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VZV: Verizon Ventures Podcast

In this series, we bring together Verizon industry experts, investors and startups to discuss today’s most innovative technologies and their industry predictions. Over the course of several episodes, listeners will be treated to unique perspectives from our guests on the state of various industries, new and exciting developments, as well as insights on trends we can expect to see in the long term. We’ll cover off on topics like AI and chatbots, enterprise IoT, video and content, and consumer IoT and the Smart Home.
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Feb 17, 2017

There are places where digital and traditional co-exist, even on digital platforms.”

(click to tweet)

Welcome back to part 3 of Verizon Venture’s live video content discussion, where we continue to discuss the evolution of branding content and the constantly growing media and entertainment industry. Joining us are the talented:

  • Ivana Kirkbride, Chief Content Officer for Go90, a Verizon company.
  • Allison Stern, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer for Tubular Labs.
  • Matt Levin, Co-founder and CEO of Donut Media.
  • Rhoades Rader, Head of Content Studios at Mitu, a Verizon Ventures portfolio company.
  • Allen DebeVoise, Managing Partner of Third Wave Ventures.    

Television in the last 15 years has begun to fill a void that was created by the movement in the film industry.

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • When you think about what it means to look at Youtube and other platforms, it shows a lot of opportunities. We’re just at the beginning of what that means.
  • Television in the last 15 years has begun to fill a void that was created by the movement in the film industry.
  • If you look at the movie model, one 90 minute piece of film can produce $1 billion in revenue. If you look at the live programming model and compare them, it doesn’t work.
  • From a spectacle perspective, there are different value prospects in the live programming models compared to traditional formats.
  • Context in platform matters. You have to treat each ecosystem as it’s own unique beast.
  • Platforms mature and change and at their best, are self reflexive.
  • Audiences mature, and so do their expectations in the TV and entertainment fields.
  • Every platform will see more formats evolving and more sophistication from the audience, thus leading to the industry being able to take more risks.
  • Success comes from keeping an eye on the content and data. What works and what doesn’t work? Be aware.
  • Audiences now have a short attention span, and more places to go for their content. It will become harder for businesses to captivate them if they do not stay on top of their content data.
  • 2017 predictions; Allen: Facebook and YouTube do more premium content with their audiences.
  • 2017 predictions; Rhoades: More traditional narrative structures beginning to manifest in the digital space.

Every platform will see more formats evolving, and more sophistication from the audience, thus leading to the industry being able to take more risks.

(click to tweet)

Resources

Go90 https://www.go90.com/

Donut Media http://www.donut.media/

Tubular Labs: https://tubularlabs.com/

Mitu Studios: https://www.wearemitu.com/

Third Wave Ventures: http://thirdwavedigital.vc/

Matthew Levin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-levin-7205033b

Ivana Kirkbride: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanakirkbride

Allison Stern: https://www.linkedin.com/in/allisonjstern

Rhoades Rader: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhoadesrader

Feb 17, 2017

Because all the video platforms are global, it is a very different mindset than television.”

(click to tweet)

Welcome back to part 2 of Verizon Venture’s live video content discussion, where we continue to discuss the evolution of live content in relation to shoppable content and branding within videos. Joining us are the talented:

  • Ivana Kirkbride, Chief Content Officer for Go90, a Verizon company.
  • Allison Stern, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer for Tubular Labs.
  • Matt Levin, Co-founder and CEO of Donut Media.
  • Rhoades Rader, Head of Content Studios at Mitu, a Verizon Ventures portfolio company.
  • Allen DeBevoise, Managing Partner of Third Wave Ventures.  

