In his role as CTO, Dr Gopichand Katragadda drove innovation for the Tata Sons and its subsidiaries as a global conglomerate. In 2018, he left Tata Group to work on his new project — the Myelin Foundry where he, along with co-founders, is working to transform human experiences in various areas using artificial intelligence on video, voice and sensor data for edge devices.
The Myelin Foundry team has expertise in productising deep learning frameworks including CNNs, and GANs, with applications in media and entertainment, health and wellness, and national security. In an interaction with Analytics India Magazine, Dr Katragadda shares more details on how Myelin Foundry is leveraging AI for its products.
AIM: Tell us about the inception idea behind Myelin Foundry.
Dr Katragadda: I started Myelin Foundry early this year, along with my co-founders Ganesh Suryanarayanan and Aditi Olemann, with an aim to create a product-oriented company out of India with global-first products, leveraging Artificial Intelligence at its core.
Artificial Intelligence in recent years has contributed significantly in the areas of NLP, Image recognition, and voice recognition. The next domains which are being impacted are video processing, game streaming, medical imaging and automated surveillance.
The key focus for Myelin Foundry is to enable the transition of media and entertainment to over-the-top (OTT), leveraging AI. The timing is right, and with 5G around the corner, ultra HD content, UGC, and democratisation of visual effects will happen soon.
AIM: Which industry verticals is Myelin Foundry targeting?
Dr Katragadda: The OTT industry globally is a $35 billion industry giving tough competition to broadcast. In India, the industry is transitioning from a niche market of a millennial, young male from metros to a mainstream market with more than 60% viewership coming from non-metros. The industry is growing at a very high rate and the key challenges include monetisation, high-quality content creation, and overall viewer experience. With an initial focus on the India OTT market, Myelin will quickly expand with global customers.
Myelin’s immediate focus is to enable the media and entertainment industry’s transition to over-the-top (OTT) services, where we are creating products to enhance the end-user experience and automate content creation.
AIM: What are the various AI technologies that Myelin Foundry leverages?
Dr Katragadda: Recent advances improvements in AI applicability to various industries are driven by few algorithmic changes, but mostly increased the availability of computational power. At Myelin, we have developed significant expertise in the deployment of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) which work on abstracting image, video, and aural content. Content-aware abstractions allow us to perform operations such as super res, video and audio recommendation, automation of visual effects. In addition, we leverage deep learning in its full capability, including GANs.
Today we are focused on transforming multimedia experiences and outcomes using AI. The Myelin team has expertise in productising deep learning frameworks including CNNs, and GANs, with applications on media and entertainment, and National Security. Our R&D pipeline also has solutions for the Health and Wellness industry.
AIM: How does your solution enhance the experience for OTT users using AI?
Dr Katragadda: Myelin’s video super-resolution capabilities enable zero-delay and zero re-buffer OTT services with the highest quality of experience on the device, at a fractional cost. Since 75% of data traffic, today is video, and this is set to increase with 5G, we are helping accelerate the penetration of video streaming while enhancing the viewer experience. We are cognizant that every bit of a video stream results in climate impact. Our solution enables the lowest carbon footprint for streaming.
With Myelin AI, you will consume videos at the highest quality, with no buffering or delays, even at low bandwidth. Shortly, our solution will also enable personalised immersive viewing experience and interactive viewing, which are the next big waves in video and OTT.
AIM: Please elaborate on the current solutions and tech stack that Myelin Foundry is offering?
Dr Katragadda: The Myelin solution performs sub-pixel convolution and further processing, real-time and at the edge. We work with hardware partners to access chipset features that enable deployment at 30 fps and even 60 fps, thus enabling both video and game streaming.
The neural network training with a significant amount of data, leverages our cloud AI, infrastructure partners. Our solutions leverage to the fullest extent, the latest GPUs, on the cloud while maximising the use of available compute at the edge, including mobile devices.
AIM: How will the $1 million from seed funding round be used?
Dr Katragadda: Myelin Foundry has closed a $1M seed funding round in September 2019. This round has been led by Endiya Partners with an investment of $500K. This funding will be used for accelerating product development and market penetration.
AIM: What are your research and development initiatives at Myelin Foundry ?
Dr Katragadda: In the OTT Media and Entertainment space, Myelin will continue R&D on its content-aware engine and build a pipeline of products that will transform viewer experience and enable personalisation of OTT.
Myelin also has a pipeline of AI solutions that will disrupt the wellness market using unstructured data to measure and track inflammation. Myelin’s content-aware engine also has applications in National Security and EPC and we have paying customers in these domains.
AIM: Please share your expansion and business growth plans.
In the Media and Entertainment space, we will be launching our product early next year and plan to look at India as well as the international market We have currently filed 1 patent and plan to file 3 more this year.
In the Health and Wellness space, our product will be launched in 2021. In addition, we will continue to engage clients in EPC and National Security, advising them in using Artificial Intelligence for Decision Automation
AIM: What is your hiring and training strategy within Myelin Foundry? Please elaborate from the technology skills perspective.
Dr Katragadda: We have started a journey with a 20-member team which we envisage would grow up to 65 in three years. We have a core team of AI product engineers with experience in deep learning. We also have functional and industry experts who are helping us build the right products for the respective industries. Our leadership team includes technologists with decades of experience in AI with companies such as GE and Intel.