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Annotate Smarter

How to Find the Right Data Annotation Tools in 2024 and Beyond

In this post, we will provide you with insights and guidance on how to choose data annotation tools that best suit your project's needs




Admon Foster

Find the Right Data Annotation Tools in 2024 and Beyond

As we look ahead to 2024, selecting the right data labeling tools becomes increasingly important for AI/ML developers and businesses alike.

In this post, we will provide you with insights and guidance on how to choose a data annotation tool that best suits your project's needs while also exploring future trends.

Key Factors to Consider When Selecting Data Labeling Tools

Does it support the required data types?

Training data is vital for the development and evaluation of supervised machine learning models, with annotated data providing high-quality ground truth for algorithms. Different application scenarios and tasks require annotating various data types and forms.

Different types of data for annotation

The most common categories are:

  • Computer vision data: Essential for autonomous driving, industrial quality inspection, security surveillance, and retail. Data types include images, videos, 3D sensor fusion data, and 4D-BEV data. Medical AI has also gained traction, with medical image data annotation (e.g., X-rays, CT scans, MRI, pathological sections) becoming increasingly popular.

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) data: Enables machines to understand, generate, and process human language. Data types include text, audio, native PDF, and image-text correspondence data.

Choose a platform that aligns with your project's specific data type requirements.

Check the Top 10 Data Labeling Platforms List >

Does it support the annotation tasks I need?

For image data, common annotation tasks include image classification, object detection, semantic segmentation, instance segmentation, etc. Annotation forms include bounding boxes, polygons, pixel-level annotations, and more.

Video data consists of a series of image frames and contains temporal information. Video annotation tasks include object tracking, action recognition, video description, etc. Annotation forms include tracking boxes, keypoints (and skeletal points), timestamps, etc.

3D sensors such as LiDAR and depth cameras can collect point cloud data. Point cloud annotation is crucial for autonomous driving and robotic vision. Annotation tasks include 3D object detection, 3D semantic segmentation, or the detection of elements such as lane lines, curbs, vehicles, and pedestrians.

3D Point Cloud Data

For text data, such as news articles, product reviews, and social media content moderation, common text annotation tasks include named entity recognition (NER), relation extraction, text classification, and syntactic analysis. As for speech data, such as user voice commands and customer service call recordings, annotation tasks include speech recognition, speaker separation, emotion recognition, etc.

Similar to the previous question, some annotation platforms may only have 2D bounding box tools for annotating images and videos, making them unsuitable for 3D sensor data annotation. Therefore, it's essential to choose a platform based on your project's needs. For broad annotation tasks, choose a platform with comprehensive annotation tools.

Check the Top 10 Data Labeling Platforms List >

How efficient is its annotation process?

As you may have experienced firsthand, manual annotation is time-consuming and labor-intensive.

For object recognition model training, publicly available datasets may not perfectly cover the application scenarios required by your project. Medium-sized tasks may contain around 20,000 images that need manual annotation.

How many people in your team are responsible for annotation? When starting a new project, teams often consider three approaches to ensure the project progresses on schedule: expanding the number of annotators, choosing more efficient annotation tools, or outsourcing the annotation tasks. Sometimes, a combination of these methods may be used.

Expanding the number of annotators significantly increases costs, and not all projects are suitable for outsourcing data annotation tasks, especially when sensitive data is involved. Regarding annotation platforms, having built-in AI algorithms for assistance can significantly increase efficiency without incurring additional costs.

Many annotation platforms are embracing this approach by integrating algorithms for automatic or interactive annotation. However, it's important to remember that both humans and machines can make mistakes. No model can guarantee 100% accuracy, so human review and verification are always necessary.

Check the Top 10 Data Labeling Platforms List >

Does it have a comprehensive quality control mechanism?

The quality of data annotation directly affects the performance of AI algorithms, making quality control a crucial step. A comprehensive and strict quality control process can keep the annotation error rate low, ensuring the delivery quality of data annotation. Before annotation, clear annotation guidelines need to be established. After annotation, data merging and cleaning are required. During the annotation process, platforms generally adopt the following quality control methods:

  • Quality inspector role: A mature collaborative annotation system usually has quality inspector and acceptance inspector roles. The former is responsible for comprehensively or randomly checking the accuracy of annotations and performing operations such as commenting and rejecting. The latter is responsible for the final verification of annotation delivery.

  • Real-time quality inspection: Some platforms have a real-time quality check feature that prevents the submission of annotations that do not comply with the guidelines, nipping errors in the bud.

  • Machine quality inspection: This is a relatively new feature where the system can perform batch inspections of annotation results based on user-defined rules.

  • Cross-validation: A multi-person cross-validation approach employs multiple annotators who annotate the same data, and the consistency of annotations is checked through result comparison.

Only platforms with efficient and smooth quality control functions can guarantee the quality of training data, enabling data-driven intelligent applications to achieve excellent results.

Check the Top 10 Data Labeling Platforms List >

Does it seamlessly support collaboration with team members?

If you're not a solo developer, data annotation work may need to be completed jointly with other team members. Successful projects rely on an efficient and flexible collaborative work mechanism.

In an ideal system, the annotation project should be divided into tasks and flexibly assigned based on data type, quantity, priority, and other attributes. Once tasks are assigned, the platform should be able to track the progress of each task in real-time. If progress is delayed, the platform should promptly alert managers to take countermeasures.

Efficient team collaboration requires a clear division of labor and management. The annotation platform should have member management functions, allowing managers to customize different roles and permissions for team members and incorporate them into the workflow. Sometimes, you may also need to collaborate with other teams.

