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SMW '19: IBM's Scott Grizzle Talks AI and What's New with Watson

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to Streaming Media West 2019, if you hear the alarms in the background that's not because they're coming after me; it's because something's going on in the hotel. I've got with me today Scott Grizzle from IBM and Scott actually has been in the industry as long as I've been. So you said 20 years coming to this show, where was your first show?

Scott Grizzle: Very first show was in San Jose.

Tim: At the McEnery Convention Center.

Scott: It was the very first time, it was a massive show.

Tim: It really was.

Scott: And then we did other locations, then came back but it was up there for years.

Tim: And I remember in fact there was the Westin that was right across the street from that. The St. Clair, I think, is what it was called. That was before they put in the... Well before they put the parking deck in they actually had a place where you could ice skate in the winter.

Scott: That's right.

Tim: Right down there. So that sort of dates us. And the irony is of course we're back now in a Westin in downtown L.A. I honestly liked the having it up in Silicon Valley but I understand also why they've moved it south to be a part of the entertainment capital. You were mentioning just before we went on the air... that there's a lot going on in streaming this week.

Scott: Yes.

Tim: So there are multiple shows, sports, Esports, there were a couple other ones you mentioned.

Scott: Well, Salesforce and Dreamforce have been.

Tim: Yeah, the Dreamforce.

Scott: That's a major event going on there. I know there's Autodesk is doing some stuff. There's a million different little events going on, or not little, there's a lot of big events going on this week. It's kind of an appropriate timing for this show.

Tim: It is, and you know, maybe it's that run-up to just before Thanksgiving where everything goes into a lull. So, you've moved around the industry quite a bit, you're with IBM, I think you've been with IBM for the last two or three times that we did interviews with.

Scott: Almost six years. Ustream and IBM about almost six years.

Tim: Oh that's right, because you were at Ustream. So what's your focus, well what's your title at IBM now?

Scott: So I just transitioned from being the lead sales engineer to channels and alliances. I'm working with new partners, getting them signed up, and, you know, making sure we're gonna build those partners more effectively.

Tim: Okay. And Watson was one of the things we talked about in interviews past. Where's the focus with that for video at this point?

Scott: Again we still do the video enrichment where it can do metadata extraction, scene analysis, transcripts, understanding what's being said, and do actually scene selection. Obviously closed captioning is very big. We're actually nominated for a readers' choice award on our captioning. We're just trying to make it all into a uniform packaging. Make it play on our streaming platform. The next level: use AI to help enhance the different aspects.

Tim: So one of the things that came up... I was thinking about this morning during the initial keynote, which was the gentleman from Amazon with the FireStick, he was talking about voice control, and rolling out voice control. Obviously with Watson and a lot of the underlying speech detection engines that IBM has, he was describing a practical application of that. What are some of the other applications from a consumer-facing standpoint that AI is good for?

Scott: Well, if you look at how the cable companies are using it for the remote controls. So, you can speak to it, and you can find things. Again, the right speech-to-text, and the right search algorithms, you can do really fast search and recommendations. So I'm looking for, you know, Game of Thrones, and then here are other shows like Game of Thrones. Or maybe recommendations of what you're asking for. And it can look for the patterns. But also if your kid logs on, and they watch the Baby Shark, they don't have Game of Thrones recommendations.

Tim: Well, and that is one of the issues that we've had in the past is the recommendation engine was smart in terms of discovery, but not so smart in understanding that there are different users that are a part of it. So does it also look to sense that it's different voices as opposed to somebody actively having to log into different accounts, or...

Scott: Yeah, exactly, I mean you can definitely see in the closed captioning you can do a notation for different speaker change. A male or female speaker. A child speaker. Because obviously a child's voice is much different than an adult. So you can do different things like that, and it'll show up faster in different aspects.

Tim: So what are the, with the role that you're now in with alliances and partnerships, what are some of the sort of practical examples if you can talk about that? I mean, obviously, some of those may be close hold that you can't discuss, but what's the idea that IBM wants to do from a partnership standpoint?

Scott: Well with AI, so we actually have customers who are doing kind of a really robust, in many cases almost make a CMS. So they're connecting video enrichment with streaming with other APIs. Do translation. Do multiple languages. So the whole idea is how you can interconnect, bring the metadata, and do the extraction. Because we have metadata, you can easily bring it in for a quicker search. With more information, we create a new user experience. And the whole idea with our partners is how can they have the next-level offering that their competitors have. Differentiators between what they have and what somebody else has, and the usability. Because if you have somebody who has a quick search, and a robust way of finding things, versus just another video platform out there. You know, just a repository. I mean, I have one customer who does about six hundred events a year, and now is trying to do UGC content. They have no idea what their content is. Now, how do you search that? You have to make transcripts, make search engines. Do algorithms. So now it gets more faster it's like they have a CMS on steroids. So now you can find stuff and it's more personalized for the individual.

Tim: One last question. I've worked with some of the guys from ... years ago. and of course you've worked with IBM Watson and speech-to-text. One of the tricks, or one of the challenges is always been multiple languages simultaneously. So I asked the gentleman from Amazon afterwards today, and he said eventually they loaded all the languages into an Alexa device. So it's not like there's just Hindi or just Spanish or just English. But I was asking about the question of people who tend to go back and forth between languages when they're talking. Have you all faces any of those challenges as you've looked at that? Or is it essentially a partner would license a single language as opposed to all languages?

Scott: A lot of our partners are doing single languages. The native languages and so on. But again IBM has a translation service. They actually have Watson APIs. They also have standard multiple languages. So in theory they can go through and change multiple languages and searches. The thing is, though, those aspects don't have the training engine. So it's a little bit different. But with the Watson Media side, our whole conference is making a user experience that is a little more trainable in one spot versus build your own trainer on top of what you have. To make it easier for the consumers.

Tim: Right, so essentially you've got more of the stack there that you're offering.

Scott: Correct.

Tim: All right, well, Scott, as always it's always a pleasure to speak to you and we'll be right back here in just a few minutes with our next interview.

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