Alok Patil, CTO,

Alok is the technology expert at Toch AI and loves a good challenge to solve. Armed with an MCA, Alok believes that the purpose of technology is to modernise human efforts and the world needs more technology-enabled solutions to overcome the larger problems faced by humanity today. After spending 11 years in the corporate world, Alok was excited to partner with Saket and Vinayak to bring the concept of Toch AI to life. He likes to think of himself as a lifelong learner and is always keen to experiment with new ideas and encourages his team to do the same. Alok is a web series enthusiast and a vociferous advocate of short form content.


Even as we work to embrace the ‘new normal’, the full extent of the pandemic has probably not been realised on business operations. However, based on the past when we have faced similar disasters, one cannot discount the incredible new businesses and business ideas that have formed. In some ironic twist, crises have produced giants: consider the 2003 outbreak of SARS that saw the epic impact on ecommerce businesses like Alibaba. 

Cut back to the present, and it becomes all the more crucial to re-examine business practises that could aid the video tech industry that has been propelled into the limelight during this pandemic. As hospitality, tourism and other industries struggle to find their feet in a potentially weak economy, this industry has swelled on a global scale. Case in point: The first wave saw Zoom rise to the top – according to the company, daily users climbed from 10 million in December 2019 to 200 million in March 2020. YouTube has been uploading an average of 300 hours of videos in a minute. Other go-to video platforms have emerged and remerged and continue to develop measures to abet online classes, workshops, webinars, and so on. 

The shift to OTT media has seen popular providers record a 140% rise in video streaming apps in countries such as India, Australia, Thailand and so on. Not surprising when you consider that people have been sitting locked in at home with nowhere to go, and little to do. Global audiences are more accessible with the power of OTT, so more viewership is not just a possibility, it is the driving force to generate more potential revenue through engaging content. Easier said than done even when the switch in consumer behaviour and subsequently advertising to direct response campaigns especially via social media continues to rise. The bottleneck lies in the transference of traffic increase on social media to actual conversions and then revenue generation. And it has to be done with all employees in a new work-from-home situation. 

The video tech industry may not be as impacted as other genres that rely to over 70% on on-ground working, but there are deeper digital workplace measures required to ensure productivity does not fall without being overly intrusive. The revenue that businesses have saved on rent, electricity and equipment must make its way into revitalised business operations that involve impactful distance leadership and communication strategies for effective remote working. Virtual training and skill set training is something that could be considered by the video tech industry as an operation and a service for other company deployment purposes. This is far more favourable and kinder than letting employees go and will foster more loyalty.  

There is no time like the onset of this ‘new normal’ to examine and subsequently leverage the changing consumption habits and customer behaviour. Post-covid consumer insights to develop improved customer experiences and gain marketing efficiency to adapt to a post-covid context is heavily reliant on big data analytics.  

There are interesting innovations being adopted, such as cloud-based video solutions that enable hosting of security-based hardware and software in the cloud, so users can immediately access video footage from anywhere. The cloud is also more effective in saving costs, simply because users only pay for the services that are used by distributing costs over a contract term. 

However, the biggest conversation (that invariably centres around re-evaluating business practises) is that of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and NLP especially in Martech and video: consider Salesforce who just announced further AI-powered innovations to their already extensive range of services to further drive digital sales, marketing and customer support. Another major Martech success fuelled by AI-driven meta-tagging is Adobe Marketo Engage that allows marketers to access brand-compliant images and other assets without to and fro between creative teams. 

In the realm of video, if video tech is the car, then A.I, is the fuel that optimises its performance in every possible realm from HR management to data analytics that builds better models. 

Consider the fact that there is a mountain of video data out there – if a video features 30 frames on an average, imagine how much time it could take to search for specific frames from different videos in an archival news library! To decipher it, AI-fuelled meta-tagging is a critical tool that will help us quickly access and interpret this data and convert it into cash-friendly assets in a faster turnabout time with higher precision unaffected by human error. Precise data opens opportunities for faster and more efficient marketing content and analytics that will empower brands in data-led transformations. There is no point producing excellent content if it is not easily searchable, and that is precisely how metadata helps video technology. It then opens ground for innovation by all leaders in the martech field to develop AI-powered solutions that can be employed and utilised from anywhere in the world. 

A step ahead, which can be anticipating demand through technology: marketers being able to test their video content, secure in the knowledge of what the audience wants to see and a clear idea of the results it will produce before investing in a more extensive roll out. 

When it comes to content (video in particular), AI has the potential to enhance and empower human creativity with tools to produce professional movie-quality videos without investing in long courses at a fraction the cost, time and effort spent.  

Perhaps, what is the most exciting is the potential of video-based performance recognition that can serve bigger purposes to come in terms of security clearance, road safety, healthcare and education. AI’s impact (especially in video tech) is thrilling, limitless and there is no industry that it will not disrupt. That being said, the evolution has not been a graceful process. given how every business had to scramble for workarounds that could have otherwise taken years to implement in a matter of months. Given video tech’s popularity, the closest near-term challenge is to graduate from reaction to institutionalising the best practices that have worked.

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