NativeWays is one of the award-winners that took part in Future22. Their innovative product delivers innovative and immersive live experiences to viewers by synchronising multiple feeds of video, audio and data allowing for a deeper connection with the event, by providing insights that viewers normally miss.
We were curious to learn more and interviewed Christof Haslauer to tell us more.
Q: Introduce yourself and tell us more about your current position and company.
Answer: I am Christof Haslauer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of NativeWaves.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
Answer: Looking for ways to deliver better event-watching experiences to viewers and audiences has always been top of mind for me. Thinking of future innovations and ways to get there, while focusing on the challenges of today is top of mind at the moment.
Q: Tell us about your product. What problem is it solving, and what makes your solution unique?
Answer: Our product “NativeWaves EXP” is an end-to-end Experience creation framework built on the back of the NativeWaves Low Latency streaming platform. It enables broadcasters to deliver personalised, enhanced user experiences to their viewers, while helping them to differentiate their offerings from their competitors, and within their offerings. Broadcasters, today, are faced with the challenge of making the content they have paid millions (In some cases billions) for, interesting enough for their audiences to keep them watching their services rather than moving to another service. They have the additional challenge of differentiating their Linear service from their OTT offering (most broadcaster just send their linear TV feed to their OTT Platform, which gets delivered to viewers a minute or more later than when it has been seen on the linear service). NativeWaves EXP enables broadcasters to deliver an experience that can be a lean-back experience when the viewers want, but also an interactive experience when the viewer decides it needs. NativeWaves EXP allows broadcasters to deliver multiple feeds of audio, video, data and analytics, and advanced features such as Betting, social media integration, e-commerce and target advertising. All this is achieved without any major change to existing broadcast workflows.
Most of the market contenders do offer parts of what NativeWaves EXP delivers but we do not see comprehensive solutions in the market that directly compete with us. The big benefit of NativeWaves EXP consists of its modular nature that can be integrated at various levels and to varying degrees. This framework approach represents a strong competitive advantage as it is not looking to displace existing customer products that are already in place but mainly focuses on enhancing and expanding them with maximum flexibility.
Q: How did you start your journey, and where are you now on the road to achieving your ambition?
Answer: We started our journey in 2016 in cinema. The big idea was to provide cinema-goers with an app that allows them to watch a movie in the language of their choice. The app listened to the audio on the screen and delivered audio in the selected language in sync with the images on the screen. While getting different language audio tracks for films was complicated, the core technology and the idea were easily adapted to delivering synced experiences from live broadcast events.
Our journey in broadcast started in 2019 with our collaboration with Red Bull Media House and Servus TV in Austria for whom we delivered half of the MOTO GP season. Servus TV viewers in Austria could download an app that enabled them to watch Moto GP races from their perspective. Viewers could select and watch their preferred camera angle. This included onboard cams, helicopter cams, etc. on their mobile phones in perfect sync with the main broadcast on their TV.
Today we have extended our product offering to deliver a second-screen experience with an enhanced single-screen streaming experience. We have been able to create and deliver an experience that allows the viewer to enjoy life experiences from their perspective while allowing broadcasters to differentiate their services from their competition and additionally have new revenue opportunities.
The future-proofed modular structure of our product puts us in a great place to adopt experiences of tomorrow like the metaverse, which we will be involved in.
Q: Can you share a story of a client using your product/service and what influence it had on them?
Answer: SportsWorld is an app available on Samsung Smart TVs in Germany which provides their customers with selected live games, especially football. SportWorld is a key sales tool used by Samsung to increase its sales in the tech market. Samsung Germany adopted NativeWaves EXP to enhance the experience that they provided from live events to their customer on their SportWorld app. The initial deal was to deliver 30 events in the year 2020. However, by the end of 2021, we have delivered over 50 events across multiple tournaments. Samsung Germany also committed to increasing the amount for 2022.
Q: What is your company’s biggest achievement to date?
Answer: The initial agreement with Samsung Germany and their exclusive agency B1Smart TV was for NativeWaves to provide second-screen experiences on Sportworld. However, they appointed NativeWaves as the preferred partner to deliver not just the SportWorld mobile experience but also to redesign and deliver an enhanced experience on TV and the web. It extends to Brand TV, which is another offering by b1smart TV and Samsung Germany to Samsung Smart TV customers
Q: What was the tipping point that made you a doer and impacted your vision?
Answer: The tipping point for us came in 2020 when live sporting events were cancelled. Advanced negotiations that were ongoing with multiple tier 1 broadcasters disappeared overnight. We also realised that being a tech provider for broadcasters to deliver a second screen solution was not a viable business in the long run. We decided to look at our offering and redesigned our product to be an end-to-end solution focused on delivering end-user experiences. Our investors - Dolby Family Ventures, Silicon Castles and Levensohn Venture Partners provided us with support and guidance through these challenging times as we recalibrated our focus.
Q: How do you see your company making a difference in the future?
Answer: Our vision is to provide the ultimate event-watching experience for everyone worldwide. Our focus today and tomorrow is to continue to develop products with the end user at the heart of it. We will build experiences that cater to the viewer while ensuring that broadcasters can adopt our solutions easily and without disruptions to their businesses. We will continue to provide our customers with new opportunities to generate additional revenue while ensuring that their viewers get the experiences they demand.
Q: How is the current situation impacting your business? What is your company’s immediate response? What are the alternatives (products, services) you are now thinking on?
Answer: Our ambition is to go global and launch products to cover the 15 top sports all over the world. Our biggest challenge is the availability of internal resources and expertise to build these experiences. Our response has been to outsource certain aspects of the work while building the core internally and using the time to learn more about new sports and markets. As part of the vision to expand globally, we are looking to build products for sports that cater to an audience outside Europe, especially the USA. We are looking at working with US-based agencies to build products that are relevant to that market
Q: How did Tech Tour help you on your journey? What is the most useful part of our programmes for you?
Answer: The Tech Tour put us in front of the right audience and enabled us to talk to investors that we could not access earlier.
If you want to meet more innovative startups join our upcoming programmes.