A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video even more so. Since its inception, video has allowed creators to connect with their audiences in ways no other format can, and high-quality content can resonate with the viewer in a deeply meaningful way. But as video becomes a ubiquitous part of modern life, many great content creators and businesses find their reach limited by a simple fact of life: the language barrier.
Of course, those dedicated content creators and businesses who are keen on reaching new global audiences have already had many options to do so, chief among which is dubbing. Being able to add a voiceover to one’s video that speaks to a new audience directly in their own language is a deeply impactful way of connecting with them, but traditional dubbing takes time: the process can, in the worst of cases, take months to complete. In the highly competitive world of online video, even a few weeks’ worth of waiting can be deeply disruptive. And this isn’t even factoring the cost of traditional dubbing, which puts it solidly out of the price range of smaller content creators. Worse still, results can sometimes feel off, with translations that haven’t been properly localised sounding strange, or voiceovers improperly synchronising with on-screen talent.
This means that the current dubbing industry is one that fails to serve video content producers of all types – from large organisations to small online creators. Time, cost, and sub-par end-results all hobble their ambitious attempts at connecting with global audiences.
This is where HeiTech, a diverse team led by CEO Thai Tran and made up of engineers, computer scientists, linguists, and content creators, comes in with their hei.io platform. Their solution rivals traditional dubbing by producing high quality translations and dubs of video content in over 70 languages at a fraction of the cost and in far less time than previously necessary.
“Our advanced AI technology enables us to deliver highly realistic and natural sounding AI voiceovers, making it easier for content creators to bring their vision to a global audience,” Tran, who has expertise in natural language processing and speech recognition, explains. “We’re thrilled to bring the power of video dubbing to a global audience, making it easier for content creators to translate and dub their videos into multiple languages quickly and efficiently.”
Built through the close collaboration of the team’s many elements, including the engineers and linguists, the team’s platform has been built with accuracy, efficiency, and user experience in mind. Among other things, it offers users a range of features designed to make dubbing as seamless as possible, including a user-friendly interface, a large selection of voices in multiple languages, and high-quality audio and video output. The solution also features several customisation options, such as adjusting the pitch, tone, and speed of the dubbing tracks, and provides AI and Machine Learning solutions to ensure lip-syncing across all languages.
“By using Hei.io, businesses and content creators can reach new audiences around the world,” Tran explains. “You can focus on creating high-quality, engaging video content that resonates with your target audience, while Hei.io takes care of the dubbing and localisation process.”
The NEXUS team has spent the programme hard at work developing and growing their solution with the help of their NEXUS mentors, Kim Väisänen, Mia Uitto of Telia, and Satu Apukka of Kide Science. Now getting ready for the next phase in their journey after the NEXUS programme’s upcoming final on 30 March, they firmly believe that their platform has the power to revolutionise the global video industry, allowing for unprecedented global reach for their users.
This belief isn’t unfounded, and several key milestones they’ve reached since joining the University of Helsinki’s NEXUS incubator for promising solutions and startups in Deep Tech, AI, and Sustainability point to their solution’s tremendous potential.
For example, the team has already managed to get several monthly paying users, including a global media company which used Hei.io to voice over 70 languages in just one day. In addition, they’ve conducted several pilot projects with other companies and the city of Espoo, as well as gotten funding from both Business Finland and angel investors. Microsoft has also awarded the startup 150 00 USD in credits to grow their operations.
Mentor Uitto agrees with the team, noting with pleasure how, after some initial mentoring to clarify the team’s revenue streams, customer and market segmentation, as well as marketing and customer engagement strategies, the company has been growing rapidly.
"We believe that Hei.io is set to become the go-to platform for content creators looking to expand their reach and connect with audiences around the world," Tran confidently explains, before continuing that the company is committed to continuing developing more innovative AI solutions that address the needs of the global market, wherever they may be. For those interested in finding out more about the company and it’s AI solutions including Hei.io, more information can be found on their website, https://hei.io.
Kim Väisänen started his career by founding Blancco Ltd in 1997. He led the company for 15 years and grew it into international success, until it was sold to London Stock Exchange listed company on 2014. After that, Kim has been focusing on private investments.
Kim is a well-recognised columnist and blogger for several newspapers and online publications, as well as a popular public speaker in Finland. He is also the author of two best-selling books in Finland.
Mia Uitto works as Senior Marketing Manager at Telia. She has 15+ years experience in result driven marketing in several fields, especially in the technology sector. Her vast experience includes marketing strategies, digital marketing, lead generation and creating new concepts. Her campaigns have led to exceeding sales targets, successful product launches and won some of the most prestigious marketing awards in Finland.
Mia has a profound understanding of technology companies and their business models. Her expertise extends to new data-based business models and technologies such as IoT, AI, robotics, and cyber security.
Mia’s achievements include the Grand One Best Virtual Event prize in 2021, nominations in the “Vuoden Huiput” Services category in 2019 and the Effie Awards Business Challenge category in 2019, as well as the promotion of a service that was nominated among the 30 Hot Products of 2018 at CES.
Mia assists teams to create effective storytelling around the teams’ products and services, which generates concrete business results.
Satu Apukka is the Chief Experience Officer at Finnish EdTech company Kide Science, an exciting start-up delivering play-based lesson plans to teachers worldwide based on University of Helsinki academic research, and has years of experience in marketing and sales in different companies. She is also specialised in influencer marketing and has worked with top Finnish social media influencers.
Satu’s primary role is to create positive customer experiences. For a product to be effective, she knows it’s essential to understand the customer journey all the way through: from a new customer at the start of their journey to the established customers who've built up an ongoing relationship. She is heavily involved in marketing activities, supporting international customers, and coordinating large scale partnership collaborations for Kide Science.
As CXO, Satu also values building the best team culture: where people are eager to grow as professionals, work together as a team, and help each other. Satu believes that learning new things and moving out of your comfort zone are crucial for your success.