M14 Intelligence has been aggressively tracking all the disruptive technologies and untapped markets within the autonomous, connected, electric, and shared mobility industry since past 5 years. Data annotation being one of the highly growth prospects in the autonomous vehicle industry, we got the pleasure of discussing this market closely with the Co-Founder Mr. Anup Kumar of Carabiner Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Through the discussion we understood more about the company’s unique annotation solution OCLAVI and its role in automotive industry.
Mr. Anup believes that, though India is running quite slow in the race of developing and deploying autonomous vehicles, the country is certainly ahead in deep learning and AI software development for AVs. Several data annotation service providers have come up in the recent past in India making it a hub of high quality and precise data annotation and labelling content. It is attributed majorly to the highly experienced and skilled professionals that the country holds.
“The labelling of objects is crucial for any computer-vision based models and holds high growth potential in the automotive, healthcare and Agri-tech industries. The total addressable market for annotation is expected to reach nearly $3 billion by 2027”, according to Mr. Kumar.
Role of OCLAVI
The journey of Carabiner Technologies started in December 2018 with an aim to meet the growing need for data labelling in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning industry. As, data annotation is the basis of any AI based model and adds extreme value to it, the company is highly focused towards delivering the automated annotation tools to automotive, healthcare, retail, and manufacturing industries. The company works with a mission to solve the real-world problems by helping the AI developers with highly precise and accurate training data through its annotation tool. Its API ready classified data is making the job of AI developers quite easy and time saving. The company’s OCLAVI solution that stand for Object Classification and Annotation for Computer Vision Models is a fully automated tool designed to offer a complete solution for the data labelling and annotation to the developers who need to focus on their core model development. The company is working towards providing the universities and the PhD students with an open source data annotation tool and supporting them with hand-on experience. The commercial solution is also available for the big brands as well as the annotation service companies. Huawei and Visteon are few of the company’s users using the data annotation solution; while the University of Surrey, University of South California, St. Jude Children’s research hospital, Clemson university, and Radcliffe department of medicine are its non-profit users.
Data privacy and pricing model
OCLAVI is a platform being used by many big giants and even the annotation service companies and follows the ethics of data privacy of the clients. The company understands the client’s requirements and do not go into the cruces of the project or the idea behind it. Hence it is considered as one of the highly secured and trusted platforms in the industry. Anup says “Our platform follows all the data privacy guidelines and don’t store even a single image of the client’s data, every image and video related to the project is stored only at the client’s end until the client opts for a custom option.”
Regarding the pricing model, he said “Our platform is quite free for students and universities, except there is a one-time license with subsequent upgrades via a perpetual license. The students and universities opting for free tools just need to mention in their thesis and papers that OCLAVI was being used as a tool in their project.” The company’s pricing model is on ‘per user per month’ basis, as it primarily offers the software solutions. The annotation service is also provided with the company’s registered partners. The large consumer services-based companies require annotation services on regular basis, but they do not have software tools. OCLAVI is the best platform for such companies that allows them to use the annotation software tool as per their flexibility with minimum monthly charges. It costs the user around $15/seat/month (as of Sept 2020) under the professional package which offers API and Email support along with unlimited objects and labels. The company claims that it has the best pricing ratio in the industry.
Automated annotation software and manual data labelling
According to Anup, the complete automated annotation tool also needs some sort of manual interventions not at a scale but to a certain extent. The autonomous driving industry is very much complex and requires a combination of manual and automated tools for annotating the sensors and vehicle models. He elaborated further by saying, “Mostly in the autonomous vehicle industry, there is always a need to manually add certain labels to train the models. For example, if you train a deep learning model for a specific city or country, there is high possibility that the objects in another city or country might not be the same. Hence, once you deploy a model there are subsequent models that need to be trained and deployed as well”. The combination of ground-truth labelling and the automated tools is always the best solution for the annotating the data for autonomous vehicle industry. Also, outsourcing these tools or services is always a better option for the OEMs and tech companies, as they can utilize their time and resources by focusing on developing their core technologies and models.
Target markets and competition
Automotive and healthcare are the prime markets for OCLAVI, however, the company is open to all the markets and applications, from wherever the demand comes. Also, it is currently focusing on the U.S. and the European markets.
The competition has recently become quite aggressive in the annotation industry; however, OCLAVI still has the first mover advantage for its software tools. Anup quoted “When we started off, we were the only company in India providing the solution/ platform in the market compared to companies who were trying to provide annotation as a service”. Also, the company is planning to launch few more first in the industry features that would help the users to annotate data more efficiently. Outside India, Anup considers Figure Eight (acquired by Appen) as one of its competitors and Playment within India.