Over the last four years, we’ve seen the development of some truly game-changing collaborative software and social media platforms. Tik Tok has gone from obscure Chinese lip-sync app to the leading social media entertainment trend in the world, and since 2017 Microsoft Teams has rapidly become one of the top collaboration and productivity tools in use today.
The takeaway? A lot can happen in four years, especially when we look at the fast-moving digital landscape… and even more so if we talk about platforms designed to make teamwork easier, or those that enable media browsing and safe, quick file sharing from multiple sources to multiple end users.
That was our very smooth segue into the real topic of this blog: West Entertainment is celebrating four years of success for our industry leading, cloud-based IFE workflow engine: WE by West!
WE by West is like Teams, it enhances collaboration, tracks processes and creates greater transparency for all who use it. Like Tik Tok, it’s home to a vast library of content, uploaded from all around the world, that can be browsed, sampled, and selected by West Entertainment’s customers.
Eric Silverstein, our VP of Operations and Technology Solutions managed the successful delivery of WE by West and he’s keen to share more about what it does.
Eric! How was WE by West conceived?
Eric: When we got together in 2016 to launch West Entertainment, we had already had a very experienced team of content experts onboard. We all recognized the need to move operational processes online and into a central platform that could inform stakeholders of the various tasks due and accomplished. Timeline management is one of the most critical parts of our business, so that aspect of the platform is where we began. From there we added a vast index of metadata requirements and spec details. WE by West also sets up notifications and reminders, enables quick communication between all parties, facilitates content selection, tracks file delivery, expedites the invoicing process and much more.
Who uses WE by West?
Eric: All our clients use the system to some extent. Some use all of its applications while others prefer a more personal touch from our team, and that’s fine too! WE by West has a distributor-facing side which allows for fresh content to be added from the studios and serviced from there by the lab. Airlines can also log on and browse the huge library of the content that’s available. This view includes an image of the film, TV show or audio content, the type of content (for example, whether it’s a drama, y, or a documentary, or a rock album) and a brief description – and it can be searched by everything from title to director, to IMBD rating.
A click on any title expands the information with more detail, plus comments on the film from our team and further recommendations based on that selection from our AI partner Qloo. Airlines can add the selection to their basket from there or save it to a wish list for later. They can also monitor the status of their orders with the timeline functionality, communicate with the whole team, manage invoicing as we mentioned before, and most importantly, they can track the performance of their content with our comprehensive analytics dashboard, DnA. Naturally, our whole team uses it constantly to make sure that everyone is happy and projects are on schedule!
The dashboard sounds pretty groovy!
Eric: It definitely is! Our customers have helped us build out new features with their valuable feedback and the dashboard is one of them. The dashboard is super clean and user friendly, and it gives a comprehensive overview of where budget is being spent, what the top performing content is, content efficiency, passenger engagement levels and costs per view – which is an important one. It’s possible to drill down further into any of these areas and get super granular if required. Airlines can also search and compare current and historical data, and they can export detailed reports to CSV or Excel with a single click.
How else has the platform evolved in four years?
Eric: We don’t like to brag, but to be honest, we kind of hit the nail on the head from the get-go. We haven’t made that many refinements because we really addressed fundamental market requirements from the start. We’ve enhanced things, and added AI recommendations from Qloo, but the primary functionality has stayed the same. The platform is really about efficiency and transparency for the core CSP function, which is presenting content selections, editing content for the airline, and getting the content onboard, on-time and on budget. We also strived to make everything easy to find in one or two clicks, not six or seven. A system like WE by West needs to do its job right before you go adding too many bells and whistles. That’s where it really out-shines the competition.
What’s the coolest thing about WE by West, in your opinion?
Eric: That’s easy… the experienced team behind it! At the end of the day a CSP is a SERVICE provider, and even though we have an online workflow engine that our customers love, nothing beats a smiling face, a shared joke, a bit of understanding and the human touch. Using WE by West has helped us provide first-class service and stay deeply connected to our clients throughout the pandemic, but we truly miss them and can’t wait to see everyone again soon.