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Jack Henderson
June 6, 2016

Social Media on TV!

OOZO.tv is a web based digital signage system that displays social media content. We use it here at betahaus and if you’ve been in our cafe you know what we're talking about! Our recent chat with Founder Norton Amato Jr. explains how OOZO.tv has become the platform it is today and what the story behind it is.

You started from Digitaltailoring, to TwitRadar, to OOZO.tv - Can you tell us the story?

TwitRadar was born as an experimental project inside our digital agency, Digitaltailoring.com. We wanted to take large amounts of data and combine it with engaging visuals to create something that would get more attractive as people contributed. We started out by telling our close friends about it and popularity snowballed. It was 2009 and we managed to take advantage of Twitter's popularity. The only problem was the social network landscape was changing, Facebook and Instagram’s popularity was rising, and we wanted to incorporate them. Unfortunately, the platform wasn’t flexible enough to incorporate these channels.

Fast forward to April 2012, just after our first BETAPITCH in Berlin. I sat in on a talk by betahaus' CEO Christoph Fahle; he was sharing his thoughts on betahaus' internal communication challenges. He wanted to make communication more democratic and interactive; it was then I realised that we would have to rebuild our core system from scratch. So I told Christoph that if he was crazy enough to install a display inside the betahaus cafe, I would develop the new software for him for free. He agreed! We struck a deal and by November 2012 the new system was born, rebranded as OOZO.tv.

 

"I told Christoph that if he was crazy enough to install a display inside the betahaus cafe, I would develop the new software for him for free."

 

OOZO.tv

 

What kinds of social media can you incorporate into the stream of OOZO.tv nowadays?

OOZO.tv is already pulling content from all major social networks, including Youtube and Vimeo. We support Facebook, Twitter and Instagram whilst also capturing and filtering #hashtagged posts. The Pro plan offers the possibility to upload videos, images or gifs straight to the TV. That content doesn’t necessarily need to be online.

Sounds impressive! What main developments are you focusing on now?

Right now, it is to increase the number of installed displays as fast as possible. Since February we've been offering a Freemium version of the system to get more users on board. The only entry barrier right now is to get a computer connected to the display, some people are using Chromecasts, smart TVs, laptops or even old desktops. Anything goes and we're not going to restrict the possibilities.

As a result, our user database has more than doubled its size. Monthly captured content is now over 500 thousand posts and our server engineers are almost freaking out! That's empowering us to find better partnerships and projects with bigger brands in retailing.

We’re also working on connecting new networks (LinkedIn & Pinterest) whilst enhancing control over content. In addition, we are planning to launch audio integration from Soundcloud and Spotify.

 

"some people are using Chromecasts, smart TVs, laptops or even old desktops. Anything goes and we're not going to restrict the possibilities."

 

Oozo team
The team at OOZO.tv 

OOZO.tv as a service and product has developed due to and in relationship with innovations in technology. What technological developments have you found crucial and what biggest leaps did you take?

The biggest leap we've had is adapting it to run with Raspberry Pi. We had to rebuild the front end from Flash to Javascript and HTML5 interface. That made the product more compatible and more prepared for the market.

More recently to support the Freemium plans, we integrated the system with Google Double-click and 3rd party Ad Tech. That's a key piece of the OOZO.tv platform! Programmatic media will enable us to support advertising and generate income for venue owners.

Any valuable tips for our community?

Well, if you're considering going all the way to prove your idea and to start your own business, do it! Just remember: you have to go all-in, and you'll have a lot of bad days before the good ones come. Furthermore it requires a variety of skills, so; study a lot, talk to people, be humble and ask for help, you can learn something new from everyone. The most important part however is: take your time to select the right people. Don't go signing contracts just because you need the money, that's the worst thing you can do! Look for partners and investors that have proven experience in the field and find someone that is willing to offer their time and not just money.

 

"Study a lot, talk to people, be humble and ask for help, you can learn something new from everyone"

 

We've worked with OOZO.tv for some time now and love what they're doing, check out this video of our CEO Christoph Fahle talking about how OOZO.tv works in our cafe!

Make your first step in coworking today. Here you can find out more about how to do that.

Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them. 

Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.

Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for  betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear. 

Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.



Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK


Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

Want to get in touch with Obst Digital? Come around betahaus | Neukölln and meet them here or send them an email to contact@obst.digital !

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