The NY Video Meetup had three very different presenters at AOL’s headquarters on Thursday, the first being Chat&, which allows a company’s live sales and support staff to connect directly with customers via real-time video sessions. It‘s so real in fact, that the experience is like entering a virtual e-showroom that recreates the face-to-face experience.
Michael Lebor, the CEO of Chat&, explained the service: “We’ve created an online video collaboration platform. We’re looking to bridge the gap between online conversions and offline conversions, where the customer and sales rep can see the exact same thing at the exact same time. We give customers a score between 0-100 with 0 being least likely to buy and 100 being most likely to buy.”
“The objective is that we don’t have any idle sales reps,” Lebor continued. If a sales rep is sitting there, we want them to go hunting for customers. So, on one side the agent can see certain diagnostics – the browser I’m in or what type of hardware I have — and I can see him. Never before online has the customer and sales agent been able to interact and see the exact same product.”
Daniel Lebor, Michael’s brother, was employee number one and said that he enjoyed working with his brother, although they have come to the conclusion that they need to clearly divide the duties. “Being part of a startup is a lot of juggling. Everybody wears a ton of different hats. But we found that he needs to do certain things and I have to do things. That’s everything from product development to paying the bills.”
Condition One, a NYC TechStars company, presented its video technology. “We pioneered the next standard in video technology to enable media companies, brands and consumers to create powerful immerseful experiences for immerging platforms,” said CEO Danfung Dennis. “So we’ve created some software that allows users to move an iPad, and as they move it around they can control the video. They can look around in different directions as the video is playing. So we’ve created a way to really immerse the viewer into a video experience.”
Dennis had been working as a photo journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006, and his images were being published in The New York Times and Newsweek. “But I wasn’t really able to convey that medium, so I moved into video in July 2009. I built a camera system that allowed me to shoot high quality cinematic video in a compact rig. I shot and directed a feature length documentary called ‘Hell and Back Again,’ and was in theaters nationwide. But again, I wasn’t capable of conveying that experience with existing technology. So, I developed a new way to communicate and a new way to try and bring viewers into the story. I assembled a team of engineers and designers to try and pioneer this new standard or the next standard of video technology. It’s been an evolution – there have been a lot of different changes from what we thought were possible. But I try to surround myself with people that are optimist, that are there to encourage and to provide support, along with a network that’ll tip the table ever so slightly in your favor.”
Another presenter, Alexandra MacArthur, was more about content. She is the writer, director and editor of her own web series called, ‘Lessons from my Early Twenties.’ “What’s special about the production is that I did a lot of it on my own,” she said. “I moved here from San Francisco and I really didn’t know anybody. A lot of the crew was union but we did a volunteer work scenario. The content itself can be a little off the hinges.” For example, in episode two the lead character Oona MacCaferty ages from twenty to twenty four. One of the experiences that happens to her when she’s 21, is she’s with this guy and she can’t figure out how to breakup with him because he’s so sexy and he fixes all her electronic supplies. But in the process of breaking up with him, she’s on the bike and crashes into a bunch of people and breaks her arm. He ends up having to take care of her.
“I came up with the idea because one day I was just writing a little sketch of stories from when I was in my early twenties. I was thinking that I would want to write a book about my early twenties. Then I asked myself what is one experience that I could think of from each age. So, I just jotted it down on my iPhone. I thought it was really funny, so I shared it with my friends and ended up making each story into a script.”
MacArthur’s script is ongoing, and she has already started to shoot and edit the next season. But what about Oona’s boy problem? “Oh — she breaks up with him the next episode,” she added.