Guide On How To Outsource Bounding Box Annotation

Guide On How To Outsource Bounding Box Annotation

Bounding Box annotation is one of the most popular techniques of tagging images for the purpose of creating training data sets for Machine Learning (ML) which forms an input into the development of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine.

What is Bounding Box Annotation?

It is actually fairly easy to visualise. Let us take an image of a street side. There are many objects that will perhaps be present in it; shops, people, stop lights, cars, bicycles, trees, and many more. Let us suppose we need to identify different objects in the picture for an AI application, say to train driverless vehicles. Now imagine we draw a tight rectangle around each of these objects. In other words, we bind or ‘bound’ them within these rectangles. The rectangle that surrounds the object becomes the ‘Bounding Box’ within which the object is enclosed.  

The method of distinguishing the objects for the AI engine will be based on distinguishing the Bounding Boxes from each other and will be guided by the objectives of the AI that we are feeding into. For the present, let us assume that each type of object will be captured inside a rectangle of a different color. Thus, all stop lights will be inside blue rectangles, all bicycles inside red rectangles, all shops inside green rectangles and so on. This way, the program will gradually understand the difference in the types of objects that are being ‘bounded’ and learn about the properties of these objects. This will enable the program to identify these objects even when there is no Bounding Box around them. A related element that will be taught alongside is the action the AI engine should take when it encounters an object of a particular type.

This process is referred to as Bounding Box Annotation and is what you get when you outsource Bounding Box Annotation.

The general usage of bounding boxes is as a two-dimensional, rectangular figure, though there are other methods also that involve polygonal and three-dimensional annotation. These are, however, referred to by those names and not as Bounding boxes.

Use Cases

There is a wide variety of applications in a wide range of industries and sectors that data enriched with the help of Bounding Box Annotation outsourcing is used in. A few examples:

Online Retail and Ecommerce

Objects sold on ecommerce websites can be identified with the help of bounding boxes and annotated according to their specifications. In a vast, busy, online store, it enables the shopper to get information about the product by simply hovering or clicking on it. The billing and checkout process is also automated as a result.

Object Detection with Robotics and Drone Imagery

Image annotation with the aid of bounding box annotation outsourcing is also widely used to label the objects from the point of view of robots and drones.With the help of images annotated with this technique, autonomous machines like robots and drone can identify a variety of objects they are likely to encounter and learn to react according to the rules they are taught. The varied range of objects can be captured into bound boxes making it easier for robots and drones to detect similar physical objects from a distance and behave accordingly.

Detection of damage and insurance claim estimation

Damage inflicted on a vehicle as a result of an accident can be assessed with the help of trained AI. The training is able to identify and isolate the different parts and assign a cost to it. This can also serve to keep a check on incorrect evaluation done manually. As an example, if the difference between the two is beyond an acceptable range, it gets referred to an internal arbitrator.

Types of Bounding Box annotation outsourcing

The outsourcing can be of various types, the essential idea being that they make it easy to identify and work with visual data that, in its raw form, is not understood by computers and machines. Some common ones:

Geo-Tagging Services – Enable us to identify the location of an image, generally done by using the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates associated with it. Occasionally it is further enriched by additional data like heights, depth, etc.. It can be used for location-specific news items, or enabling a rescue team to reach a disaster site.

Image Descriptor Services – Provide information on the object from many different perspectives on various features; color, texture, direction, etc.

Multi-label Classification Services – Traditionally, classification of an item confines it to one category. Multi-label classification does not limit itself to mutually exclusive categorization and can assign an object to multiple categories. Like a typical ‘tag.’  

Image Retrieval Services – Enable retrieval of images in a world which is increasingly being driven by audio visual media, typically through a software that browses, searches and retrieves images from a large database of digital images. Most traditional and common methods of image retrieval utilize some method of adding metadata such as captioning, keywords, title or descriptions to the images so that retrieval can be performed over the annotation words, and are mostly manual.

Choosing a provider for Bounding Box Annotation Outsourcing

When you outsource In a B2B relationship, choosing a partner is an important decision, as it has an impact on downstream areas of work. Hence, it is an event which is done carefully and deliberately, in the hope that it will not need to be done again and again. The following paragraphs offer suggestions on what you, as an outsourcer, should bear in mind while making this choice.

The partner should have the ability to deliver work of a consistently high quality, meeting and exceeding accuracy levels desired. Prior experience doing similar work is desirable, supported by sound bites from existing clients. Even better if it has been done for a competitor or another company from the same industry, though not possessing prior experience should not be a reason to disregard the vendor. Familiarity with the different types of bounding box annotation outsourcing is desirable.

oWorkers has over 8 years of experience in serving clients from different industries. Our clients are mostly referenceable and prominently displayed on our website. As a BPO with focus on data entry and related services, we offer unmatched quality in our chosen areas of work.

