A.I. Trial Blazers at EPFL Innovation Park

  • 25 Aug 2016
  • Daniel Kaempf

Summer interview: Tim Llewellynn, nViso

In our last summer interview, we feature Tim Llewellynn, CEO of nViso, a leading provider of emotion recognition software. nViso is one of our neighbours at the EPFL Innovation Park  in Lausanne. The technology-driven company is pushing the boundaries of business as we know it. We met up with Tim to talk about how nViso’s emotion recognition technology is used in a fintech product, cloud technology impacted nViso’s business logic and the delights of a summer barbecue.

Tim, tell us a little bit about what nViso does and your innovative business model.

nViso develops emotion recognition software. Our technology captures and interprets micro-expressions of facial muscles and translates these into human emotions. We have combined 3D facial imaging technology with artificial intelligence so that the application can accurately recognises our emotions. As a company we combine the latest advancements in computer science, engineering and behavioural science to make automatic emotion recognition a reality in consumer, banking, advertising and automotive industries.

Can you give us an example of an application of the nViso software?

We have just launched an innovative fintech solution called EmotionAdvisor. EmotionAdvisor utilises artificial intelligence to reveal people’s true feelings about their financial priorities. All you need is an ordinary webcam or smartphone. While you watch a video about a variety of financial issues, the software captures your facial expressions in real-time. At the end of the experience, EmotionAdvisor delivers a personalised report that allows users to make better financial decisions based on how they feel about their finances.

Innovative technology is at the centre of nViso’s business model. Are there other ways in which your company is doing things differently?

When we started nViso the cloud was already available. I always like to say that nViso was “born on the cloud.” From day one we were leveraging the advantages that cloud-based technology offers. The cloud not only makes our software more efficient and easily scalable but also was the reason why we built a global business right from the start. We didn’t think of markets with geographical barriers – for us there is only one global market. What is more, our technology works across cultures.

How does digital impact your business and what are the benefits you see and the challenges you are dealing with?

One of the main advantages of digital for us is that it reduces our communications and marketing costs. It’s more cost effective than print and has a wider reach. However, especially when you are dealing with B2B it is challenging to reach the right target audiences online.

Your company is based at the EPFL Innovation Park. Can you explain how this has been instrumental in growing your business?

Starting a business requires a lot of support. The Innovation Park is a great place to meet and interact with other entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges.

Being based at the EPFL Innovation Park also helps us to attract talent. We are especially targeting academics or researchers after they finish their studies with specialized in machine learning and artificial intelligence which is not easy to find. And of course the EPFL has an excellent reputation that helps us build our own credibility.

And finally, what’s your suggestion to our readers on what to do this summer?

I love to barbecue, especially lamb. You should really try it! And afterwards you should join us for a game of touch rugby. The Innovation Park touch rugby group meets every Wednesday at lunchtime!

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