SME Tech

The growth and growth of our video world

Intelligent SME interviews Adam Ridgway, CEO of Travall World, winner of Disruptive Entrepreneur Awards at SME World 2016, about the enormous potential of video content creation, distribution and usage in the region.

Intelligent-SME-interviews-Adam-Ridgway“Being present in the hyper-growing sector of digital content production, it awards me the pressure, need and ability to set aside several hours each week to research (on and off-line) facts and trends in a bid to find that swirling spectrum of blinding luminescence which is the gateway to the ‘Future of Digital.’ Of course I haven’t discovered it yet, nor has anyone, not even Mr Facebook himself. However, what is about to unfold upon anyone who isn’t prepared, may reveal a reaction and not a response,” says Adam Ridgway.

Has video taken off as per its potential on social or as the predominant means of presentation especially as it is seen as expensive?
Video has ‘taken off’ by many progressive agencies/clients and marketers, the rate of consumption of video is very much NOW, this is the phrase I’ve been delivering in various keynotes.

Many people think video is expensive, yet what many don’t yet fully appreciate, is video is evergreen content.  It’s there for life – and beyond.  As long as it’s effective with a solid story being shown it’s proven to be one of the most effective forms of marketing.  65% of all traffic online will be video in 2017 (statistic courtesy of Mark Zuckerberg amongst others) are we in a position to ignore this?

Digital content doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be effective. You can spend hundreds of thousands of ‘AED/$/£’ producing a video, do you need to? If it isn’t delivered/ broadcast effectively, it won’t result in ROI – you don’t get the budget signed off for another three years and you’re left behind with a beautifully shot un-engaging video.

Are we ever going to get past the GIFs and other short videos on social that are used to convey unusual moments? Please outline the potential of the various forms of video, as a means of presentation and communication.
GIFs and are attention effective and fun.  Creatively not WOW, but new and some Cinemagraphs are impressive.  I wrote a blog recently on effective video ideas (www.travall.tv/blog) which summarised how to capture great video content – with technology as advanced as it is, one’s creativity can be applied.  If you apply my phrase of “Show your audience everything, tell them nothing”, then there will be new formats of cool ways of broadcasting a message. I’m looking forward to creating some of them.

We’ve been discussing 3D videos with Google recently, very very exciting conversations being developed.  The charming conclusion to one conversation was “it’s all about the story being shown”.  A 3D video of the business class of an airline is a ‘nice to have’ will it trigger sales?  Doubtful.  Will a journey you can interact with create brand engagement?  Absolutely.

Lest not forget the adage that simple can sometimes be the most effective solution.  Our approach is, “What is the message wanting to be delivered? We then challenge ourselves with, “How best to do it”.

Any forecasts/ numbers that you may have of video adoption/ increase in usage, in the region or globally, in areas besides in entertainment.
Travel and Tourism will use a lot more video content in the future – it’s one of the most effective (both financially and in time) to help a viewer/customer get an immersive experience. 87% of people take reviews on board before making a purchase, and the most effective is word-of-mouth – so Travall are pioneering video reviews ‘Show your city through your eyes’ and is proving to both users of our app/website and B2B in achieving greater figures influencing audiences.

To really send the industry into a frenzy the lenses on smart phones need to be enhanced for internal/low-lighting environments.  The Sony cameras are proving the best at the moment – yet the video editing apps on Android aren’t as fantastic as Apple’s iMovie.

I’ve had several meetings with Google recently which was an awesome experience both here in New York which offered various elements for consideration – one of them recently is to focus on localising the Mobile App, which we are bringing forward to Q3 this year in time for a collaborative drive with Google in November 2016.  We are very thankful and conscious of our location and want to give back something fun, engaging and positive to the region.  We didn’t focus on it before as we needed to get it right in one language UI/UX before localising.

Can you give examples where Travall and its products are making a difference and being adopted rapidly?
I mentioned B2B earlier – our features to generate Big usable Data for clients is proving very effective, many clients are adopting our approach to build user loyalty, engagement and interaction above some of the other popular entertainment, dining, voucher and discount apps around. For example: If a ‘Travaller’ creates a video review, shares on social media they not only earn points and status, but receive a 20% discount off their bill. This is one effective uptake.  Another is how we actively promote and market each and everyone of our clients – there’s a method and secret behind our strategy.

Since Travall was conceived in the preperiscope era, how do you expect it will pan out as Periscope etc. grow in usage? What other threat environments do you foresee and how will your business model change?
When conceptualising Travall, we carefully structured a multitude of features and revenue streams some of which will remain dormant for a some time – but are able to be implemented depending upon markets, economy and necessity. This protects the business model somewhat, if its able to lean on one vertical whilst another is affected, then this should prove to be a robust model.

Travall have just signed a deal with a global hotel booking engine and an international food delivery and booking platform which will allow us to expand into key markets throughout Q3 and 4 this year.  It’s incredible exciting and humbling that these international digi-bohemoths are wanting to work with us.

As a business start-up, where does Travall stand today, in the journey to a profitable, high-value enterprise?
We are humble and appreciate where we are today, we also have a creative yet focused vision of where we will be in 1-5 years (there’s also a 10 year plan which features certain people working for the group who don’t even realise it yet).  Travall World has been a considerable investment both financially and time – constantly needing to adapt to accommodate the speed, understanding of the market and decision makers.  We research a lot – internationally, leading iconoclasts pave the way, naturally.  We need to educate as much as inspire our clients to spend on themselves.

From our pre-launch phase, we are high value, big impact and effectively priced – allowing us volume.  We packaged a ‘business in a box’ option for franchising and JVs – which are currently being discussed in  several territories, with several  tourism boards.

It’s good to take stock and see where and how we are valued to investors (helping to reaffirm vision) and also maintain a focused humility.  It also allows us to be on the radar of various VCs and Funds.  Our stakeholders and I are discussing external investment opportunities to accelerate growth internationally.  However, my primary focus is very much deep routed  in the UAE.

What additional potential do you see for Travall in the workd of IoT & Wearables?
IoT, this has excited me for 8+ years now – I had a discussion whilst on business overseas where a few of us were discussing WIFI and connection speed being taken for granted by most of us these days, I also stated that there will come a time that Internet will be able to ‘refract’ and interconnect everything.  Clearly I’m not the pioneer of this life-enhancing motion towards, but a keen advocate for the solution.  An element I wouldn’t like to lose some control of is the personal interconnectivity, the ability of being able to communicate with each other.  We’re already experiencing this with friendships being kept alive through messaging, relationships being enhanced with Skype, business deals agreed through email.  The human connection does need and deserve attention.  Which is what we are delivering, and will continue to focus on.  We really are pioneering Digital PR – that ‘word-of-mouth’ albeit digital recommendation based platform to visually and emotionally communicate your experiences with a community.  Having a permanent connection will enhance our sharing ability and communication of things – enhanced by IoT.  So we are all aboard!

In terms of wearables, the ideas are slightly more advanced than the technology at the moment – we’ve seen it with most tech solutions and this is no variant.  VR, AI, 3D are all fantastically impressive, are we going to lose the want to experience something physically? No.  Will it inspire us to travel, immerse and commit to that experience?  Absolutely.

About the author

SPI Group

SPI Group is a well known publishing house in the Middle Eastern region. The group possesses three premium publications: Intelligent SME, Robust RAK and Apps Middle East. The group also conducts the Emirates NBD Global Business Series, The SME World Summit and The Global App Summit.

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