If you’ve ever fancied the dress Kate is wearing or the hat Zara Phillips has chosen to complement her attire, then soon you could find it in the click of a button.
Shazam is set to create a revolutionary tool that allows its users to find out where an item of clothing is from when it appears on the television.
The new technology will enable shoppers to order a jacket or pair of shoes worn by an on-screen star almost instantly.
Shazam shot to fame after designing a mobile phone application that could identify the name of music tracks on the radio or television. Now they claim they could revolutionise the way that we use mobile devices to shop and consume information.
Andrew Fisher, CEO of the company, told The Observer: ‘We have the ability to identify the product in a TV show so that when somebody ‘Shazams’ it, they could find out where a presenter’s dress is from in one click.
‘We make it easier for consumers to engage with a brand or a piece of content they are interested in, without having to go through search engines, then mining the results.
‘That works with both TV programming and advertising: a 30-second slot can be turned into a three-minute brand engagement – and more.’
Their current mobile phone application that allows people to find out the names of songs they like has been downloaded 20 million times.
When users ‘tag’ music or a TV programme, the Shazam application takes a fingerprint spectrogram sample of the audio content and matches it to a cast database.
Currently, image recognition isn’t functional, but the unique sound content on TV output (at the time of broadcast) would be enough to drive users to the relevant Shazam content on their mobile device.
Mr Fisher hopes that image recognition is the next step but said more needed to be done to comply with Ofcom.
Ofcom said the proposed service was still ‘hypothetical’ in the UK and that ‘all broadcasters must comply with rules on sponsorship and product placement to ensure that audiences are protected’.
The company has already adapted its audio-recognition technology to identify adverts specially adapted to the service.
Last year ITV signed a deal with Shazam which enabled adverts on the television to be complemented with interactive adverts on viewers’ mobile phones.
The technology identifies audio fingerprints of jingles on television ads and brings up related content including extra information, online shops, and further promotional offers.
The company, which employs 125 people in its Hammersmith headquarters and another 40 overseas, claims to be adding two million users a week worldwide.
In the US, where Shazam’s market penetration is also claimed to be a third of the population, the currenty app is used as a ‘companion’ app, delivering extra content to support programming on 160 channels, 24 hours a day.
In the UK, the technology is currently being used to provide supplementary content for limited Shazam- enabled programming, for example the Brit awards where users gained behind-the-scenes access and links to engage directly on Twitter and Facebook.