Lingospot: An Evolution in Context Understanding

Lingospot: An Evolution in Context Understanding
by Nikos Iatropoulos

Lingospot’s Beginning

Lingospot was formed in 2007 to improve human-computer interaction via an understanding of the “context” of each interaction. At that time, while other companies focused on the user experience of these interactions, we focused on better understanding what a particular user would find most interesting, based on everything that could be determined about that user and the circumstances surrounding them.  This focus was driven by the research in statistical natural language processing (NLP) by our co-founder and CTO, Dr. Gerald Chao. Dr. Chao’s work in NLP allowed the company’s algorithms to, among other things, understand the relative importance of various topics and concepts mentioned within a document to the broader meaning of such content.

Interconnecting Online Publishers

The first application of the contextual understanding was in online publishing.  By understanding what was important within each article, we’re able to allow publishers to better interlink their growing libraries of digital documents and allow readers to serendipitously discover interesting content.  We’ve now analyzed more than three billion articles over the course of six years from leading online publishers such as Bloomberg, Gannett, Forbes, TIME, McClatchy, BSkyB, and many others.  Most importantly, the learning algorithms have been able to better understand what a reader will find useful within a particular context.

From Online Publishing to Television

For over half a century, watching TV has been a lean back experience. Whether watching the news, a sporting event or a thrilling new movie, viewers were usually glued to their couches, at least since the advent of the remote control in the 1950’s.  With the proliferation of broadband, on-demand video and the ever growing propensity of viewers to multitask, television is ripe for disruption. Viewers are already indicating this with their behavior: close to 80% of them are multitasking on their computers, tablets or phones while watching TV.  We can now make these interactions easier and more meaningful.

Whether for sports, news, drama, reality, documentaries or any other TV genre, the technology surfaces the most relevant articles, photos, profiles, stock charts, etc.  Such companion content is then made available to TV and cable networks, cable companies, satellite companies, telcos and SmartTV manufacturers, all of which can integrate this content into their current or future applications.

Some examples of how the technology can improve the TV watching experience include:

-You’re watching American Hustle on VOD and you can’t seem to remember who the actress playing Sydney Prosser is.  You know you recognize her as Lois Lane from Man of Steel, but you’ve also seen her somewhere else recently.  And what was her name? Pulling up your cable company’s tablet app, you’ll immediately find out that the actress in question is Amy Adams and that other movie you recently saw her in was Her in which she played Amy.  You’ll also learn that she was born in Italy, raised a Mormon and has six siblings.  If you’d like, you can even schedule alerts whenever one of her movies is available for VOD in the future.

– You’re watching CNN and learn that Malaysia Flight 370 is now presumed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean.  You want to learn more about the back story and the details as the story progressed during the last two weeks.  When you open your CNN app, the technology will automatically create a timeline of the coverage with all relevant CNN articles, photos and other information about the disappearance and the crash.  You can also subscribe to get email alerts as content around the story is published.

Markets of Interest

We’re focused on improving the TV watching experience and looking to forge partnerships within the ecosystem of video distribution and delivery in the living room.  Our company aims to provide the best companion content for each TV program and help each TV viewer have a more satisfying, entertaining and informative experience.

Nikos Iatropoulos is the co-founder and CEO of Lingospot, a contextually aware content recommendation and discovery platform.  Prior to Lingospot he held key positions in several startups, including founding CEO of Upstream, a global mobile marketing company, founding COO of Snack TV and head of RCS Mobile (acquired by Clear Channel). Nikos has also been an investment banker for Credit Suisse and a management consultant for Booz & Co. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University and a M.B.A. from MIT Sloan.