Whiz Technologies brings innovation for Mobile, OTT Video and Amazon Echo
Mobile news is the future, whether we like it or not. New ways to read, hear and utilize media are being carved into the consumer landscape. App developers have contributed greatly to this, developing useful tools for publishers and consumers allowing for more control of their media experience.
Companies like Whiz Technologies have stepped in to facilitate the need for easy to access digital and video content, especially for media company heavy hitters such as Schurz Communications, Dispatch Digital, Cordillera Communications, Evening Post Industries, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and NPG (News-Press & Gazette Company).
Nikhil Modi, CEO of Whiz Technologies recently spoke with News & Tech about the company’s platform for app development and why he thinks so many have chosen Whiz to give them the tools to reach a wider audience.
“They choose us because our MediaFlow platform provides all the digital touch points to the consumer, including mobile, OTT and interactive voice. We realize that one size does not fit all and will customize the platform itself for the specifics they require or need,” Modi said.
This individuality offers more varied features and designs for companies—allowing them to stand out among an ocean of media on the internet.
“One of the unique features we have recently introduced is ‘Personalization’, wherein the user of the device personalizes the news that they want to consume and only news stories from sections of their interest will flow into their ‘ Timeline’,” Modi said. “We provide multiple touch controls to interact with the apps. The user experience is valued the most, so we try to make options available.”
Whiz also offers a background refresh that works with reader habits.
“If you constantly check the app at noon, it will learn to wake up in the background a few minutes before noon, automatically refresh the stories and page before you visit the app providing for an instant-on experience,” Modi said.
Whiz is all about choice and user experience, which is why many organizations have partnered with the company.
Large customization with visuals is also available with Whiz. The animations that appear and how they appear, the style and layout of the app or content, as well as the typography used.
Challenges as opportunities
Modi doesn’t see any of this work as a challenging obstacle though.
“I wouldn’t say there are challenges,” Modi said. “I find it fun. It is just a new puzzle to figure out and push forward.”
The company also enables everything to come with monetization opportunities, whether that be through advertisements, deals or subscriptions.
“The digital landscape is changing rapidly. Amazon, Apple and Android are all changing rapidly and on the fly,” said Modi. “So, if anything the challenge is that technologies need to be developed in tune with the changes.”
LiveFrame for OTT
Whiz also offers platforms for video distribution and monetization using Over The Top (OTT) apps like Apple TV, Roku TV and Amazon Fire TV. One of the ways Whiz is innovating and adapting is a product called ‘LiveFrame’. The product allows for publishers, local media, and people to connect in a multitude of ways. The product allows access to 24/7 linear content, breaking news, weather, advertising and more in a single video view.
“Millennials want to consume content in various formats that are easier for them, it could be mobile devices, video TV devices, interactive audio devices like Amazon Echo as well as Messenger Bots.” Modi said. “We want to enable the consumer to make the choices and allow for local media to facilitate these choices. Further, our mobile products allow for user generated content, that can be curated by the publisher.”
The product will allow for user generated content or UGC. For example a user can take a video of a traffic jam or accident and submit it to the news provider who can then curate this user generated video for use for the news.
Evening Post uses Whiz
The Evening Post Publishing Group has been using the Whiz platform for mobile, OTT and video.
“Whiz hosts our apps for Post and Courier, Aiken Standard, Free Times and South Strand News,” said Kurt Knapek, director of audience and digital media at The Evening Post Publishing Group. “They also have our OTT app for TV as well. Nikhil and his team are fantastic. I tell people he is our best vendor partner for a number of reasons. They are open to any idea and often bring them to us.”
Whiz is also developing products for Amazon’s Echo Alexa with the same features and satisfaction of mobile news and perks of the OTT streaming service. Users can get audio alerts on their news stories as well as traffic, weather, and daily briefings. Alexa offers summaries but users can also have conversations with Alexa to answer daily questions, and this is where Whiz is seeing opportunities to improve for the future.
“I really like that Whiz is customizable and they work with us, and what we want,” said Knapek. “It is what makes it such a great relationship. They have always been available if we have ever needed to contact them as well.” In regards to the service, Knapek enjoys what Whiz is offering.
“The apps visually are just much better, the ability for native ads, ad placement, and timeline views for the app are great,” Knapek said, “Even looking forward we are considering ways to include more longform journalism, as it has a different presentation.”