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Tired of watching videos? Say hello to the video that watches you

Imagine an online video whose content changes according to your gender, age and facial expression/emotions. This revolution is being made a reality by Italian SME Cynny with support from the MORPHCAST project.
Tired of watching videos? Say hello to the video that watches you
MORPHCAST (Real time video creation according to your emotions) supports the technology of the same name, which enables ad producers to bring personalisation to the next level. It allows for light and low-band consumption of tailor-made videos 20 times lighter than in-stream mp4 format, and makes use of smart devices’ cameras to change video content according to the person viewing it. The technology boasts some impressive results, with Cynny claiming 95 % accuracy for the gender, precision of about seven years for the age, and 85 % accuracy for emotions.

Stefano Bargagni, CEO of Cynny, agreed to discuss the technology, its market potential and his ambitions, helped along by EU funding under the SME Instrument — which he hopes will result in commercialisation of MORPHCAST by 2019.

What are the main problems with today’s personalised adverts?

There are actually quite a few. These include current limitations of Big Data analysis, the costs and risks related to new privacy barriers in the near future, the fact that not all situations allow content producers to acquire the needed data about users, and, last but not least, the low reliability of user tastes.

How can facial recognition help overcome these problems?

The challenge faced by the MORPHCAST project consisted in radically changing the advertising sector, providing an innovative solution to maximise consumers’ engagement, delivering targeted advertising to individual users while keeping their personal data totally private and, at the same time, disintermediating the analysis of big data related to user profiling and related costs.

Can you provide an example of a typical situation where MORPHCAST would bring added value to advertisers?

MORPHCAST technology can compile a unique video made of several tracks and plots created by the publisher, which are activated or not depending on the characteristics of the viewer as well as on the emotion while watching the video. In sum, a different video for each and every person. Theoretically MORPHCAST can provide unlimited combinations of content which is delivered automatically to the viewers without any need for Big Data analysis.

Why did you decide to seek EU funding?

We achieved very good results with intensive R&D activities carried out over the last three years and financed with our own resources. Now, we must move ahead faster than other big players if we are to successfully introduce our product in the market.

What were the main results of your feasibility study under Phase 1 of SME Instrument funding?

We confirmed the technical feasibility of our solution and we identified some weaknesses to be overcome within the next project phase.

Now we know that we have to work more on the cross-pollination factor. Analysing the market, talking with key players and also investors, we also identified the best distribution channels for our product and we set up a solid and rather aggressive commercialisation strategy that, hopefully, will allow us to go viral in a few months and to achieve our business forecasts. We made contact with future commercial partners and venture capitalists which will enable us to better manage the risks related to this project.

Are you planning to apply for Phase 2 funding? If so, to what end?

Yes, of course. We have planned for additional developments to achieve the system optimisation that we have in mind before MORPHCAST launches. EU funds under Phase 2 will allow us to speed up this process. We have planned activities for the 18 months ahead, and the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, which we applied for, is actually the best funding instrument for a medium enterprise such as Cynny which focuses its activities on innovation.

We hope to meet our objectives quickly. The SME-Instrument Phase 2 funding will also be pivotal to boosting our project.

MORPHCAST
Funded under H2020-SMEINST-1.
project website

Source: Interview from research*eu results magazine n. 61 p. 8-9

Related information

Record Number: 128253 / Last updated on: 2017-05-12
Category: Interviews
Provider: EC