IBM Buys Ustream, Launches Cloud Video Services Unit

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-01-21 Print this article Print
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Thus, IBM Cloud is assembling transformational capabilities into the new Cloud Video Services unit to help clients across a wide range of industries integrate video into a strategic source of data. This includes media and entertainment, retail, education and government services.

Canepa said IBM will tap the new unit to enhance its support for sporting event such as the tennis Grand Slam tournaments and the U.S. Open golf tournament. In addition, he said the capabilities of the new unit will support more serious use cases such as homeland security and the military.

"One of the obviously emerging opportunities is the whole surveillance situation," he said. "In surveillance, if something comes into a frame of video that maybe shouldn't be there, it can cause an alert to make actions happen. Increasingly, we're seeing things like military applications, with drone video and things like that. Video is becoming a primary data type. But independent of what industry you're in or what use case you're working on, video is going to find its way into those architectures."

The new IBM Cloud Video Services unit combines assets from Ustream, as well as the recent acquisition of Clearleap. It will also create solutions that integrate technologies from other IBM investments, including Aspera and Cleversafe, as well as IBM R&D innovations. IBM has been a longtime developer of video and digital media technologies and has been awarded more than 1,000 patents in areas such as visual analytics and indexing and searching large collections of videos and digital images, Canepa said.

By combining these technologies, IBM is creating a cloud platform that enables clients to easily ingest, store and manage live and on-demand video, enhance them through analytics, apply rights management and language capabilities, and distribute them across the globe.

At the heart of the Ustream portfolio is the open Ustream Development Platform, which enables users to create custom video apps to run video on any device and embed video into any application. Users also can use the company's real-time social sentiment analytics to gauge audience reactions to the live streaming content. IBM will integrate Ustream's development platform into Bluemix to allow clients to provide distinct video services to developers.

"One of the things we found very attractive about Ustream is it has an open API structure," Canepa said. "We think giving the open power to the developer community to integrate video into their existing solution architectures is key. What we'll be doing is exposing those APIs through our Bluemix. You can think of it as creating a video domain within Bluemix. So I can pull those video services in as part of the development process."

In addition, the Ustream portfolio comprises several video solutions, including Ustream Demand, which enables marketers to collect and automate leads into marketing workflows and manage live and on-demand videos from a single dashboard; Ustream Align, which enables secure internal employee communications; and Ustream Pro Broadcasting, which offers live video streaming at scale.

"Video is the most powerful and emotional medium," said Brad Hunstable, CEO of Ustream, in a statement. "Increasingly it is becoming the favored form of communication, not just for entertainment, but also for business. We've built a video platform that is easy-to-use, yet incredibly scalable, secure and powerful and it is these qualities that made us an ideal addition to IBM's portfolio."

Through the Ustream acquisition and the new cloud business unit, "IBM will provide an end-to-end suite of digital video solutions for the first time under one roof," IBM's Jarratt said in a statement. "As a result, clients will be able to take advantage of every stage of the video life cycle through advances in customization, digital access, visual analytics and more, all to enable the consistent delivery of video content globally."

Ustream has a development office in Budapest, Hungary, and data centers in San Jose, Calif.; Amsterdam; and Tokyo.



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