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Justin Sharps December 22, 2022

Holiday Gifts from Encord! (Encord Product Update November 2022)

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Happy holidays everyone! 2022 is almost over -- but before we sign off for the year, wanted to drop a couple holiday presents in your inbox!

Easy onboarding with annotator training modules

Building on our powerful benchmark QA functionality, Encord has created a special sandbox training space for you to bring your annotation team up to speed. The training module allows you to create projects with a designated set of groundtruth labels which serve as a rubric to quickly evaluate new trainees. Annotators will be learning to annotate on data that closely resembles production data, in the production labeling environment, with a specially tuned performance dashboard to help you evaluate and educate your team as fast as possible. Contact us if you’d like to hear more about the training module!

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Improved image group support

We’re expanding our support for groups of images forming a single labeling task from our previous video-only representation, to include support for the original images as well. This means images of different aspect ratios can be a part of one task and preserve full quality of the original image. If you upload via the GUI and want the original image representation, be sure to uncheck the optimised video option. For those uploading with JSONs or CSVs from private cloud, follow our documentation.

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Required attributes implemented at application level

Encord introduced the required flag as a communication tool so that teams could indicate to their annotators which nested attributes are required. Despite possible slowdown in the annotation process, feedback has been strongly in favor of actually enforcing attributes at the application-level. We listened. Henceforth, Encord will prevent labels from being submitted for downstream processing unless all required attributes are filled in — annotators will receive a warning if they’re trying to submit a labelling task with missing required attributes. Labels may still be saved in any state to ensure no loss of progress. 

To ensure there's a smooth roll-out of 'required' attributes, we will begin enforcing this feature with select customers who have requested it be turned on, and scheduling a full roll-out over the course of Q1 2023. Reach out if you and your team would like to take advantage of the required behavior. Please keep-in mind this will affect any previous submitted label tasks as well.

Previously submitted labels which remain in the ‘Complete’ state will not be affected, but any task that enters the annotation queue, including previously completed and re-opened tasks will now be subject to this behavior. Reach out if you’ve any questions about how enforcing required attributes can change and empower your annotation workflows!

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Sorting the label editor

If you have many objects or scene-level classifications, it may be difficult to find just the one you’re looking for. We’ve now introduced the ability to sort instances according to when they were created or by when their appear in your media, either ascending or descending, making it a breeze to find what you need!

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DICOM is not just hanging around

In addition to usability and performance improvements including enhanced window level support by view pane, we’ve also rolled out preset tiled layouts from 1x1 to 4x4, to more easily support the hanging protocols used by medical professionals in various situations. Going forward, we’re investigating adding support for other more complex presets or even pre-populating tiles with relevant data according to particularly common or useful workflows. Please reach out if enhanced hanging protocol support is an important consideration for your DICOM tool, we’d love to evaluate how we can help facilitate your annotation workflows!

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The SDK will now fetch your metadata too

The SDK debuted a couple critical features customers have been asking for to enhance general functionality. Private cloud users can now set arbitrary metadata with data units such as images and videos, and use the SDK to fetch that associated metadata back with individual data units. We’ve also been expanding the SDK support for ops-level work, and you can now add users to datasets as well using the SDK. It’s also been keeping pace with all the features necessary to keep up with benchmark QA released over the last month! Head to the changelog for all the latest!

Announcement: Deprecating ‘app.cord.tech’ domain

As part of continuing focus on shifting towards supporting our Encord name, we are deprecating  the app.cord.tech domain, and will be fully removing support at the end of January 2023. This means if you access the application via app.cord.tech (or indeed, any other *.cord.tech domain), we can no longer provide support for any issues that may arise as of Q1 2023, and the domains will cease working at the end of January 2023. Any access via app.cord.tech will be automatically forwarded to app.encord.com.

For those who simply access the app, there should be no change to your daily workflow. However, for those working with data from private buckets or other cloud integrations, please ensure your CORS policies are updated to allow access from encord.com by the end of January 2023 or there may be data access difficulties.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding this!

Around the web (and elsewhere)

The team made an appearance in Chicago at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) ‘22 back at the end of November. We had a great time meeting many of you, learning about diverse use-cases, and exploring how our DICOM annotation tool and workflow management  features can accelerate annotation in radiology focused work. We also enjoyed handing out some “Encord brains!” If we missed you, it’s never too late to drop a line and don’t hesitate to drop by next time!

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Our co-founder Ulrik also chimed-in on predictions for AI in 2023, along with other industry leaders in Venture Beat: https://venturebeat.com/ai/ai-will-thrive-in-3-areas-despite-economic-conditions-experts-say/. We’re expecting to see advances in generative AI and of course… data-centric AI.  We’d love to hear your thoughts about what’s in store for AI in 2023!

We’ll wind down this holiday letter with some gratitude towards you, our customers. We pride ourselves on our customer centric approach, understanding and quickly responding to customer needs. We’re proud to announce that with your support, G2 has announced Encord a High Performer for Winter 2023

We’re both motivated and privileged to be supporting some of the most innovative and interesting applications of computer vision and machine learning. We wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year and look forwarding to growing and supporting you next year and and all the years to come!