Seeing AI functionality in the UK

iOS & iPadOS

Hi All,
Has anyone who has downloaded Seeing AI in the UK managed to read product barcodes? I've tried this with 3 or 4 different items and I get nothing. Total silence is all I get no matter what I do no beeps. If this is the case that it is unavailable it seems very odd that finally they release this in the UK without this ability. Any help appreciated if I'm doing something wrong.



Submitted by kev lyon on Friday, December 1, 2017

I've tried about 20 items, I get bleeps, but then 19 out of the 20 items gave me "not recognised" and I tried each item at least 5 times. overall pretty useless.

Submitted by steven carey on Friday, December 1, 2017

Hi Lee and Kev,
I have got the Seeing AI app working to an extent but the problem appears to be that the product database only contains branded goods.
For example, I scanned Heinz Baked Beans, Colmans Mustad and a bottle of Taylors port and no problem, the bleeps increase as you bring the camera closer to the barcode and eventually you get a click and the product name is spoken.
However, when I tried a series of products that were own brands I got what Kev reported. I got my partner to read out what the products were and they were all from retailers such as Sainsburys, M and S and Tesco. I have not had a chance yet but perhaps we should contact the app designer (who sounds British from the on-app teaching aids) and report what we have found. However, I guess most of these own brand products are not on standard barcode databases. As you say, if Microsoft cannot get hold of these barcodes, then, that part of the app will never be anygood as many people in the UK buy a range of products, some universal and some own brands and designers need to realise that we need as comprehensive a database of items as possible or else apps like this become almost useless.


Submitted by Nathan Stocking on Saturday, December 2, 2017

This is probably a database issue--I don't know where they have gotten their current lists, but it is quite likely that non-brand items haven't been included. I don't know if there is any likelihood of getting anyone at Microsoft research to fix it. I know someone who worked in an area where work on this system was done, although he personally had nothing to do with it, which was at Microsoft's Beijing research group. If someone can be identified that works specifically with this app, they might be able to add these items into the database, but I'd expect a long wait as you navigate the large set of Microsoft research employees.

Submitted by kev lyon on Saturday, December 2, 2017

ah yes, I suspect the branding is indeed the issue. I've a suspicion however that, despite the huge market for supermarket own brands here in the UK, these will either be very slow to be added to the database, ... if ever. which does make that part of the app less than helpful sadly. it is only one part of the app however. :)

Submitted by Lee on Saturday, December 2, 2017

Thanks guys. This may well explain it. A shame really. Lets see if it gets better going forward.

Submitted by steven carey on Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hi guys,
I've contacted the SeeingAI team to see whether they have an answer for us regarding the database of products for the Seeing AI barcode reader. No answer as yet as I sent an e-mail late on Friday evening but expect something early next week. However, as I said and you have also agreed, I'm not sure the answer will be positive.


Submitted by steven carey on Monday, December 4, 2017

Hi again Guys,
I received an answer from Saqib from the Seeing AI team yesterday regarding the functionality of the Seeing AI barcode reader.
The anser was short but sort of confirmed our idea that the barcode reader only included branded product barcodes. They suggested that the team were adding product barcodes from unbranded products all the time but had no real answer to say when or whether it will ever become fully functional. In my view, the app is great but without a full or nearly full barcode database, the app is not really useable. Just consider standing in your kitchen for hours trying to find a can of tomato soup only to find thad that you never find it as it is a non-branded product! A complete waste of time in my opinion.


Submitted by Lee on Monday, December 4, 2017

Hi Steve, thanks for this. We'll just have to wait and see.