Recently the e52 High Tech Piek Awards were presented to nine people who made a significant contribution in the high tech arena (or from whom we expect great things in 2016).

The award titles bespeak a holiday theme, with one “Piek” award (a typically Dutch Christmas tree-topper with a pointed shape), four “Star” awards, and four “Knallers” (firecrackers, or as we like to call them: Blasts).

We’ve been talking to each of the award winners, and featuring one every day. Today Alex Terpstra What a Star Why Receives an Emmy Award (today) for his content identification technologies

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These are the 9 High Tech Peak winners of 2015

Alex in (slightly more than) 52 words

Former CEO, now chairman of Civolution, a company that specializes in identifying content – audio and video. Hollywood studios are using the technology to trace illegal copies of their movies worldwide. Civolution started as a spin-out from Philips. Terpstra and his team built it into an internationally successful company. An achievement that has not gone unnoticed: they will be awarded an Emmy tonight in Las Vegas, the highest prize in the US television industry.

Emmy Award

They were already informed some months ago, but today (8 January) Alex TerpstraScreen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.22.43 AM will finally receive ‘his’ Emmy in the Bellagio Hotel. The Technology & Engineering Awards is an event organized separate from the ‘real’ Emmys with famous actors and red carpets, but for a technology company, this is obviously a world class honor. “We are very proud!”

Build trust

Right from the start, when the team was still working within Philips, the strategy has been to win the hearts and minds of the decision-makers in Hollywood. “We knew that if they were convinced of our technology, we would immediately be ten steps ahead.” It worked, they got the ‘Hollywood endorsement’, as Terpstra calls it. Working with Hollywood producers, though, is only one of the many things the company does.

New advertising models

For the television industry Civolution developed an audio watermarking technology. This technology enables your smartphone to ‘hear’ which tv program you are watching. “We use this to measure ratings during shows and it enables programmers to build interactive ‘second screen’ applications.” Terpstra sold this part of the company, called SyncNow, last year to WPP’s Kantar Media.

A third business is real-time monitoring of television channels worldwide. And facilitating synchronized advertising on your tablet or your smartphone. “We can now ensure that the ads that you see there respond with the commercials shown on TV.” Teletrax, as this part of Civolution is called, recently merged with American 4C Insights.

Splitting the company: Civolution’s smart strategy for growth

The final chapter

What remains is NexGuard, the business unit that focuses on forensic watermarking. Again Civolution has embarked on a process to talk with interested potential buyers. “This is the last chapter of Civolution.” What’s next? “I foresee a future where NexGuard will play an increasingly important role in resolving pay TV piracy.”

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About the author

Author profile picture Renske Mehra is a writer. She makes understandable and interesting stories about difficult subjects.