“Shoppable videos have become a really cool trend for business models, that can work.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Information and items now within videos have the capability to be itemized, and in turn shoppable.
  • Shoppable videos have become a really cool trend for business models that can work.
  • The rise of sponsored content and branded content is going to be a huge theme in 2017.
  • The idea of content within videos grew ten times last year from the previous year, and we’re expecting that to be a large piece of the way to make money within media companies.
  • Companies in the space are beginning to build creative agencies, and see how they can further scale this department.
  • Allison: There’s a spectrum of how brands engage in content. One end is uploading TV ads onto Youtube or a video platform, which we have evolved from. The next step is partnering with influencers.
  • Businesses are going to be creating branded content to market, separate from their TV ads, to showcase their brand
  • GoPro has become a media company on par with other media companies.
  • A main challenge is how much appetite there are in brands to become their own media company.
  • The big question for publishers and programmers now becomes: How do we scale? How do I own a mindset?
  • In digital media -- it’s a global opportunity instead of the US centric mind frame.
  • The type of content you’re creating will heavily influence the budget and quality of the production in your videos.
  • The notion of what people would want to watch is expanding widely, thanks to the on-demand nature.

“The next step for businesses in this space isn’t for the faint of heart: becoming a media company yourself.”

(click to tweet)

Resources

Go90 https://www.go90.com/

Donut Media http://www.donut.media/

Tubular Labs: https://tubularlabs.com/

Mitu Studios: https://www.wearemitu.com/

Third Wave Ventures: http://thirdwavedigital.vc/

Matthew Levin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-levin-7205033b

Ivana Kirkbride: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanakirkbride

Allison Stern: https://www.linkedin.com/in/allisonjstern

Rhoades Rader: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhoadesrader

Feb 17, 2017

“The standardized measurement for how businesses should be evaluating content is the larger question within the industry.”

(click to tweet)

The live video platform has been exploding in recent years, with some even calling 2016 the “Year of Facebook Live.” Companies worldwide are adapting the idea of boosting engagement through creative and exciting content via live platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Live. But what drives higher engagement, and how do businesses measure success rates, beyond view count? Our guests this week join us to discuss the evolution of Live video, and where it’s headed in the years to come. Joining us this week are:

  • Ivana Kirkbride, Chief Content Officer for Go90, a Verizon company.
  • Allison Stern, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer for Tubular Labs.
  • Matt Levin, Co-founder and CEO of Donut Media.
  • Rhoades Rader, Head of Content Studios at Mitu, a Verizon Ventures portfolio company.
  • Allen DeBevoise, Managing Partner of Third Wave Ventures.  

“The difference between live and on-demand video, is that live video is similar to traditional TV, and we’re familiar with the concept.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • The average successful Facebook Live video is around 18 minutes, and is twice as engaging as a normal Facebook video.
  • Allison: The way we’re looking at measurement in video is an interesting sector to explore.
  • Allen: Companies building branding right now see these type of companies and platforms (Snapchat, Instagram Story, Facebook Live, etc.) as an opportunity to build engagement through live content.
  • Allen: Unlike TV, which is all on the same signal, the content is different and the timing is different on live, requiring different skill sets
  • Matt: Live videos cause us all to be more creative to create high engagement type content.
  • Allison: measurement is a real question in the industry right now--everyone is looking for a standardized form of measurement.
  • Views are the current metric people use to measure their content on, but as we start to move towards types of videos and types of platforms, time watched is going to become the unifying metric.
  • The difference between live and on-demand video, is the advantage live has being similar to TV as we know it, in concurrent viewers.
  • The notion of views is limited in relation to the number of engaged views.
  • High engagement is favored more than shares in some ways.
  • Males are shown to share less than females do.
  • The standardized measurement for how businesses should be evaluating content is the larger question within the industry.
  • The Advertising agencies are invested in the way they’ve been doing business, which, in turn, makes some of them careless to real data.

“Being live teaches us to be more creative with our content, in order to create high engagement.”

