Create a Personal Cloud Storage Service In The Telecom Industry

If you are a telecom company then you have probably noticed the need to reach users across different ecosystems in order to increase and diversify your revenue streams. Increased use of advanced wearable technologies has replaced your more traditional revenue generating channels like SMS, voice calling and upselling. Wearables are not the only thing changing your game, there are literally hundreds of predictions based on forecasts, historical data as well as more technical ones that reveal your future challenges, after carefully reading a few dozen of those there are certain patterns that emerge. Overall it can be said that these are the most common prospects for the telecom industry:

  • Content Triumph

Connecting is getting cheaper and cheaper. Moore’s Law tells us this is an inevitable cause and effect of society. Via connectivity, you are able to capture a fraction of the information value chain, while content and services are capturing increasingly more. Many experts expect that if telecom companies neglect to adapt by 2020, content companies like Viber and Snapchat will be able to acquire telecoms.

Content-Triumph

  • IoT is The New Traffic Game

Nowadays, you can extract personal data and patterns from devices as well as humans, thus the reason IoT has become such a hype. That hype is changing your business model. Through Thingification, the big guys have access to trillions of pieces of new connected data: meaning the information is organically connected, no need for human intervention. With the growing demand for an application that improves consumers quality of life, like calories counters, we are quickly creating an entire ecosystem that is far more knowledgeable about people than the people themselves.

IoT is The New Traffic Game

How to adapt as a telecom operator

Both national and multinational telecoms are coping by building open platforms as a way to connect to their users. This marriage between a telecom and internet company is the future that most industry leaders are betting on. You can learn best from one of our use cases with Swisscom, who uses automated image tagging for their MyCloud.

Telecom Cloud Example

How do you monetize this trend

File sharing services like Google Drive and Dropbox are becoming more and more popular due to the rising demand for file sharing services. Personal devices can only hold a limited amount of data the cloud is practically unlimited.

Storing documents on file sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive has become a common practice online in the last five years. In that time, as people create, edit and hoard older data files, they find they are running short of the free space.

Pricing Cloud Storage

With more and more people opting for either a tablet-only existence or switching from a traditional desktop computer with multiple internal drives to a laptop with a much smaller SSD drive, finding an alternate storage system is important. Тhis is a common issue customer are facing with improving technology, the problem of storage space is getting increasingly important and the large smartphone providers are not addressing it, probably on purpose, just so that they generate additional revenue. As a result, cloud storage companies are gaining from this and are offering a very economical solution to this problem. Learn directly from a use case:

SWISSCOM/IMAGGA - Enhancing Swisscom myCloud with automated image organization

What are you providing to users through personal clouds storage

As a domestic telecom company, you have the opportunity to move up the information communication (ICT) value chain through the integration of cloud services. Because of the direct relationship with consumers and domestic infrastructure, there are several clear advantages international competitors can not offer:

  •         Secure Local Data Centers- Each European country has data privacy laws preventing any export of personal data to another country. Switzerland, for example, has one which prevents telecoms from selling or providing the data to any foreign government. The same applies to the USA.
  •         Cloud Services- Storage of pictures, music, text and files, are only the basic service one can provide users. There are numerous applications, the only limitation is the capacity and processing power of servers. Norwegian telecom Telenor, for example, offers Microsoft 365 as a subscription service directly on their cloud.

Conclusion

Personal clouds are developing into a serious content provider, despite that there isn’t a single service emerging as a clear-cut market leader. Overall it is anybody's game, nevertheless, the industry is catching up and the time to act is today. There are more than enough example, the most interesting one I have seen has been with Bulgarian Telecom Mtel and their HBO GO service.

Services satisfying self-actualization boost revenue, which in terms create loyalty. so“more is more”, meaning the more I offer the more I get. It all boils down to providing content that is satisfying, generating more reasons to provoke shares, visits, and purchase. That is the way market opportunities become major revenue streams.

How do you use personal cloud storage to satisfy needs?

free image recognition with imagga


What we are after in 2014 - democratizing machine learning as a service and applying it in practice

2013 was such an exciting year for us! We partnered multiple photo-related hackathons (Seedhack 3Startup Weekend Mobile Sofia and Photo Hack Day Menlo ParkPhoto Hack Day BerlinSeedhack 4; plus one more coming in a less than two weeks - Photo Hack Day Tokyo!) and created a lot of friends there.

We also closed our seed round from LAUNCHub and several angel investors, extended our team with two great software engineers, visited several leading industry and technology conferences (Tech Crunch Disrupt BerlinWeb Summit DublinMicroStock Expo BerlinleWeb Paris), and made a major leap in our core technology:

Auto-categorization of images for different use-cases
Auto-categorization of images for different use-cases

We on-boarded new customers and partnered with two great image processing and management services - Blitline and Cloudinary that now offer our smart cropping as part of their feature sets (the latter, still in private beta).

