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If you think watching paint dry sounds boring, just imagine doing it full time.

Fortunately, technology offers a solution for such highly repetitive visual tasks. Not watching paint dry per se, but tasks that require continual visual monitoring or frequent inspection. Checking paint jobs in car factories, for example, or counting toppings on pizza, or monitoring the packaging of goods on assembly lines.

These are all highly valuable tasks. Done well, they improve product quality, customer experience, and employee safety. But they’re notoriously difficult to do at scale. The answer isn’t more people, more coffee, or new infrastructure, but the promise of computer vision and machine learning (ML). So far, this vision for the future was only accessible to a few organizations with large R&D budgets. That’s about to change. 

This month, Cisco Meraki announced a strategic partnership with a leader in enterprise-class AI image and video analysis, Cogniac Corporation. The goal: to bring AI-powered computer vision applications to the edge of the network and make this technology accessible to any organization, regardless of their size.

With their combined technologies, the companies will help employees get more done, improve customer experiences, and automate operations in a wide variety of scenarios.

In factories and warehouses, AI-powered computer vision can improve safety by making sure workers are wearing hard-hats and other protective gear. It can track heavy machinery and check for product defects on the assembly line. In restaurant chains, it can monitor finished products to control quality and minimize waste. It can help retailers track high-value inventory to reduce loss and keep products flowing efficiently.

In short, anything the human eye can see, the technology can be trained to see as well. And it can quickly learn to be more accurate than a human expert and to perform at superhuman levels, freeing up experts to focus on higher-value tasks.

The collaboration blends several powerful technologies — namely the Meraki cloud-managed platform and MV smart cameras, along with the Cogniac no-code computer vision platform. Working together, they will allow businesses to rapidly build and roll out ML models that use video and image data to observe key activities without the need of AI experts or new infrastructure. That’s the power of a cloud-managed network at work.

The AI for Computer Vision global market is projected to grow from $7.3 billion in 2020 to $84.4 billion in 2027, according to research analysts. And it’s not just large enterprises that will benefit; the Meraki-Cogniac collaboration also puts computer vision within the reach of small-to-medium-sized businesses so they can grow faster.

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