Dinosaurs to Digital: The Future of Online Streaming

In technology years, today’s methods of compressing and distributing video are as archaic as dinosaurs.  It may surprise you to learn that the underlying tech that is used to stream your favorite Netflix shows on your phone, or your next Zoom call on your laptop, should be on display at the Computer History Museum.

This is because Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are revolutionizing how online video is stored, transmitted, and managed. Pioneering the way is WaveOne: an OMEGA portfolio company led by an accomplished team with Facebook, Adobe, and MIT DNA.

WaveOne uses sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to produce exceptional video content with low bitrates and minimal error. With this approach, video quality will be much higher at a fraction of the cost of existing methods.


The Age of the Dinosaurs

According to Forbes, the average person spends 6 hours and 59 minutes consuming digital content (through a Connected TV, smartphone, tablet, or computer) every single day. Obviously, internet usage accounts for a large portion of that time.

But, did you know that almost 85% of all data transmitted on the internet is video? That means internet users spend countless hours streaming, sending, and receiving video that relies on outdated technology. Essentially, the algorithms used when you send a TikTok to your friend are technology fossils.

Why do these methods belong in a museum and not behind your screen? First of all, they barely changed over the last twenty years. Twenty years!  According to general consensus, the internet was born in 1983, which means that the same methods of video and transmission have been in use for half of its lifespan.  It stands to reason that the market is demanding increased efficiency and effectiveness.


WaveOne Today

In this new age of technology, companies like WaveOne are integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning into video compression and transmission to rescue our internet from the dark ages and usher it into a new era of faster, cheaper, higher-quality video.

The ultimate goal is to completely reinvent the way video is represented on the internet. Essentially, the company’s solutions have the capacity to replace legacy standards with AI-native video, a method of compression that comes with all sorts of advantages over traditional systems. Just a few such advantages include:

  • Superior compression: smaller video footprint with higher quality outputs
  • Better user experience
  • Faster and cheaper metadata tagging
  • Increased video resolution
  • Increased flexibility: the ML algorithms can be trained and continually improved as technology progresses


WaveOne’s Extraordinary Beginning

Lubomir Bourdev was the first person hired at Facebook, Inc to work specifically on computer vision, or the use of artificial intelligence to derive meaning from various forms of visual input (images, photos, etc.). He then founded Facebook’s computer vision team, but soon realized that he wanted to bring his own ideas for what “computer vision” could do to life. Lubomir teamed-up with former-Facebook colleague, Oren Rippel, to start WaveOne.

WaveOne believes that it is just a matter of time before the dinosaurs of the video compression industry go extinct. Lubomir believes that the way video is represented is poised to dramatically change, as almost all video on the internet has the potential to be replaced with AI-native video, which is WaveOne’s specialty.  The company is creating the foundation necessary to build the future: machine learning and AI natively integrated into video compression. Because WaveOne has an early-mover advantage in this space, one secured by an impressive moat of Intellectual Property, they have the potential to become a key player in the coming transformation.

“The way video is transmitted will dramatically change in the future, and we will be an integral part of that transformation because we are building the core enablers to bring that future to life.” Lubomir Bourdev, Co-Founder of WaveOne


Why Now

What makes WaveOne unique? In addition to its innovative technology and robust leadership, this company’s timing is sound, which is especially crucial in an industry that is approaching a precipice of change.

When Lubomir and Oren started the company, people thought they were crazy. The concept of machine learning was relatively new, and it hadn’t been adopted widely by other industries. So, everyone was skeptical about whether ML would be useful for video compression. However, WaveOne has gone on to demonstrate that their AI/ML-based solution outperforms current compression methods by a large margin. This is in part due to the advancement in Neural Networks—computational systems that are sometimes characterized as mimicking the firing of neurons and synapses in the human brain.

While an increasing number of companies are now waking-up to the potential for AI & ML to revolutionize video, Lubomir and Oren believe that WaveOne has secured important wins that give the company  a leg-up on the competition. We think WaveOne has an important role to play in enabling the new world of digital media consumption—one where content producers, distributors, and consumers all enjoy access to faster, cheaper, and higher quality video than ever before.


Special thanks to Jenna Malone for the help on this post.