Veritone: Combining Apps with Cognitive Computing to Transform Unstructured Data

Costa Mesa, Calif.—based Veritone may only be a few years old but it’s already garnered some of the biggest names in the business, coming to it for its proprietary platform, one that uses AI-based cognitive computing to allow unstructured audio and video data to be processed, correlated, transformed and analyzed in an automated manner, yielding actionable intelligence.

Drew Hilles, SVP of media for Veritone, spoke with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) about how Veritone’s amassed its client list in just a few short years, the ongoing fight against ad-blocking, and what’s next in the area of machine learning.

MESA: Veritone was founded in 2014 and has already amassed an impressive list of partners and clients. What was the impetus for the company, what gap in the cognitive computing segment has the company sought to fill?

Hilles: After successfully exiting three companies prior to Veritone, Chad and Ryan Steelberg came to the realization that equipping machines with the power to understand and respond to the natural human interface of audio and video content was the next evolutionary step in maximizing the value and potential of media. The result was a scalable platform that provides the ability to derive actionable intelligence, in near-real time, from the world’s unstructured media.

At the time Veritone came to fruition, single-point cognitive engines were available. Veritone found that no real world business problem could be solved with just one engine at a time. The team discovered, If you put multiple engines together, it could paint a bigger picture by adding dimensions and context to data. We have since become the developer of the world’s first artificial intelligence operating system.

AI orchestration, via the Veritone Platform, uses machine learning not only to deploy multiple cognitive engines at once, but it also chooses the best available engines for the best results. Veritone deploys engines such as face recognition, transcription, natural language processing, and more. While some artificial intelligence companies excel in one type of technology, Veritone is the only platform that runs engines in orchestration via machine learning achieving double-digits in accuracy.

MESA: Veritone’s cloud-based, real-time intelligence offerings cover most corners of the media and entertainment space. But what are the unique needs of broadcasters vs. sports organizations vs. advertisers, and how does Veritone approach each?

Hilles: As ad blocking continues to proliferate, advertisers are looking for creative solutions to build advertising and branding directly into digital video and audio content. The Veritone Platform ingests content and puts multiple cognitive engines to work, analyzing audio and video data to generate actionable intelligence and analyze efficacy of advertising. It also provides users with faster content extension and smarter media management.

Veritone provides advertisers and content creators with a hosted, cloud-based platform with patented technology that makes native and organic advertising simple, scalable and trackable. By providing real-time access to insights, analytics and attribution from a wide network, Veritone customers can deliver advertising campaigns with unmatched effectiveness, and at scale.

Broadcasters often have to reference interviews they’ve done in the past to play again on air months, even years later. Our platform makes that search easier by ingesting their programming and recording in real-time. It’s then indexed, organized, stored and made accessible in the cloud.

Sports organizations use our platform to engage more with digital audiences by pushing clips we provide to social media, maximizing their audience reach, fan affinity, and ultimately sponsorship revenue. They can search the extensive media index to uncover potential sponsors and download, export and share clips to extend the life of campaigns. They leverage AI to better collect, analyze, and assess the value of sponsorships and branded integrations present in broadcast and digital media.

MESA: How can media and entertainment best take advantage of AI-empowered cognitive services (transcriptions, face and object recognition, translations, geo-locations, etc.), and how are those services evolving to improve the content delivery experience?

Hilles: The Radio Advertising Bureau predicts than 191 million people listen monthly to radio broadcasts by 2019, up from 176 million last year. To address the ever-increasing demands for audio and video media intelligence from brands, businesses and advertisers, one of our partners, CBS RADIO, harnesses the power of the Veritone Platform to share audio and broadcast content, transcribe archived media and measure advertising efficacy easily.

While machine learning gets better every time it’s tasked: It evolves with experience. The Veritone Platform ingests thousands of hours of audio and video content daily, leveraging its powerful suite of integrated cognitive engines, including natural language processing, voice fingerprinting, logo detection, facial recognition and object detection, creating a rich and actionable database and index of public and private media.

