision algorithms. Yitu’s Smart Security system is tailored for monitoring bustling public spaces and interiors and can track individuals and their vehicles as they move.

But Yitu’s own Smart City solution doesn’t seem as novel since it’s an analytics tool for real-time data collected over a local area. Judging by their promotional material, the Smart City solution’s main thrust is measuring traffic and the performance of public infrastructure. Smart Healthcare, on the other hand, is far more comprehensive and offers tools for patient diagnostics, indexing medical records, and an assisted scientific research platform for labs. A Yitu manager did claim 30 hospitals in China already use their Smart Healthcare products.

Yitu’s Smart Finance is another “intelligent hardware” suite that brings together its facial recognition technology and a collection of security tools. One of Yitu’s most appealing products in this category is facial recognition installed on ATMs that allows clients to forego their credit and debit cards when withdrawing money. Yitu claims China Merchant Bank already uses its facial recognition cameras on their ATMs.

Yitu’s broadest product category is Smart Hardware, which involves setting up AI-powered terminals for almost any conceivable need, from cashless transactions to someone’s daily commute. The end goal is improving current user experiences as they interact with technology while going about their lives.

Since its founding in Shanghai seven years ago Yitu has established itself at the forefront of AI providers thanks to widespread adoption across China. The startup began to grow rapidly in 2014 after a successful series A round with two venture capital firms. Some of Yitu’s high profile clients include social media empire Tencent, hardware leader Huawei, the Wanda Group, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, and state-owned entities like China Immigration Inspection, China Customs, China Unionpay, and China Merchant Bank.

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