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23 July 2020

Start-up Veego weighs in on network context as a standalone market

Network analytics as a means of slashing customer support costs is a market covered by Faultline virtually on a weekly basis stretching back two decades, but in terms of really drilling down to the contextual consumer level, this represents a relatively closed book for network operators.

Unless, of course, you are a specialist start-up like Veego, which was drawn to our recent coverage of Dublin-based connected home start-up Sweepr – claiming its own AI-based smart care technology is complementary to most network software vendors on the market today.

But while Sweepr focuses on the context of consumers’ connectivity problems within the wider diagnostic environment, specializing in deploying software behind consumer-facing apps and voice assistants, Israel-based Veego is deeply invested in contextual detection of issues within the home router itself.

“Our AI model creates signatures of all the different services and we download an agent to the router, so there is a small piece of software in each home that looks at each individual session and can recognize each individual session for what it is – whether streaming Netflix or playing Fortnite,” explained Assaf Katan, Veego COO.

We pushed our point for how major operators have surely cornered this part of the market for themselves with in-house software developments. Katan agreed, listing tier 1s like AT&T and Comcast, perhaps even BT, as already having software agents on routers capable of recognizing individual sessions. The opportunity, however, lies with smaller tier 2 and 3 network operators.

Gaining a reputation as a smart home malfunction detection specialist, Veego has something called the Global Malfunction Signature Library, which is in the process of being renamed to the more positive moniker of the Global Performance Signature Library – reflective of its shift in strategy. This library places network anomalies into five buckets – Server, WAN, Router, LAN, and Device.

Veego has designed a system to free up ISP customer call resources by resolving connected home problems. The SaaS self care product guides consumers to which specific service or device manufacturer needs to be contacted and can be integrated with virtual chatbots. Using AI-based detection software and the Global Performance Signature Library, Veego identifies the nature and cause of a problem whether inside or outside the home. One of Faultline’s greatest gripes with analytics platforms, not just in networks but all corners of the digital entertainment ecosystem, is how identifying a problem is obsolete if the technology cannot go about finding a solution. Veego is at least striking a balance here from the end user self care point of view.

Probing for details on what makes Veego’s algorithms tick, Katan commented, “Nothing is off the shelf in Israel. We have a really strong set of machine learning and AI algorithms that we are really proud of, with no personal information stored in our software as we don’t sit in connected devices, only the router.”

The router-deployed client software reports back to the Veego Cloud for analysis, which defaults to AWS but can be deployed on-prem too. While self care is a key component, should subscribers pick up the phone, then network data can be harnessed by customer call centers to improve the experience – to inform the complainant specifically where the problem lies and what can be done about it. This could be congestion in the ISP’s last mile network, for example, or a fault in a specific streaming service’s server infrastructure, or – most commonly in 2020 – issues with in-home WiFi.

“The problem with WiFi connectivity is bad context. There are lots of false alarms and lots of service providers will admit to actually turning off their WiFi optimization software,” claimed Katan.

That is a rather bold statement to make against the very WiFi optimization vendors Veego is attempting to partner, although it’s hardly surprising to hear that network operators are prone to temper tantrums.

In terms of customer care, Katan noted that a sizable slice of subscribers that churn based on poor quality of service will never even consider picking up the phone to the customer call center – and would rather endure their contract through to the bitter end.

Through Veego, service providers are given a portal into device topology, device connectivity and bandwidth utilization, real-time device usage, consumed services and apps per device, device firmware upgrades, device interoperability, and usage patterns.

 

Recent endorsements from Amazon and AirTies in Sweepr, as well as deployments at a number of service providers globally under NDA for Veego, is putting context on the map as a technology market in its own right.