Dov Moran Launches Comigo, New Smart TV Platform

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Dov Moran, the man who invented the USB flash drive, is behind the launch of a new smart TV platform, which he says has “revolutionary personalization and interactive socialization capabilities.”

The project from Moran’s Isreali-based start-up Comigo, will launch at London’s IPTV World Forum (20-22 March) and combines software for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, a set-top box, and a server application. It is aimed at telco and OTT operators.

Moran was founder and CEO of m-systems, the developer of the USB flash drive that was acquired by SanDisk for $1.6 billion in 2006. He founded Modu in 2007 which developed the world’s lightest mobile phone and sold a number of patents to Google in 2011 for $4.9 million (after the firm had ceased operating and laid off most of its employees in January 2011). Modu’s core development team subsequently founded Comigo.

“We established Comigo to create connections between phones and tablets and TV sets since there is no existing infrastructure which can do this in a fluent and interesting way, other than make a smartphone a remote control for a TV,” explained Moran.

“We’ve been working under the radar for a year and a half to develop all parts of the system. Many reporters were trying to find what we were doing but we’ve been extremely discrete and until today we’ve kept the whole system very confidential.

“Our customers are operators, telcos and OTT,” he says. “We think service is important to them and that our system can practically provide their customers with many more services and activities. The system is built in such a way that more applications can be added. We will we provide an API and SDK to be able to do that.”

There is emphasis placed on social interaction and personalisation. “Enabling social changes the whole TV experience,” he said.

One application features the ability to watch a live football game and invite friends from Facebook, for example, to interact with the experience by playing a virtual game of strategy (such as selecting players or tactics for defence or attack) while the game is happening.

Live betting, says Moran, is another application in which participants would bet on all manner of game aspects such as refereeing decisions or half time scores.

“We have strong software that resides on servers and connects all devices and users and provides backing to Comigo activity,” he said.

The set-top box smart TV solution will be integrated into the Android OS. There is client software for iPad and iPhones as well as Android devices.

The platform is being readied for availability in July, possibly with an Isreali operator on board as a first customer in Q3. Comigo is in negotiations with STB manufacturers and TV set vendors about integrating its hardware into connected TVs.

“Our expectation is to present the platform to operators at the IPTV show and to open discussions with them,” said Moran.

Comigo is funded by Moran, who says he decided not to seek external investment until he felt he had a winner: “I believe this will be successful with high interest following launch, and I anticipate raising the level of funding at that time.”

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