Podcast: Toch’s Vinayak Shrivastav on adjusting to a work-from-home lifestyle

Toch, operated by Vogueme Technologies Pvt. Ltd operates a video meta-tagging platform that provides services including video object detection, tagging shopping products, and advertisement placements.

The company – founded in 2016 by Vinayak Srivastav, Saket Dandotia, and Alok Patil – raised $500,000 (around Rs 3.5 crore) in April.

But how does a startup operating in the artificial intelligence and software-as-a-service ecosystem manage product expectations. And how does it convince potential customers that its platform is better than traditional structures?

In this edition of Know Your Startup, Toch co-founder Vinayak Srivastav talks about implementing feedback while building products at a fast clip, as well as how the startup has adjusted to a remote-working situation.


VIEW: Unlocking the potential of AI for enhanced video content services

India’s online video market is projected to reach USD 4 billion by 2025, with subscription services contributing to more than USD 1.5 billion.

Video content has been a welcome respite to escape the uncertainty that currently prevails across the globe.

Without a shadow of a doubt, technology has taken the center stage in our lives. Especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has been turning to technology to maintain a sense of normalcy. As we continue to grapple with the crisis and remain indoors for a majority of the time, digital entertainment, particularly video content has been our go-to solution to keep ourselves occupied and entertained. Video content has been a welcome respite to escape the uncertainty that currently prevails across the globe.

As a result of the burgeoning demand, the number of players in this space has skyrocketed in recent times. Staying on top of the video content sector might, therefore, be a daunting task that is exacerbated by the fierce competition at the moment. Here, technology becomes the differentiator.

OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, etc., dominate the online content providers market, and the exponential progress that these platforms have achieved in recent times can certainly be attributed to cutting edge technologies such as AI and ML. Let us take a look at technology’s instrumental role in today’s video content market and how content providers are leveraging it to enhance their services and expanding their customer base.

Optimised time consumption
Recent times have seen a significant shift in the content consumption habits of consumers. With increased internet penetration and smartphone usage, consumers have shifted from traditional television to online videos on OTT platforms. So, how is AI helping the online video content providers?

As one of the most in-demand technologies at the moment, AI is helping address issues that online video content providers such as OTT platforms may face. As technology advances, internet connectivity and speed have increased considerably, and content providers are offering the option for consumers to stream content in high definition and even 4K quality. However, certain broadband connections may not be able to stream 4K quality videos quickly resulting in heightened buffering time. AI helps solve this by determining the video quality that would be best suited for streaming depending on the strength of the broadband. This enables the consumer to stream videos uninterrupted and also reduces the time and data consumed.

Personalisation of content
When it comes to content consumption, people tend to be extremely selective about their choices, i.e., they choose content that is in sync with their interests and preferences. Today, consumers prefer to view content that is in line with their interests and don’t spend time browsing through content that is irrelevant to them. While content providers can’t analyse each consumer’s interest manually, AI comes in as a saviour. With AI, content providers can learn about the preferences of consumers through watching/browsing patterns and customise the content accordingly. AI helps in tracking viewership patterns and helps content providers make changes as per the viewer’s interest.

Today, technology has grown leaps and bounds, and players in the media industry are leveraging proprietary AI and ML to discern data about consumer behaviour. This will help platforms in not just the OTT industry but e-commerce too, to cater to consumer requirements. These technologies help in unleashing the untapped potential of video content in online communication, OTT, and e-commerce domains.

Another aspect we must consider is that today, with the advent of technology, broadband connections and mobile data are available at affordable prices. In 2019, there was a 47 percent growth in data consumption with the 4G network accounting for 96 percent of the total data traffic in India. This makes it simpler for both consumers and OTT platforms in terms of easier access to better services leveraging technology. Additionally, technologies such as AI also allow brands to monetise their ads better, giving OTT-based marketing a significant advantage over traditional television marketing in a way that makes it easier to reach the right audience.

AI is a technology that is constantly evolving and reaching new heights every day. As more and more brands begin to unlock the potential of this novel technology, the future will certainly see unimaginable progress in tech-driven solutions to help businesses surpass others in the industry. Undoubtedly, Artificial Intelligence is creating waves of transformation in the current video content market and we are yet to discover its full potential!

—Vinayak Shrivastav is Co-Founder and CEO – Toch. The views expressed are personal