With companies busily jumping into video, the content they are creating contains vast amounts of data and insights which are largely being ignored. That’s the view of Brad Hunstable, founder of video streaming company Ustream, which was acquired by IBM earlier this year.

One of the reasons Hunstable decided to sell the company he founded back in 2007 to IBM over other interested parties was the cognitive abilities of IBM’s Watson. For IBM, the acquisition formed IBM Cloud Video Services unit, alongside another strategic acquisition, Clearleap.

“Digital video is probably one of the most untapped data and insights sets that is out there. Most of the data in the world is really dark data — unstructured — and with video virtually all of it has been traditionally unstructured, making it very challenging to process,” Hunstable, CEO of Ustream, told Which-50.

“A big reason I sold the company to IBM over other options is what we are doing with Watson. We are taking the powerful cognitive technology and applying it to video cloud solutions to unlock new data and insights and really try to create personalised viewing experiences.”

Previously video has been focused on delivery and basic analytics, Watson takes that a step further by understanding what is happening inside the video to drive business decisions, Hunstable said.

Ustream was acquired in January 2016 and following six months of getting set up and integrating with IBM, the new cloud video unit has unveiled three new technologies which leverage Watson to unlock the value of data inside videos.

  • Live Event Analysis uses Watson to translate video into text in real time. That text is then simultaneously combined with Twitter feeds and other data sources to gauge an audience’s reaction to content in real time. For example, during a live stream of a product launch marketers can monitor the audience’s reaction and adapt their messaging.
  • Watch out video editors, the robots have arrived. Video Scene Detection automatically segments videos into meaningful scenes to make it more efficient to find and deliver targeted content. Watson learns what a scene looks like and can automatically segment video into scenes based on higher level concepts, such as sporting highlights. Watson was used to create a movie trailer for the horror film Morgan using this technology.
  • Audience Insights integrates IBM Cloud Video solutions with the IBM Media Insights Platform, a cognitive solution that uses Watson APIs to help identify audience preferences, including what they are watching and saying, through social media. It can then be used to provide recommendations of what to watch next. In an enterprise context, businesses using video to train their sales force can match the video content with an individual’s sales performance to provide recommendations for training videos based on areas they need to improve.

“It’s not just about analytics anymore, it’s about doing things that help you be more efficient and increase ROI,” Hunstable said.

“That’s the difference, rather than having numbers on paper and reports of analytics we are driving behaviours and helping them be more efficient and make better recommendations using the cognitive capabilities.”

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