Data annotation tools

Some platforms support adding models to the workflow for batch algorithm inference, truly achieving human-machine collaborative annotation. For novice annotators, the platform should also provide comprehensive training courses and learning materials to enhance the team's overall annotation skill level through regular training and assessments.

Check the Top 10 Data Labeling Platforms List >

Does using it help with cost control?

As a crucial part of the AI industry chain, data annotation cost control directly affects the R&D budget and product landing cost of AI companies.

An excellent annotation software platform should provide flexible and cost-effective pricing plans for users with different needs while ensuring annotation quality and efficiency, adapting to the requirements and budgets of teams of various sizes.

Moreover, to achieve precise annotation cost control, the platform should have comprehensive performance statistics functions. Team managers need real-time insights into the execution of each annotation task, including task duration, completion rate, error rate, rework rate, and other indicators. In particular, it should be able to track the workload and efficiency of each annotator, promptly identify high-performing and underperforming individuals, and provide targeted rewards and assistance to increase annotation output per unit time.

Check the Top 10 Data Labeling Platforms List >

Future Trends in Data Annotation Tools

Data annotation tools are becoming increasingly intelligent

Future annotation tools will become more intelligent by leveraging AI technology, a trend already evident among mainstream annotation platforms.

More annotation platforms may introduce cutting-edge AI techs such as few-shot learning, active learning, and incremental learning into the annotation workflow. Few-shot learning allows models to learn and generalize quickly with very few annotated samples, significantly reducing annotation costs. Active learning enables models to select the most valuable data for annotation actively, optimizing the allocation of annotation resources. Incremental learning allows models to quickly update and adapt when new data arrives, improving their real-time performance and accuracy.

These can greatly reduce annotation costs, improve annotation efficiency, and continuously adjust data selection and annotation task allocation strategies based on annotator feedback and behavior patterns. This leads to personalized customization and dynamic optimization of the annotation process, providing users with personalized annotation interfaces and tool recommendations, ultimately improving annotation efficiency and quality. Intelligent annotation tools can also actively discover data quality issues through data analysis and mining, prompting users to make corrections and optimizations.

Data demand in the NLP field is growing

With the rapid development of NLP technology, the demand for high-quality text data is also growing.

In the coming period, the AI field will pay more attention to the collection, cleaning, annotation, RLHF and other aspects of NLP data, requiring platforms to provide more professional and comprehensive one-stop text data processing functions. For example, platforms can integrate various NLP models such as semantic analysis, entity recognition, and sentiment classification to automatically perform preliminary annotation of text data, supplemented by manual verification and correction, thereby significantly improving the efficiency and accuracy of text data annotation.

Models will generate demand for multimodal data

Multimodal AI technology is also on the rise, and the demand for annotation of multimodal data such as text-image, video, and speech will also grow rapidly.

Future annotation platforms will fully embrace multimodal data and provide one-stop data processing solutions. Platforms can integrate various technologies such as OCR, speech recognition, and video segmentation to extract text, objects, scenes automatically, and other information from images, videos, and audio, generate preliminary multimodal annotations, and then have them manually verified and refined. Platforms can also provide advanced functions such as multimodal data fusion, alignment, and search, facilitating users to perform cross-modal data analysis and utilization. This allows users to more efficiently mine and utilize various knowledge assets generated during the annotation process, realizing the smooth flow and value-added knowledge between people and people, as well as between people and AI.

From Data-Centric to Human-Centric

Technological progress must always be guided by human needs.

In the future, data annotation platforms will shift from being data-centric to human-centric, becoming intelligent, integrated, and ecological annotation communities that fully meet the differentiated needs of various roles, such as machine learning engineers, annotators, annotation business teams, project managers, and AI researchers.

Platforms are expected to provide flexible data customization functions, support various data formats and annotation task types, and ensure data quality through automation tools and quality control mechanisms. This will not only satisfy algorithm engineers' craving for large-scale, high-quality, and diverse annotation data but also provide annotators with a stable, efficient, and attractive work experience through clear and friendly task allocation mechanisms and intelligent task matching.

Human-centric Data Annotation

For annotation business teams and project managers, the goal is the efficient management and delivery of annotation projects. Therefore, platforms need to provide powerful project management functions, including task decomposition, progress tracking, resource allocation, and risk warning, to help them fully control the project status. Platforms also need to offer rich data analysis and visualization tools to help them gain insights into key indicators such as annotation data quality trends, team performance, and cost-effectiveness, allowing them to optimize project strategies in a timely manner. Additionally, platforms should integrate various collaborative office tools to facilitate daily management activities such as team communication, document sharing, and meeting scheduling.

We believe that there should be no isolated islands in the AI landscape. Through personalized function design and service optimization, each platform will continue to enhance user experience, stimulate user engagement, and allow various talents to find a sense of belonging and achievement. Each role's needs are met and interconnected, empowering the healthy development of the artificial intelligence industry chain and promoting the evolution of the AI training data industry towards a more intelligent, specialized, and community-oriented direction.


Choosing the right data labeling platform always requires careful consideration of factors such as data type compatibility, annotation task support, process efficiency, quality control mechanisms, team collaboration, etc. As the AI landscape evolves, platforms that embrace intelligent tools, cater to growing NLP and multimodal data demands, and prioritize human-centric design will be well-positioned to support future R&D. Click below to check our latest blog post on the Top 10 Data Labeling Platforms to select a platform that meets your project's specific needs.

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