(click to tweet)

Resources

Go90 https://www.go90.com/

Donut Media http://www.donut.media/

Tubular Labs: https://tubularlabs.com/

Mitu Studios: https://www.wearemitu.com/

Third Wave Ventures: http://thirdwavedigital.vc/

Matthew Levin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-levin-7205033b

Ivana Kirkbride: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanakirkbride

Allison Stern: https://www.linkedin.com/in/allisonjstern

Rhoades Rader: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhoadesrader

Feb 17, 2017

“We have to make sure we don’t put people at dead ends in product development. They want to be in a world where they have choices.”

(click to tweet)

We welcome you back for part two of our discussion regarding home security systems, and the past, present, and future of this exciting technology. Returning from last week includes:

  • Roel Peeters is the CEO and founder of Roost. Roost built a home telematics platform focused on the property insurance industry, and works with IOT devices.
  • Ian Swanson is the CEO of Data Science, Inc. Data Science offers a platform as well as Data Science as a service, working with many IOT companies.
  • Ohad Zeira is the Director of Product and Strategy for Verizon Smart Home
  • Nate Williams is the Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Business at August Home, a market leader in home access control.

“The market has three segments right now: DIY solutions, professional installment, and capable consumers that have the “do it for me” attitude.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • In a home, the replacement timelines are very long. In fact, most people don’t even buy their washer or dryers, it just comes with the home, giving them little to no choice over their buying options.
  • Simplicity and ease of use is essential: With the battery, it’s one of the smart home products that can be sent to consumers and they know what to do with it. It’s just as easy as your basic light bulb.
  • The focus should be on “how can we make these products easier to install?”
  • There’s an emerging trend right now with professional installation within this industry, where companies are working to make it easier for you to install your own smart items.
  • However, some products are not the easiest UX or UI to set up, and will require professional installation.
  • The market has three segments right now: DIY solutions, professional installment, and capable consumers that have the “do it for me” attitude.
  • Fun Fact: It took 45 years for 50% of US households to have dishwashers!
  • It took less than ten years for 80% of US households to have broadband. This is an amazing success with new technology!
  • Consumers only want one neck to choke. They do not want to call ten different people for the same issue. They want to call one person.
  • Ohad: Voice interactions are going to be across a lot of devices very soon, into the home or outside of the home.
  • We have to make the products so sewn into the home, that consumers can’t imagine going back to a life without these products.

“You’re not asking people to change their environment, you’re leaving existing functionality, and simply adding to it.”

(click to tweet)

Resources

https://www.datascience.com/company

http://august.com/

http://www.getroost.com/about-roost

Feb 17, 2017

“If you’re branding consumer home security, you have great power, but you also have great responsibility.”

(click to tweet)

Times are changing quickly with all the options we have for personal security. But what about our homes? Now more than ever is an interesting time for experimentation with smart home products. Consumers are starting to become more comfortable with smart home systems, which are becoming more available on the market in big name retail stores.

Right now, industry professionals are working towards helping consumers have a better outcome and gain more trust to use these extremely valuable products. Some are joining us today to discuss the past, present, and future of IOT security in the home market!

  • Roel Peeters is the CEO and founder of Roost. Roost built a home telematics platform focused on the property insurance industry, and works with IOT devices.
  • Ian Swanson is the CEO of Data Science, Inc. Data Science offers a platform as well as Data Science as a service, working with many IOT companies.
  • Ohad Zeira is the Director of Product and Strategy for Verizon Smart Home
  • Nate Williams is the Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Business at August Home, a market leader in home access control.

