Video tech firm Overcast makes media plans

Video tech firm Overcast makes media plans
Overcast CTO Zsolt Lorincz and chief executive Philippe Brodeur.

Overcast has secured funding to open its video technology to new markets, writes Trish Dromey

Ending 2019 on a high note, Irish video technology company Overcast has, along with video analysis company Kinesense, secured €1.5m in funding to develop a new video processing and analysis technology.

The funding from the Government’s Disruptive Technology Innovation fund is part of a €2.6m three-year project that is expected to involve the creation of 46 jobs for the two companies.

The new Video Intelligent Search Platform (Visp) will, according to Overcast chief executive Philippe Brodeur, be used by his company and Kinesense to target a €50bn global market and generate an estimated €9m of sales by 2024.

“Visp will enable the exploitation of video for the criminal justice-security and for the media and entertainment markets both domestically and internationally,” said Mr Brodeur, explaining that Visp is a cloud-based platform that uses artificial intelligence andmachine learning to categorise and understand video content.

According to Mr Brodeur, Visp will allow businesses and organisations to better use the billions of hours of new video which are generated every year.

It can be used to help organisations gain insights and to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes more quickly, he said.

In addition to starting work on the development of Visp in 2020, Overcast is also making plans to expand sales of its own technology into the US in 2020 and is hoping to break into Hollywood.

Mr Brodeur said several Hollywood studios are now trying out Overcast’s video platform, which has been designed to allow users to securely store, share, and collaborate on video content.

“We are hoping to sign one of the major studios by the summer,” he said, adding that the company is targeting companies in the media and entertainment industries as well as large enterprises and Fortune 2000 companies.

Expansion into the US follows development in the Irish market where Overcast’s customers include The Daily Mail Group, Vodafone, and Virgin Media.

Prior to setting up the company in 2015, Mr Brodeur, a Canadian, worked at the BBC in London before moving to Ireland to join TV3 and, subsequently, to help set up TV3.ie.

Seeing a gap in the market for a solution to manage video in the cloud, he co-founded Overcast with IT engineer Zsolt Lorincz, the company’s chief technology officer.

Establishing the company at an office in Dublin’s Merrion Square in late 2015, the company secured €50,000 in Competitive Start Funding from Enterprise Ireland and launched on the market in 2017. Mr Brodeur said they quickly realised that they needed a technology partner to gain traction.

Last year, Overcast’s technology was incorporated on to the platform of Avid Technology — a multimedia orgainisation whose platform is used by the major Hollywood studios and by major international news organisations. “This was a major breakthrough for Overcast,” he said.

Earlier this year, Overcast released its first product on the Amazon Web Services Marketplace, gaining access to AWS’s 1m customers.

Mr Brodeur said that since inception, Overcast has raised €1m in funding and currently employs eight staff.

It had joined forces with Kinesense whose offering is technology used to automatically search video content and whose main markets are law enforcement and security. In combining the technologies, skills, and experience of the companies, Mr Brodeur believes it is possible to revolutionise the management and use of video.

While some large organisations are working on this type of technology for their own use, he said Overcast and Kinesense are the first to develop a product for the market.

Plans for 2020 involve employing additional software developers to work on the Visp project. As part of Overcast’s plans to expand sales in the US, it will also be hiring a salesperson.

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