The world of social media could soon undergo a transformational change where fans will be able to have FaceTime conversations with celebrities as part of artificial intelligence and eCommerce company Crowd Media’s (ASX: CM8) joint venture with VFR, the creators of Zoe Dvir.
The joint venture which commenced in November 2020, combines Israeli-based VFR’s audio-visual technology which is applied in the life of virtual influencer Zoe Dvir who has more than 30,000 followers despite not being a real person, and Crowd’s AI-driven chatbot technology. Once merged together, it brings to fruition Crowd’s 3-year plan of producing celebrity and influencer doppelgangers that can have real-time conversations with fans in the form of a ‘talking head’.
“A handful of current platforms to create audio-visual ‘talking heads’ exist, but they are cumbersome, expensive and usually take many weeks to create just one single virtual ‘talking head’ such as the beta version we showcased in November, prior to this JV,” said Crowd Media CEO, Domenic Carosa in an email to investors.
“The platform we are developing aims to create unique talking heads in just days and at a fraction of the cost of current alternatives. This is particularly attractive in markets where a first mover advantage is prevalent, and/or where there are distinct consumer preferences.”
Together, the venture has reported major improvements to the visual element of talking heads produced to better reflect life-like facial features in high resolution 3D while also integrating advanced text-to-audio-to-video real time processors.
Once rolled out, it is planned that a fan will be able to have a FaceTime conversation with a celebrity where AI will handle the entire conversation and respond as if the celebrity was doing so themselves. The concept of Conversational Commerce has become particularly valuable in the current social media space where celebrities and influencers simply do not have the time or resources to respond to the thousands of messages they receive from fans daily.
“The market for AI-driven Conversational Commerce opportunities is expanding rapidly, as can be seen by Nasdaq-listed LivePerson Inc. in the US. ” added Carosa.
While LivePerson, which has a market cap of around USD $4.3 billion, offers similar chatbot technology as Crowd, it is text-based only but widely used on eCommerce sites to offer customer service assistance.
Highlighting the growing preferential shift of consumers away from traditional brick-and-mortar spending, LivePerson reported a 52% decrease in in-store retail traffic and more than 300% increase in their text-based conversations over the period.
Crowd has previously announced plans to commercialise their talking head technology in 2022 while 2021 will see major developments towards that goal. Concurrently, the Company has flagged the fintech sector as a 2021 focus of it’s Crowd Direct division which sells products and services directly to consumers, leveraging their network of more than 10,000 social influencers that operate in 30 languages.
Overnight, Carosa also oversaw the official listing of Banxa, a cryptocurrency company he founded, on the TSX Venture Exchange in Canada.
In December 2020, Emerald Financial released an Analyst report on Crowd Media which can be accessed here.
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