Now 2014 has already come, and it's time to roll out several awesome products, enabled by our recent technology advancements. There is a huge hype around A.I. and machine learning these days. But for us this isn't just a hype... it's what we've been working on hard in the last year. And we want to bring this to the people (and start-ups, and companies), empowering them to take advantage of machine learning for better understanding and organization of their imagery in the easiest possible way.

We are aiming to keep the lean/iterative approach so we'll definitely rely on your active feedback, ideas, and inclusion in the process. Happy to share that we already have multiple successful pilots with customers taking advantage of our machine-learning-based auto-categorization, as in the example image above, and some more customers in the pipeline. Now it's your turn! If you are interested in auto-categorization and you think it can help your image-centric businesses or projects (and believe me, it will help them for sure) give a try to our auto-categorization "playground".

Mobile is also going to be bigger and bigger and this is something we are definitely interested in as the development of our smart photo organization app Sliki proves. Sliki was recently selected to join the AppCampus programme so we'll release it on Windows Phone first (which is a great platform for development BTW), but we also conduct some closed tests on Android. Sign up here and we'll keep you updated on how Sliki goes. Funny enough, the (hardware-enabled) future seems bright even for complex computer vision on mobile as explained in this video.

All in all, It's a really exciting journey and you are more than welcome to join it as an advisor, investor, employee, partner, customer or just a friend :)


Who’s Who In Image Analysis Industry

Demystifying Image SaaS Solutions

Recently we published infographic on the current state of the image analysis industry. We do not pretend we’ve included everybody working on that matter but the infographic gives quite good idea what’s on the market and how different companies are approaching the problem of helping out people and businesses better use and organize their image collections.

It’s all about images and video. Over 1B picture are take each day thanks to relatively accessible DSLRs and unprofessional cameras, but mostly because 2/3 of smart mobile phone owners connect to internet on a daily basis, take pictures and share them quickly. Image centric services like Instagram, Pinterest, 500px, Flickr are widely used. The need for scalable solutions and technologies to ease that process of uploading, storing and organizing images is so viable.

There are several types of image automation technologies currently on the market:

  • Streaming/Channeling: image feeds from third-party sources on a topic your users are interested in, e.g. “US elections 2012″, “Paris”, “Steve Jobs” via Instagram, Flickr, 500px etc.
  • Image editing: end-users are provided with tools to edit images, apply filters, etc. directly in the mobile and/or in the web apps
  • Basic image processing (and eventually image hosting): generate (and eventually host) thumbnails, crop images, apply filters
  • Template matching: recognize predefined “template” images; useful for recognition of book/CD covers, labels, posters, landmarks; kind of “sexier” alternative to QR codes in mobile apps
  • Face detection and facial recognition: detect faces and/or recognize faces of particular persons and face-tag them
  • Visual or multi-color search: “offline” indexing of the images coupled with search functionality based on the extracted visual features or colors
  • Image categorization and auto-tagging: recognizing various pre-defined categories, concepts or objects present in an image

All this currently available technologies can be integrated in various ways to better serve it’s customers. The most typical are:

  • Cloud / Web-service (typically REST API)
  • On-premise / Self-hosted solution
  • Widget
  • Compiled Library (desktop or mobile)

Lets not forget that we need to make money. So far there are several billing options as listed below, but most of them depend directly or indirectly on the number of images processed and/or the processing hours spent and/or GBs of traffic

  • Subscription: based on some of the usage factors above, typically monthly recurring payment
  • Utility based: typically pay as you go bills based on some of the usage factors above, at the end of each month
  • Licensing: typically for ‘on-premise’ solutions and libraries; one-time fee, or annual renewal fee

Here’s short list of some key players on the market (disclaimer: these are just the companies we are aware of. Your startup can also be doing something related to image analysis, we haven’t missed it on purpose. Leave a comment below and we will be more than happy to enlist you as well). The companies are listed in alphabetical order and not in order of significance:

  • Blitline – basic image processing; cloud solution; utility based pricing
  • Chute – image streaming; widgets; subscription pricing
  • Cloudinary (basic image processing & hosting; cloud solution; subscription pricing)
  • Face.com acquired by Facebook – facial recognition
  • Idee Labs – reverse image search as in their Tineye, mutli-color search; library/cloud; license/subscription pricing
  • Imagga – color search, smart cropping, auto-tagging, categorization, similarity search; cloud solution; subscription/utility pricing
  • IQ engines – template matching, categorization; cloud solution / library; subscription pricing
  • Kooba – template matching; cloud solution; subscription pricing
  • Lambda Labs – face detection and facial recognition; cloud solution; subscription pricing
  • LTU Technologies – color search, similarity search, template matching; on-premise/cloud solution; license/utility pricing
  • Recognize.im – template matching; cloud solution; subscription/utility pricing
  • Aviary – image editing; mobile and web libraries; subscription pricing)
  • Pixolution – visual similarity, color similarity; on-premise solution / library; subscription
  • Kuznech – image search and shopping tagging