How AI helps companies retain and grow customers in today’s attention-starved world

By partnering innovative technology providers through the IMDA Open Innovation Platform, a digital news site and an online platform for Asian films are now able to better engage their audiences

Companies can find the right solution providers through the IMDA Open Innovation Platform to enhance their AI expertise to bring their businesses to new heights. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Content is always king, if you were to ask any seasoned media professional or publishing company. Whether the content is in the form of a movie, music album or digital news article, it has to be compelling to make the consumer want to spend time on it.

At the same time, many companies are also realising that great content has to be distributed as widely as possible, and be personalised to the right audiences to capture their attention in today's competitive, on-demand world. 

To make their content travel as far as possible and gain as many readers or viewers as possible, these companies could do with a helping hand from artificial intelligence (AI).

Solutions in a cookieless world

AsiaOne recently partnered AI company Neural Lab to create an automated personalised article recommender based on smart AI algorithms. As privacy becomes ever more important to readers, the AI-powered tool will help to recommend articles without intrusive tracking cookies.

Apple and Google have announced the phasing out of third-party cookies, the code often used to track online users, to improve user privacy. This means media companies need to find a smart solution to meet tomorrow’s privacy requirements while still having an idea of what customers want.

AsiaOne sought the IMDA Open Innovation Platform (OIP)’s complimentary consultancy services to identify this business challenge and develop a concise problem statement to crowdsource for innovative solutions. The OIP helped evaluate the solutions and successfully matched AsiaOne with Neural Lab, an AI company based in Hong Kong.

The production-ready prototype was completed in a short span of 13 weeks, facilitated by the OIP team in aligning the problem statements and KPIs. AsiaOne is currently reviewing the post-test findings to decide on a fuller-scale production of the AI system.

Using Neural Lab’s AI algorithms, AsiaOne encourages visitors to stay on its website by automatically recommending articles that are relevant to them. By analysing the article a reader is viewing on AsiaOne, Neural Lab’s machine learning engine is able to generate and place an article that offers the highest engagement rate. This helps create a personalised webpage to retain and grow readership.

“Neural Lab was able to adapt its proprietary AI solutions to suit our requirement,” said Mr Dennis Giam, head of Information (Ops and Policy), AsiaOne.

“If successful, the smart recommender, which is based on the AI learning audience preferences and behaviour, will help us to optimise recommendations for our audience,” he said.

Finding the right innovation partners

OIP bridges tech to business by providing businesses with a high-touch end-to-end professional consultancy support – from diagnosing the business challenge, refining problem statements, crowdsourcing for innovative solutions, to evaluating proposals, and setting common KPIs between the business and tech provider, to ensure an impactful outcome.

As a mission to uplift corporate innovation in Singapore, the consultancy support is complimentary. Companies provide prize monies to the winning solution provider, upon the completion of the prototype.

OIP has a pool of more than 11,000 solution providers across start-ups to global technology companies. The platform has facilitated more than 300 problem statements worth over $9 million in prize monies.

Through the OIP, companies can find the right partner to enhance their AI expertise to further boost their content reach and build up their audiences.

AI to sieve through and curate videos

Another media company which also found an AI solution provider on the OIP is local content platform start-up Viddsee. It partnered Belgium-based AI firm Sensifai to create a data-optimised process for video content curation and creation.

“With the help of Sensifai, Viddsee is able to utilise AI to curate and sieve through video content on our platform, assisting teams to scale up,” said Mr Ho Jia Jian, chief executive officer and co-founder of Viddsee.

What impressed Viddsee, a storytelling platform for short premium content, was the structured approach that the OIP uses to match problems with solutions. This makes a real-world difference.

“Before embarking on projects, the OIP will assist our team and the solution provider by defining the problem statement and solution scoping that meets objectives,” said Mr Ho.

“With the proof of concept, we hope that AI can automatically tag content while identifying potential videos through more efficient video analysis,” he noted.

The project with Sensifai is still in the evaluation process, though he foresees a potential extension of this partnership.

“In today's world, data generation is easily influenced by changing audience demand,” he added. “AI will be the solution to make sense of all the data and help complement core businesses in new and innovative ways.”

In both cases, the OIP partnership helped provide innovation expertise that these companies would otherwise have to heavily invest in.

From lab to real world

For AI solution providers, it is also a way to deliver real-world results from the hard work they have invested in developing the technology from a research lab.

“Thanks to the OIP platform, we could find our first customer in Singapore and hope that after successful delivery of the final results, we can serve other customers in the region based on the testimonial of Viddsee,” said Dr Mohamad Hasan Bahari, chief executive officer and co-founder of Sensifai.

“Sensifai and Viddsee, also envisage a joint worldwide business development based on the jointly developed product,” he added.

For Neural Lab, the OIP partnership has enabled it to “set foot” in the Singapore market, connect with government organisations and further expand its brand awareness in Asia-Pacific.

“Through working with AsiaOne, we have gained first-hand experience and valuable insights,” said Mr Raymond Ling, co-founder and director of product development of Neural Lab.

“Backed by this industry domain knowledge, we are currently exploring more opportunities to apply our AI capabilities,” he added.

Indeed, as digital capabilities become more advanced and niche, many more companies will have to find the right partners to further their business in a digital future. The technology evolves so quickly, and talent is often in short supply.

“The digital media industry faces similar manpower challenges as with other industries,” said Mr Giam. “It also has to ensure accuracy alongside speed.”

“This requires an open mindset to technology – starting from accepting and understanding needs, and working on a solution with tech partners to overcome,” he said.

If you are a company looking for a technology partner to overcome business challenges, fill up this enquiry form or find out more at OIP.

If you are a solution provider looking to support corporate innovation, join the OIP mailing list and be updated on our frequent open innovation challenges.  


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