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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Nybl: Saudi Startup to Expand AI Solutions
According to co-founder Nour Alnahhas, nybl was formed for the greater good. A visual data mining and machine learning platform, the platform will help organisations streamline their operations. ‘We wanted to centralise our vision around AI and machine learning’, said Alnahhas. ‘Something not just for profit, but added value. Conscious capitalism’.
Nybl aims to democratise artificial intelligence by making it possible for anyone to build an AI solution. What website builders like Wix and Squarespace did for site design, nybl will do for AI—allowing even non-coders to feel comfortable creating solutions. In fact, Alnahhas calls it a ‘Shopify of AI’, or a third-party platform that helps businesses deliver better service.
With hubs in Kuwait, the UAE, North America, and India, nybl is focused on launching operations in Saudi Arabia, Alnahhas’s home country. When the company first launched, it was difficult to convince Saudi Arabian businesses to work with a startup. Yet now, nybl has proven itself. ‘We had support in the UAE, so now we’re coming back’, said Alnahhas.
Alnahhas has launched a pilot with Saudi Aramco and has slowly built partnerships with paper, heating, HVAC air conditioning, and manufacturing companies. In addition, the Saudi government has started to invest in the Kingdom’s National Strategy for Data and AI, which means that nbyl, as a tech startup, has finally gained credibility.
No War for Talent
One of the most critical parts of nybl’s expansion will be hiring the right individuals. Thankfully, there’s a current surplus of talented researchers, developers, and data scientists within the Kingdom. Like nybl’s Alnahhas—educated at the University of Houston, the Wharton School of Business, and INSEAD— many Saudi Arabians have benefited from government-sponsored education abroad.
Last year, Saudi Arabia signed several partnerships with tech firms to advance the Kingdom’s skills in artificial intelligence. ‘It’s exciting to be in Saudi Arabia where there’s alignment and support’, Alnahhas concluded. ‘You’re getting an increasing talent pool. And even old and big family conglomerates are finally changing to use AI’.