Vionlabs: using AI for the best viewing experience
How much time do you spend wondering what to watch as opposed to actually watching something? We speak with CEO Marcus Bergstrom about Vionlabs, the company that seeks to cut down this decision-making time.
Hi Marcus. Could you tell me a little bit about what your company does?
Vionlabs was founded to solve the issue of online video viewers spending 25% or more of screen time looking for something they want to watch. We do this through the development of a highly innovative AI, that combines multi-layered deep content analysis and the consumers watch-history to provide the industry’s most advanced content discovery platform. Ultimately, we want to help providers and video streaming services minimize the time consumers spend looking for something to watch.
What makes Vionlabs stand out?
Traditional approaches to content discovery rely on the use of metadata which broadly labels content based on its genre, a few keywords and actor. Audiences are often grouped in a similarly simplistic way, but content and viewing habits are far more nuanced than this and each viewer has their own individual tastes. By leveraging AI, we are offering a unique solution that gives a completely different level of insight into content because videos can be analyzed in great detail and patterns in colors, objects, stress levels, positive/negative emotions, audio and many more features of the content can be detected. AI holds the key to winning audience engagement and delivering a personalized discovery experience which is one of the main reasons why a subscriber converts from a trial user to a premium user and stays with a video service.
What was your last major milestone and award?
We were thrilled to debut our AI-powered Content Discovery Platform at the IBC Show in Amsterdam this year where we received a Best of Show award. The Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in media and entertainment technologies launched over the past year from the 1,700 exhibiting companies, so it was a huge win as it recognises the market impact of our platform from launch in improving user experience and solving an issue that frustrates consumers on a daily basis.
Another big win for us was the 2019 VideoTech Innovation Awards earlier this month, where we won the Highly Commended Award in the UX Award category. This awards programme celebrates innovations that have enhanced the business of video distribution and the video consumer experience and the high calibre of industry experts on the judging panel meant it was particularly pleasing to be recognised, and less than 6 months after we launched our product.
Is there any exciting news you’d like to share with our Business Chief Europe readers?
Our platform is already being deployed by video streaming services. This year we announced SF Anytime, a service available in the Nordics, is using our content discovery platform and is already generating very significant uplifts in video-on-demand buy-rates and viewer engagement for its customers. We’re also continuing to build on our market presence and recently we have expanded into the US and hired our first sales head, Kevin Odden to lead our commercial operations in the region. We also expanded our advisory board with the appointments of Anette Schaefer and Hanno Basse.
What can we expect from your company in 2020?
SF Anytime is one of the first companies that we have announced a partnership with and we are looking forward to announcing more in 2020 as we continue building market awareness about the important role of AI in content discovery.
About Marcus Bergström
Marcus Bergström is the CEO of Vionlabs AB, a Stockholm based Media Tech company with a unique approach to applying AI and machine learning to understand the emotional context of content and utilize that unique data to create more accurate discovery.
Previously Marcus was the CEO of Edge Gravity by Ericsson (EG). The Edge Gravity Unified Delivery Network is a live edge cloud platform, built in partnership with broadband service providers to deliver the next generation of edge scale applications from targeted industry verticals. Marcus drove the global build-out and scaling of the company including acquisitions and spinning the unit out of Ericsson.
Marcus has a Master Degree in Finance (2014 at Stockholm University and National University of Singapore).
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GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”