“We are now moving to a layer of ‘yes they work,’ but now we need that trust layer.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Nate: If you look at consumer IOT, the first 5-10 years of users of these products were very early adopters, self installers, or even possibly required to be engineers to use. We’re now moving to another stage, where we’re starting to see big retailers selling these products.
  • Security concerns are in the top three reasons why people are reluctant to adopt smart home products.
  • Roel: The responsibility lies within the product vendors to gain trust within consumers, by providing products that are secure, and have built-in security from the beginning.
  • Nate: Where we’ve seen lapses in the industry is with the companies who want to take shortcuts, often by trying to bring products to market faster
  • You can’t take shortcuts when building a brand, and you can’t take shortcuts when you’re trying to please consumers with great products.
  • It is very difficult to design products knowing that there is a polarity between user experience and security.
  • We don’t want to make people fearful of putting these products in their homes, because they (the products) drive so much value.
  • Analyze the data as the device company to ensure you are delivering on the value you are promising.
  • As you’re developing partnerships to build or enhance what your product can do, you need to understand “what does the consumer actually want?”
  • Ask yourself, “How can we make these experiences better?” with usability.
  • Security is a use case that brings a lot of people into smart homes. 22% of US households have professionally modeled security.
  • The consumer has to be put first.

“Analyze the data as the device company to ensure you are delivering on the value you are promising.”

(click to tweet)

Resources

https://www.datascience.com/company

http://august.com/

http://www.getroost.com/about-roost

Feb 17, 2017

“Security is a non-negotiable aspect.”

(click to tweet)

Welcome to this week’s episode of Verizon Ventures! We’re discussing the technologies that will lead the future. This week we will continue our discussion on the leading technologies and security of the future, including network technologies, cloud capabilities, and reaching the next level of device service.

Returning from last week include:

  • Thierry Sender, who is the director of the IOT product development at Verizon focused on strategy and vertical implementations.
  • Jenny Fielding, who is the managing director of Techstars IOT. Techstars is a venture fund and an accelerator focused on internet of things!
  • Raj Singh, who is the managing director at JetBlue Technology Ventures.
  • Allison Cliff Jennings, who is the CEO of Filament. Filament is a company focused on connecting legacy industrial infrastructure. Filament is a Verizon Ventures portfolio company.

“Could you imagine if every little device had to check in with Stripe to pay or get paid? It just wouldn’t work.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • As we look forward, with the pervasive IOT solutions that are rolling out into different segments of the consumer electronics space, there is a need to be able to support mini, low cost, low powered, connectivity platforms.
  • When you look across the industry, there are many options out there for the low power space.
  • In the cellular world, there are a lot of new radio technologies that are coming out that will compete and hold up well.
  • We want devices to be able to connect anywhere in the world, regardless of location.
  • From Filament’s point of view, the IOT will only become truly as valuable as the scale that it presents itself as an economical protocol stack in addition to the network capability.
  • Digitizing information is believed to be a raw form of economic value, not just in the data it creates, but what it enables and provides.
  • Allison: If you have actuation and sensing on a network of devices, and then you bring in an economic protocol, you can now have these devices create value when they’re attached to machines.
  • When you have devices that can guarantee, to the very last detail, value transfer, you can start to do other interesting things at an even higher level.
  • Renewable energy credit is a credit that can be bought and sold on a marketplace! This is usually required by agencies that burn a lot of carbon. If you create solar credits, you can sell them.
  • Jenny: IOT is touching almost every vertical now. It’s becoming everything, which is amazing!
  • Enterprise IOT won’t be a thing a few years from now. Each device will be shipped with the appropriate sensors.

“The true value of industrial IOT will be reached when it presents itself as an economical protocol, in addition to the network capability.”

(click to tweet)

Resources

DDos Attack: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack

http://www.techstars.com/

http://www.jetblueventures.com/

https://filament.com/

https://thingspace.verizon.com/

Feb 17, 2017

“Security is an area that is going to have to be addressed at some point.”

(click to tweet)

A current hot topic in the IOT industry is security. After the DDos attacks, and major server hacks, IOT industries are working diligently to find a solution to intelligent reporting, to provide predictive measures to prevent future attacks. Entrepreneurs, scientists, and AI enthusiasts alike are searching for the answer to this persistent gap in security systems.

Welcome to Verizon Ventures! Today, we discuss what the future of intelligent reporting and tracking looks like, and the advances we have made towards reaching that goal.

