YOUi Labs Nets ‘Best New Idea’ at CableLabs Confab

YOUi Labs of Ottawa beat out seven other companies to come away with “Best New Idea” honors at the Innovation Showcase that was tucked into this week’s CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colo.

YOUi Labs got the vote for its ten-minute presentation and demo of uSwish, a framework that enables a gesture-based, “natural user interface” to operate on an array of set-tops, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. The vendor believes MSOs will need these tools to fend off new forms of video competition.

"You're at war with the over-the-top guys," YOUi Labs co-founder and CEO Jason Flick said as he kicked off his presentation, which showed a “symbiotic relationship between a tablet and the TV." Flick explained that his company’s framework enables MSOs to extend their brand across a broad array of chipsets, operating systems and devices.

“Even the RDK,” he said, referring to the Reference Design Kit, a pre-integrated software bundle for hybrid QAM/IP and IP-only set-tops and gateways. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are now managing the RDK per the formation of a new joint venture.

“We’ll let you stamp your brand on all of those different screens,” Flick said, noting that YOUi Labs’ goal is to help partners create a better set-top user interface and an improved, integrated second screen experience that is tied in with content discovery.

Flick’s demo showed how YOUi Labs’ system, in tandem with a TV-mounted camera, would be capable of sensing his body, signing him in, and pulling up a menu of personalized content. In the demo, the system was also smart enough to know when the viewer walked away and insert a “smart marker” so the user could resume playback of a show or movie when he or she left off.

And Flick said this is real-world technology, not just demonstration voodoo. YOUi Labs, he said, has notched a win with a “tier 1 cable company” that has yet to be disclosed, but is building a system similar to the multi-screen experience that the vendor showed off.

YOUi Labs posted this video of its CableLabs demo: