Movi Tech: Surviving COVID-19 by keeping an eye on the future

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in many ways for the worse, it has also pushed individuals and businesses to innovate in order to survive.

IDEA Communication spoke to four such industry players to find out what they’ve done during this crisis to keep their businesses sustainable, and beneficial to their target markets.

In Part 2 of our four-part series on how businesses have been impacted by the pandemic and how they’ve adapted to the new normal, we speak to Lars-Erik Mogensen Ravn, CEO and Co-Founder of Norwegian software developer Movi Tech AS.

Movi Tech AS built the world’s first active mobile video player to unleash the full potential of mobile video by utilizing all the capabilities of modern smart devices. Its Movi Player is set to revolutionize click-to-play video by unleashing the full potential of mobile video,  while its Movi Deep Insights generates unique insights into video content and end-user attention.

The company made its Southeast Asia debut in Singapore, and has since expanded to Thailand, as well as China and Hong Kong. It recently signed a partnership with Singapore-based streaming provider Uiza.io to offer end-to-end solutions for publishers and media companies.

Slowed down, but not stopping

According to Ravn, the biggest negative impact the company observed was on its OEM customers.

“Online video — especially mobile video — had been growing tremendously even before the pandemic. Our OEM customers had planned to launch in Q1 and Q2 2020 but they simply had to postpone their launches due to factories and then markets being closed for an extended period in some of their key consumer segments.

“On the other hand, mobile commerce and video learning cases have proceeded faster than expected, as everybody is looking for new solutions as most things are now being done remotely,” he added.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Ravn said Movi’s live customers have seen a dramatic increase in video traffic and engagement, with unique views, users and watch time continuously growing. This is especially true in the case of longer-form content, with many people having more time to engage during lockdowns.

“Remote work has been business as usual for us since the beginning; we already had the processes and tools needed support this kind of work. This situation has to an extent levelled the playing field — no matter budget, Internet and webcam meetings are the same for everyone.

“Even though the closing of borders and international new early-stage financing made things exponentially harder, we are still accelerating mobile video commerce, education and entertainment. Years before the lockdown, we had been actively pushing for a change of pace in mobile video, opening new use-cases with transactions and real-time participation.

“As this lockdown has progressed, we’ve seen this trend accelerating even faster, and already, there are new customer cases in mobile commerce and learning.”

Maintaining manpower

The importance of managing and maintaining manpower, Ravn said, has become particularly apparent during the crisis. When lockdowns were first enforced, the company focused on ensuring it did not have to lay off any employees, as doing so would have been detrimental to a small team such as Movi’s.

Ravn said, “(We prioritized) being transparent about what really matters transparently, getting everyone aligned, and working on the key actions to allow us, our customers and our partners to come through this, and also thrive in the new post-pandemic world.

“One advantage we had was that our team was already globally distributed, and our culture was to a great extent based on online collaboration and communication.”

He also maintained that Movi has not suffered any losses, though it has seen postponed launches and revenue as a direct result of the lockdown.

Post-pandemic plans

With the future constantly in mind, Movi already has a clear idea of which direction to take as governments gradually ease restrictions on businesses. The first thing it will do, Ravn said, is gather its team in person to share their experiences and new vision for the future of Movi.

“Though video meetings work and serve a purpose, there’s a serious risk of cabin fever — and we are all social creatures who work best together in person. Secondly, we can finally start visiting our customers and partners again to discuss how we can deliver even more value for them and their end-users.

“A key practice is to adapt all the time and optimize for both the current and future needs of our customers’ business goals. After this, we will use our new capabilities with Movi and mobile video to leverage consumer behaviour to help our customers achieve these goals.”

Ravn acknowledged that while COVID-19 has led to significant changes in consumer behaviour, it was crucial even in more peaceful times to remember that change is constant — “sometimes, in small increments and sometimes, in giant leaps”.

“For the most part the giant leaps are the game changers, and we see even more clearly now why Movi matters in the new mobile-first, transaction-based video world. New use cases for mobile video, like online shopping and learning, has highlighted the importance of enabling merchants and teachers to easily create, understand and optimize mobile video learning and commerce.

“Creating online meeting places for sharing knowledge in the mobile video space is also high on our list of initiatives in which to further invest, and we’ve already started planning our next online video meeting on the topic of ‘Using Mobile Video for Education’.”

Helena Ma brings with her a wealth of experience and a truly cosmopolitan perspective, having lived and worked in Shanghai, China; Gothenburg, Sweden; and London, UK. Her stints in Europe and China has armed Helena with a potent blend of ancient Chinese wisdom and contemporary Western knowledge which she incorporates into business management and client project