Our guests include:

  • Thierry Sender, who is the director of the IOT product development at Verizon focused on strategy and vertical implementations.
  • Jenny Fielding, who is the managing director of Techstars IOT. Techstars is a venture fund and an accelerator focused on the internet of things.
  • Raj Singh, who is the managing director at JetBlue Technology Ventures.
  • Allison Clift-Jennings, who is the CEO of Filament. Filament is a company focused on connecting legacy industrial infrastructure. Filament is a Verizon Ventures portfolio company.

“If startups want to play in the big leagues, they have to focus on security.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Allison: It has become necessary for each physical device to have a secure element, such as a small cryptographic silicone based chip, that has special security concerns around it to prevent or make it difficult to fake that device, or steal it’s passwords.
  • Experts agree it would be irresponsible for any IOT manufacturer in 2017 to make something that does not have a secure element in it. Chips are only 30 cents each!
  • Security is and should always be multi-layered.
  • Companies might be throwing out products right now that aren't necessarily setting them up for success later. This is where we greatly want to improve.
  • In today’s day and age, you need an infrastructure that has security built in. If you do not, it will unfortunately, inevitably fail.
  • The types of attacks we may start to see won’t necessarily be predictable, but the industry aims to get there someday in the future.
  • A note to IOT startups: If you’re developing hardware or software, there are a LOT of different components to this that you need to take into consideration in terms of security.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning in their respective fields will really touch heavily on how we interpret the data we receive.
  • There will always be large insights to find in large areas of data.
  • One of the most exciting parts about artificial intelligence (AI), will be when you can begin to use it at the edge of Networks, to make less explicit decisions about occurrences happening.
  • Using AI at the edge of networks can be utilized to optimize network routes between devices.
  • We are at a point where we are about to experience exponential growth in intelligent devices sending data to Networks.
  • In the Aviation field, pilots are bombarded with notifications and have to work out which ones are important or not, which is a critical function, all while in the cockpit. The hope is that artificial intelligence can sort out which ones are critical and of importance before delivering.
  • The idea behind prevention and proactive: these are the things that will become prevalent in intelligent reporting.

“The DDoS coverage and media responded with “here are things you can do to make your device more secure,” and I think the question is whose responsibility is this?”

(click to tweet)

Resources

DDos Attack: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack

http://www.techstars.com/

http://www.jetblueventures.com/

https://filament.com/

https://thingspace.verizon.com/

Feb 17, 2017

“How can we use technology to build deeper, richer connections with people?” - Esther Crawford

(click to tweet)

Today, we return with part three for the continuation of our discussion in the world of AI. In this episode, we discuss how AI will evolve in regard to continuous conversation and topics, how AI can break down broad data to solve issues for you, and how surrogates can connect you more with others in general!

  • Momin Mirza: Verizon corporate strategy group based in Palo Alto, focused on trending topics, particularly AI and commerce
  • Esther Crawford: CEO and Co-Founder of Olabot. Their goal is to make it fun and simple for everyone to have a personal bot
  • Raj Ramaswamy: CEO and Cofounder of ShopInSync, whose goal is to enable brands and retailers in the commerce space to build deep contextual bots that help get their conversions up and drive more revenue for them
  • Mounir Shita: Founder and CEO of Kimera, with the first AI that comprehends what it’s learning and to automate any type of connected device and network

“Teens are in an exploratory moment in life when they’re trying to figure out who they are, and are more open to new things than at an older age.” - Esther Crawford

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Systems are what we use to break down broad tasks
  • Machines will soon be able to do more of the “heavy lifting”
  • Most Olabot users are between 13-24 (mostly teenagers). Chatbots are making a big impact on the younger generation!
  • Scientists are trying to figure out a line between when AI should speak up, and which topics it should leave alone
  • AI is becoming more relatable to humans
  • The scary/exciting thing about AI is that it will change the world more than the internet did

Resources

http://www.shopinsync.com/

http://olabot.com/  

www.kimera.ai

Feb 17, 2017

“Many times we try to think of how we can replicate the formal process of learning into the AI, which can be a challenge.” - Mo

(click to tweet)

We return with part two, for the continuation of our discussion on the current and future world of AI. We are discussing the advances toward a general intelligence in AI, and how scientists are working to develop a whole new type of unsupervised learning for the surrogate to take on.