One example includes 1-800-FLOWERS.COM. The leading gourmet food and floral gift provider for all occasions, spends a significant amount on on-air radio personality endorsements, which can be nearly impossible to track and analyze manually. Before teaming with Veritone, the Company’s marketing team had a delayed process to receive and manually review clips to verify when spots had aired.

The Veritone Platform allows clients like 1-800-FLOWERS.COM to hear audio spots and mentions minutes after airing to immediately evaluate and confirm target messaging with transcription, and determine how the audience is reacting through sentiment detection. Additionally, if the audio spot is in a different language, translation can be used. Veritone can run all three classes of engine cognition for dimensionalized results.

MESA: Your company’s creative agency — Veritone One — offers both native and traditional advertising for brands, pairing both media buying and planning with a dedicated technology platform. What makes this service unique, how does Veritone One stand out among competitors?

Hilles: Veritone One leverages our proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide clients like LegalZoom transparency and accuracy of ad verification in near real time, as well as competitor tracking. The Veritone Platform ingests thousands of hours of audio and video content daily, leveraging its powerful suite of integrated cognitive engines, including logo detection, natural language processing, voice fingerprinting, facial recognition and object detection, creating a rich and actionable database and index. The platform offers previously unavailable intelligence along with powerful search and discovery that will continue to optimize clients’ offline media spending and effectiveness.

No other service orchestrates multiple classes and single-point cognitive engines, making Veritone’s technology stand out. Additionally, with Veritone’s proprietary technology and orchestration process, Veritone is achieving double-digit gains in accuracy. Vertione One is able to offer customers accurate and actionable results unlike any other service.

MESA: What are some of Veritone’s favorite use case examples, where M&E companies especially have benefited from the company’s services?

Hilles: CBS RADIO, for example, uses the Veritone Platform to index and package audio content, transcribe broadcast media and measure advertising efficacy for its advertisers. The AI platform provides the broadcaster with near real-time ad and content tracking, comprehensive analytics, faster content extension, and smarter media management for their broadcasts from 117 radio stations in 26 markets.

Also, in our instantaneous world of online media, brand reputation should be seen as a matter of life and death. But, when it comes to digital media, managing everything people say about a brand can feel next to impossible. Thankfully, artificial intelligence has advanced to ingest and unlock and analyze linear content, from local radio to native mentions on live TV – providing brands and advertisers the ability to unearth negative and positive sentiments with searchable keywords, quickly identifying complaints and highlight gratitudes.

Brand leaders like Taco Bell and Spark are already using AI, through the Veritone Platform, which utilizes the best available engines simultaneously to analyze audio and video data to generate actionable intelligence.

MESA: What’s next for Veritone, what can we look forward to from the company in the future?

Hilles: Veritone is of the opinion that we’re ten years out from artificial general intelligence(AGI), or computers reaching human intelligence levels. This isn’t fear mongering – the general public shouldn’t be afraid of AI at this level, but revolutionary technology has always scared people. Rather than fearing AI leaving humans jobless and obsolete, we should embrace the loss of menial tasks to technology to elevate human capital.

Take for example the legal industry: Firms have implemented AI to help employees more efficiently sift through documents and data used in court. Instead of associates spending hours reading case files, watching video footage, and listening to recorded phones calls, essentially reducing lawyers to admins, AI technology is being used to provide context to data. Just a couple years ago, data collection could have taken thousands of hours and now it’s essentially instantaneous.

Veritone Conductor produces significant accuracy gains, affirming that orchestrated, multi-engine cognition is the future of artificial intelligence. We announced in early August that the newest test version of Conductor – patent-pending machine-learning technology – has attained marked gains in the accuracy levels produced by intelligently orchestrating multiple cognitive engines for transcription of real-world data, compared with any single transcription engine on the Veritone Platform.