After seeing a 3D face scan, a common statement is:
"Amazing, but are any companies using 3D face scanning to impact their business?"
Does this sound like the question you have?
Many new innovations start out looking like a toy, not useful or a dumb idea. The original Mac was widely called a toy. Thirty-six years later it is still going strong. The concept of renting an air mattress at a stranger's home was widely panned. Soon, Airbnb is expected to have one of the largest IPOs ever. The hotel industry, who dismissed Airbnb for a long time, is now being heavily impacted.
Is it better for your competition to integrate 3D face scanning first to determine if there are customer benefits?
We've been solely focused on 3D face scanning technology for over 6 years so we've done a lot of the work to identify lead users and early markets so you don't need to. We'll outline some of what we have found in this article so you can decide how or if 3D face scanning can benefit your business.
Perhaps some of these examples are competitors you can learn from.
Lead users take new technologies and try to find how to build a better solution than exists today. The solution they create provides greater benefits than is offered from existing products and services. The lead users are seeking to gain a competitive, first mover advantage that results in revenue growth, cost reductions and improved profitability.
Our lead users have told us they, at a high level, are using Bellus3D face scanning technologies to create more personalized products and services. Personalized means that the end customer perceives the product or service to be specific and personal to them.
Examples include a custom face mask that fits the contour of your face to improve protection against COVID-19. Eyeglasses that exactly, comfortably fit the first time. A beauty face mask that matches the shape of your face and delivers unique skincare ingredients to different parts of your face.
Lead users have told us that the potential benefits of personalized products are:
Higher customer satisfaction and loyalty
Increased product/service usage
High word of mouth recommendation which lower customer acquisition costs
Lower product return rates which leads to higher profitability
Does reducing the return rate, by say 50%, matter to your business?
The eyewear industry has about a 15% return rate for prescription glasses and frames. Eye glasses are bought in a retail store but there is still a high return rate even though retail associates have measured the customer's face. Why is that?
3D face scanning helps with both of these issues.
There can be a high degree of variability with a person doing eyewear measurements. A 3D face scan provides very accurate, consistent, full face, millimeter level measurements that can be used to properly size a frame to the eye, nose, and ears. Further, the measurements provide more consistent and accurate information for how to set the prescription focal point.
And, because the customer can scan with an iPhone, virtual try-on is enabled from the touch less environment and comfort of their home to show the customer what the personalized, custom fitted glasses will look like on their face. No back and forth trips to the store. Glasses are typically delivered directly to you at home.
Multiple successful enterprises as well as new start-ups are using our iOS Bellus3D Face Scanning SDK to create personalized eyewear that have return rates below industry averages. Further, once the practitioners has facial measurements, what other beautification services could be offered?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. Pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep occur more often than normal in people with sleep apnea. Those affected may experience sleepiness or feel tired during the day. More than 22 million Americans have sleep apnea and 80 percent of sleep apnea patients in the USA remain undiagnosed, according to Philips Respironics.
One solution is a breathing device that includes the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to assist with breathing while sleeping.
A poor fitting mask contributes to the issues identified below.
Philips Respironics has traditionally seen close to a 30 percent failure rate for customers that use manual fitting methods to select a mask. The mask fitting problems were causing significant revenue loss as customers returned and/or stopped using the device and service.
Philips worked with Bellus3D face scanning technology to create a custom mask selector, called Mask Selector 3D. It helps a customer get the right sized mask the first time. Philips Respironics is now seeing a 90% setup success rate with the first mask recommendation resulting in better efficiencies at fitting clinics, a safer touchless fitting process during the COVID epidemic, and improved patient acceptance of CPAP therapy.
Philips Respironics Mask Selector 3D
The skin care market is huge. Sheet masks are offered by many different companies. There is a huge array of choices that brighten, hydrate, soothe, smooth and more. Each provides a different set of ingredients.
Most sheet masks don't fit the face well. Folds, bunching and skin coverage are just some of the problems and leave users having to accept the user of an industrialized “standard fit” that in fact does not fit any one user correctly. The fitting problem centers around the industry trying to create standard sizes based on 2D images of customers. Sheet mask providers did not know how to get the 3D measurements of a customer's face and translate that into a 2D, custom, personalized, printed mask. And to capture that data on a high volume consumer scale was even more challenging.
Bellus3D worked with Kose to create custom fit sheet masks for customers in Japan. A Kose in-store app scans the customer's face, gathers the 3D contour of their face and outputs a 2D face image that is passed to a laser processing machine that cuts and creates a personalized custom fit sheet mask while the customer waits in the store. As satisfaction goes up with a personalized beauty mask, the potential for selling a monthly subscription to a service increases.
Kose In Store Scanning and Printing Station
There is a big market for people that want to improve their smiles by improving their teeth. It can be costly. More importantly, potential customers usually have few ways to visualize how their teeth will look after a multi-month or year long set of procedures of new implants, caps, realignment or even how they could look with dentures. No one wants to spend thousands of dollars in cosmetic dentistry and not have a visual understanding of the projected outcome.
With Bellus3D Dental Pro, dentists now have a way to scan a patient's face and show digitally adjusted teeth within a 3D model of the patient's face. Now a new smile can be visualized before the patient has to commit to the costly, time consuming teeth procedures.
Bellus3D Dental Pro app
Global toy sales reached $90.7 billion in 2019. In the toy industry, companies tend to position themselves in specific categories. As in other industries, these companies strive for constant differentiation.
The advances of low cost color 3D printing has enabled a new emerging category for 3D figurines, game pieces, trophies and memorabilia that you can hold in your hand but most importantly have your face on the figurine! This is personal personalization. Personalized 3D figurines are truly unique products that inherently establish an emotional bond and as a result an increased importance and value to the owner (e.g. loyalty). The unique and personalized nature of these products enable premium pricing over the standard mass produced versions.
Dermatologies, aesthetic practitioners, cosmetic and plastic surgeons are starting to use 3D scanning technologies. Dermal fillers and selective muscle relaxation injections such as Botox ™ are used by doctors and cosmetic enhancement clinics to enhance cheeks, smooth wrinkles, increase the lip volume iand attend to the facial appearance as requested by their patients
Consistent and standardized photo documentation of patients is essential for treatment planning, patient motivation, and patient records. Most of the industry uses 2D photographs to capture various profiles of a patient's face over time so the doctor and patient can discuss proposed treatments and compare the progression. The problem facing most clinics is obtaining consistent photographs that utilize the same views of the patient with the same lighting and exposure conditions. Frankfurt planes are used as an attempt at standardizing the position of the 2D capture however this has mixed results and requires specialized training of staff.
The use of 3D face scans have multiple advantages over traditional 2D photos since much more data is acquired during capture including the face in 3D, facial feature detection points, and pose orientation. As a result, the final view of the 3D face can be oriented after capture thereby relaxing the constraints during capture and reduced technician training. The 3D face scan brings another advantage for comparing faces. Multiple 3D face scans can be registered and aligned automatically together so that comparison is much easier.
Lead users in the industry are already using Bellus3D products to scan patient faces pre-op and post-op for clinical review with their doctors. These scans are exported and brought into other software for comparison and review to visualize changes in the face over time from the procedures. If patients can clearly visualize the improvements, there is less regret and more likely improved word of mouth for future referrals. While there is no "return risk" here, there are clear business benefits of clearer communication with patients.