  • Momin Mirza: Verizon corporate strategy group based in Palo Alto, focused on trending topics, particularly AI and commerce
  • Esther Crawford: CEO and Co-Founder of Olabot. Their goal is to make it fun and simple for everyone to have a personal bot
  • Raj Ramaswamy: CEO and Cofounder of ShopInSync, whose goal is to enable brands and retailers in the commerce space to build deep contextual bots that help get their conversions up and drive more revenue for them
  • Mounir Shita: Founder and CEO of Kimera, with the first AI that comprehends what it’s learning and to automate any type of connected device and network

“You want to be able to trust your devices to do the right thing.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Computers have to go through an enormous amount of training in order to gain intelligence
  • Scientists are currently focused on making true “unsupervised learning” a reality
  • In the field of general intelligence, there is no such thing as “training data”
  • Deep learning by itself is not going to lead to general intelligence
  • It will most likely require a whole new way of accomplishing AI to create true general intelligence
  • The advantage of machines over humans is the different set of sensors machines have
  • Machines can learn about their environment from a different perspective than we can
  • We will have to trust the AI to do tasks on behalf of us. This is a significant leap for most people
  • Comfort and trust is growing over time in the general population to let machines and devices make decisions for them
  • We’re never really 100% honest when we talk about ourselves to the world, but we potentially could be with a bot
  • Some bots are trained with continuous conversation
  • Bots can be thought of as a new model for communicating with users

Resources

http://www.shopinsync.com/

http://olabot.com/

www.kimera.ai

 

Feb 15, 2017

“We take a much more social centered approach. We think about how we can inject automation in conversation between two people that feels interesting and relevant.“ - Esther Crawford

(click to tweet)

Today we’re discussing the current developments with AI technology, and where this will lead us in the future. Joining us are 4 guests who are heavily invested, and extremely well rehearsed in the world of AI:

  • Momin Mirza: Verizon corporate strategy group based in Palo Alto, focused on trending topics, particularly AI and commerce
  • Esther Crawford: CEO and Co-Founder of Olabot. Their goal is to make it fun and simple for everyone to have a personal bot
  • Raj Ramaswamy: CEO and Cofounder of ShopInSync, whose goal is to enable brands and retailers in the commerce space to build deep contextual bots that help get their conversions up and drive more revenue for them
  • Mounir Shita: Founder and CEO of Kimera, where they plan to build the first AI that comprehends what it’s learning and to use that to automate any type of connected device and network

“It’s an important area to examine: social behavior. They use a lot of time with their digital identity, how does it exude itself?” - Raj Ramaswamy

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Esther: The way I see the next era of social identity is having more intelligence behind the identity attached to you
  • Social properties are very static: I choose who I’m connected with, what I share, what others see, etc
  • From a technological perspective, we can preserve someone's thoughts, memories and experiences via the internet
  • The goal is to work toward more and more autonomy of devices, where we operate them less and less
  • We may need a digital surrogate in the future, to represent you online and hold the same identities, ideals and morals as you
  • Question: How do we replicate more and more of the experiences that feel near human, creating a user experience that feels less and less like interacting with a bot?
  • To achieve a human-like experience, developers are starting to work on tailoring these personal bots to have those personality traits that mimic very human-like interactions

“The ultimate vision for people who work in AI is general intelligence. As if they can become the “perfect” personal assistant for you.”

(click to tweet)

Resources

http://www.shopinsync.com/

http://olabot.com/  

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