When you outsource bounding box annotation, as a thumb rule, it should not cost you more than your inhouse processing cost. Pricing terms (also often known as Commercials) offered should be competitive, in line with other bidders. While low is preferable, if the offered price is much lower than others, it should be looked into carefully. The vendor may have ulterior motives; like preventing a competitor from winning the deal and then backing out themselves after some time, leaving the client in the lurch.

oWorkers might be one of the few BPOs that offers a transparent pricing choice to clients; between a per unit of time-based price and a per unit of output-based price. Our clients, especially from Western Europe and the US, have consistently reported savings of up to 80% over their pre-outsourcing costs.

In a world with an accelerating pace, faster delivery is better than slower. It is no different when you outsource bounding box annotation. In any case, quicker delivery should also be beneficial for the vendor as that leaves him with the opportunity of doing more work, which generates revenue for them. Hence, speed of delivery is an important consideration.

With three centers located in the most desirable outsourcing geographies of the world, oWorkers provides the flexibility to handle spikes by splitting it across its centers. Our focus is on quick turnaround times, overnight in many cases, leveraging time differences around the globe. Our facilities operate on a 24×7 schedule because of which we can provide overnight delivery even if there is no time difference.

BPO is a people dependent business. If it (the work) could be automated, it would have been. Many of the tasks BPOs support business with, bounding box annotation outsourcing being an example, are being done because only a human being can do it at this point in time. The prospective partner should have the ability to continually draw the right quality resources at reasonable prices, so that they can continue to deliver on client outsourced programs.

oWorkers has been consistently ranked highly on Glassdoor by its employees. It must also be highlighted that we have employees who do our clients’ work, and not freelancers or contractors. We are deeply rooted in the communities we are located in, and are viewed as a preferred employer by a large section of the community, giving us the flexibility to ramp up and down speedily, as well as access to a steady pool of resources to select from, based on our stringent EQ, IQ and other hiring profile assessments.

As cost of resources is an issue of huge consequence for BPOs, since frontline agent cost is perhaps the single biggest item on the Income Statement, BPOs prefer to hire what may be referred to as ‘raw’ resources; or resources that do not possess advanced educational degrees or any material business experience, and provide them training to make them fit-for-purpose, depending on the purpose, which could be doing Shopify date entry or be a part of the bounding box annotation outsourcing team.  

Training is one of the bedrocks on which the success of BPOs has been built. oWorkers has a committed team of trainers who work on new hires to not only provide them an induction into the industry, but also prepare them for handling its rigors. Training is generally provided in two phases; an initial generic phase to train them for the BPO world, along with common skills like typing and language, and a subsequent round which is client and project specific. 

Technology remains the key enabler. In fact, for BPOs, technology can also be called the progenitor, responsible for its birth and growth. The BPO industry is also referred to as ITES (Information technology enables services) and came into existence when software and communication technologies had developed to the point that made it possible to take work away from expensive downtown real estate and highly-paid resources.

Through our partnerships with leading providers, oWorkers offers clients access to the latest technologies when they outsource bounding box annotation to us. More than 85% of our clients are technology companies.

Joined at the hip to technology is Data Security. Since data pertaining to the client’s business is accessed by the vendor and their staff, and since it moves around often, it needs to be ensured that access to it is controlled and monitored. Also, networks through which client data pass, should be segregated logically. In fact, this is now an even bigger concern, with a majority of staff working from home. How does the provider ensure security of data?

oWorkers secures client data by logical separation of networks. We go a step further and can even physically segregate areas where the client’s work is being done, through physical access control.

With an increasingly global world, and rising ambitions and aspirations, where every business wants to reach out to customers around the world, a provider who can support these ambitions and growth plans would take preference over other, more localised ones when. This is true for bounding box annotation outsourcing as well. Language support is an integral part of this support. When you need support in an additional language, do you want to go hunting all over again for a new partner, and end up having a string of small providers, or would you rather that your existing partner provide the additional support?

oWorkers in uniquely placed to offer support in over 22 languages across our three centers. This is available to you when you outsource bounding box annotation to us, or any other data entry related work that we specialise in.

It is important to have checks and balances within the system to prevent wrongdoing, attempts at fraud as well as inaccuracies and errors creeping in. Many BPOs provide this in the form of a Quality team that does not report in to the delivery team, but senior management. They act as representatives of the client internally and enable the delivery organisation to catch such errors and fix them before they become visible to the client. A Quality team is considered to add significant value in the delivery focussed work of a BPO.

Our Quality team, while working with the delivery team, is independent in terms of the reporting relationships and its line goes directly to the senior management. This allows its output to be uncolored by pressures from the delivery team, and also ensures that senior management of oWorkers is in the loop regarding the progress of the engagement.

Management support is what brings the organisation together, enabling it to operate with a common purpose. Though there is no specific measure or tool to assess this, it is expected that if you are already running a successful business, and now seek to outsource bounding box annotation, you will be able to judge this during the various interactions it is likely you will have with the provider’s management team.

With hands-on experience of over 20 years in the industry, the oWorkers management team leads from the front. Not just in the initial negotiations, but throughout the course of an engagement with a client they remain deeply involved.

In Conclusion

Whenever you are ready to outsource bounding box annotation, oWorkers will be ready to take it on for you, working as an extension of your team, enabling you to stay focussed on your core business activities.

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