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Astra, NTT East bring biometric business intelligence solution for SMBs to Japan



Building on a three-year old partnership with NTT East, Taiwanese startup Astra has introduced its biometric facial recognition technology to the Japanese market, writes Digitimes.

Under the partnership, Astra delivered cloud computing-based image streaming and subscription-based facial recognition services for SMBs, generating more than 1,000 paid users on a monthly basis, Gary Kao, Astra CEO and founder, told Digitimes. He further stated that as a result of high mobile telecom competition in Japan, NTT East and Astra have joined forces to deliver “value-added services trying to maintain user bases and increase revenues.”

The services are leveraged by NTT East’s more than two million business users, which include companies in retail and the food service industry. The biometric facial recognition services provided by Astra and NTT East are on subscription basis. For service operation management and device and data processing, an MSP platform was created for NTT East. Facial recognition users can gain insights on members’ and regular customers’ age, sex, and recurring visits, as well as the number of visitors.

“While facial recognition can help users learn more about their members and regular customers, most users hope to understand non-members and irregular customers for retargeting, and this is currently a bottleneck in application of facial recognition technology as well as a problem Astra strives to solve,” Kao added.

Kao explains that Astra technology can inform retail stores, for example, who watched online advertising about the company or give better insights on lead generation and conversion.

Astra leverages facial recognition to compare customers with user behavior in fan groups to identity VIP customers and frequent buyers. The company says it recently identified buyers with an annual average spending of NT$200,000 (US$6,633) on wine and spirits after comparing online and offline data.

Astra came second in a startup contest held under CIAT (Cloud Computing & IoT Association Taiwan) Acceleration Program in November 2019.

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