Data Labeling Tools: How to Level up Your Process

From spam filtering to personalized chat bot experiences, AI innovations are becoming a facet of our everyday lives. Most companies, if they haven’t already, are considering adopting AI and machine learning tools in their internal and external processes. What many people don’t realize if they haven’t worked with AI and machine learning technology before is that you can’t just go out and buy a functioning algorithm that’s ready to go out of the box for your specific use case and your data. Before you can use an AI algorithm or machine learning model, it has to be trained to your use case. To train the model, you need data. Not only do you need data, you need high-quality, labeled data, and not a small number of data units. That’s where data labeling tools come into play. Data labeling tools or software are used to label high volumes of data quickly and efficiently so it can be used to train an AI model. Finding the right data labeling tool for your company’s project is critical so that your company doesn’t waste its time or money.

Data Labeling Tools

The Importance of Data Labeling to Your Company

Data labeling is a critical step in training and working with machine learning and AI. Without accurately labeled data and high quality training data, your AI program won’t be able to function well. For true success implementing AI at your company, you need good training data that’s correctly labeled.

What is Data Labeling?

Data labeling is the process of collecting the data you will need to train an AI algorithm and correctly labeling each piece of data. Without proper data collection and labeling, your data will be useless and unable to be used as training data.

What is Training Data?

Training data is data that has been labeled and is ready to be used to teach AI models or machine learning algorithms how to interpret data correctly. High quality, properly labeled data is critical to the success of any AI model or project. If you have bad training data, you’ll get bad results from your algorithm.

What is Data Labeling Software?

Data labeling software is a tool that can be used to find raw data and to label the data that will then be used to train a machine learning model. The raw data used by data labeling software can include text, audio, and video files. Because machine learning models must be supervised while learning how to interpret data, it’s critical to have high-quality data that’s properly labeled. Good data labeling software can be more efficient and more accurate than human labeled data.

What to Look for in a Data-Labeling Platform or Software

A data-labeling platform or software program is a tool you can use to collect and label data that will then be ready to train your AI or machine learning algorithm. There are a number of different productions and solutions on the market that can gather and label training data, the key is to find the right tool for your company. When evaluating tools, you want to look for something that’s user-friendly and that will make the process of collecting and labeling data effortless for your company so that you can continue to move forward with your AI and machine learning goals. Here’s what you can look for when evaluating a data-labeling solution.

Quality Assurance (QA)

If you want your AI or machine learning algorithm and tool to work properly, you need high quality data. Otherwise, you fall into the trap of “garbage in and garbage out”. When evaluating data labeling solutions, you want to look for a software or company that will guarantee their data labeling accuracy. Be sure to find out what is included in their quality assurance policy and what steps they take to ensure the accuracy of their data labeling. Another aspect to look for when evaluating quality assurance in data labeling is a combination of machine and human interaction. While some data labeling can be done without human intervention, human QA checks will likely be needed throughout the process. If the tool doesn’t provide skilled data annotators as part of the QA process, you may need to look for another tool.

Accessible Management System

When choosing a tool or software for data labeling, you want to evaluate the project management system. You’ll want to be able to monitor and manage the project progress, worker productivity, quality assurance checks, and data labeling workflows. You want to look for a data labeling solution where the project management system can be seamlessly integrated into your current workflow and tools ecosystem.

Ability to Scale with Your Company

While you may be starting out with a small AI or machine learning project to try your hand and see if it’s beneficial for your company, if you find that it’s incredibly successful, you’ll want to be able to scale up your data labeling and collection of training data. The right data labeling solution will be able to scale and grow with your company.

The Highest Levels of Security and Privacy

Any time you’re dealing with large amounts of data, one of the first questions to ask is the security and privacy of that data. Whether you’re dealing with sensitive data or seemingly easily-acquired data, you want to work with a data labeling solution that has data privacy and security top of mind.

Readily Available Help Desk

As with any new solution or software, there will be a learning curve as you start using the program. And, there’s bound to be a problem or two along the way. You’ll want to have a contact on the support team or a help desk that you can reach out to solve any problems you find yourself facing. Before choosing a data labeling tool, be sure to find out what their help desk and support policies are like so you can minimize disruptions to your workflow.

Ability to Get You Data On Your Timeline

Another concern that you will want to address with any data labeling solution before investing is whether or not they’ll be able to work on your timeline. You’ll want to be able to get your high-quality, properly-labeled data on schedule and on your timeline.

Choose Based On Your Use Case

Another concern to think about when you’re evaluating data labeling tools is what type of data you need labeled and then how you will be using that data. Different data labeling tools specialize in working with specific types of data, such as text, images, or video. If you’re needing data labeled that’s outside of their specialty or niche, it’s important to evaluate whether or not they’ll be able to handle your data needs. Each type of data comes with its own unique challenges for accurately labeling that data. Using these metrics to evaluate different data labeling tools and solutions will help you to be able to find the right data labeling tool for your needs and to solve the problems your company is facing.

Why Not Build Your Own Training Data Set?

Is it possible to build your own training data set? Absolutely! The real question is, do you want to? Because the performance of your AI model depends on the quality of your training data, unless you have the in-house capability to learn how to collect and accurately label that data, you’re most likely not going to want to DIY this project. While data collection and labeling may sound simple on the surface, there are a number of stumbling points where you can go wrong, waste your time, and create unusable data. As well, building your own data collection and labeling tool may leave you with little room for growth or adjustment. Most custom-made tools are not designed to be flexible. Another benefit of buying a data labeling tool is that it allows you to get started on your project right away. No waiting for the tool to be built and then to collect the data. We have a more extensive piece on data annotation tools build vs buy dilemma, if you’re interested in learning more.

How Appen Can Help

If you’re looking for a data labeling tool to help you level up your process, Appen is here to help. We work with over one million skilled contributors, in more than 170 countries and working in 235 languages and dialects to collect and accurately label high volumes of data, including images, text, speech, audio, and video data. No matter what type of training data you’re looking for, we have the resources to collect and label it. We have multiple security options, all the way up to ISO 27001/ ISO 9001 accredited secure facilities for the most sensitive of data needs. For over 25 years, we’ve been providing high-quality training data to leading technology platforms around the world. If you’re looking to level up your data labeling process, look no further. Data labeling is an essential step in any machine learning or AI project. Without well-labeled data, you can’t operate an AI algorithm. With state-of-the-art tools and trained, skilled contributors, you can get high-quality, properly-labeled data to get started on your AI project today.
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