IBM Cloud Drive Continues With Ustream Purchase

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Enterprise video play as IBM opens corporate wallet for cloud video streaming service provider Ustream

IBM has beefed up its ability to provide multimedia in the cloud with the acquisition of San Francisco-based Ustream.

Ustream is a provider of cloud-based live video streaming services, and although no financial terms were announced, it has been reported that IBM paid $130m (£91m) for the company.

Business Video

IBM’s rationale for the deal – besides expanding its portfolio of cloud-based computing services – is that businesses in the future will increasingly use video as way of reaching their customers.

Ustream essentially provides cloud-based video streaming to enterprises and broadcasters, which can include videos of corporate keynotes or indeed live music concerts. It currently streams live and on-demand video to approximately 80 million viewers per month. Customers include the NASA, Samsung, Facebook, Nike and The Discovery Channel.

The company will be merged into Big Blue’s newly-formed IBM Cloud Video Services unit. This unit will be led by General Manager Braxton Jarratt, and will target the estimated $105 billion (£73bn) market for cloud-based video services and software.

The new division will also combine IBM’s R&D facilities (Big Blue apparently has 1,000 visual analytic patents), as well as other strategic acquisitions such as Clearleap, as well as Aspera and Cleversafe.

ipexpovideo“Video has become a first-class data type in business that requires accelerated performance and powerful analytics that allows clients to extract meaningful insights,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice preident at IBM Cloud. “Aligning our expansive video and cloud innovations into an integrated unit will create opportunities for clients to take advantage of this medium in the most strategic way possible.”

Ustream brings to the party its open Ustream Development Platform. This platform allows clients to create custom video apps that can run video on any device. It also allows for video to be embedded into any application.

The platform includes a real-time analytics option that allows for the company to gauge audience reactions to the live streaming content. IBM said it will integrate Ustream’s development platform into Bluemix to allow clients to provide distinct video services to developers.

“Video is the most powerful and emotional medium,” said Brad Hunstable, CEO, Ustream. “Increasingly it is becoming the favoured 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.”

IBM revealed this week that its migration to cloud computing and data analystics, to make up for the decline in its traditional hardware, software and services businesses, continues to hurt the company’s bottom line.

Marketing Trend

For a while now, video has topped the list of the biggest marketing trends. And IBM will find it is not alone in offering businesses a cloud-based video platform.

British video management specialist Cambridge Imaging Systems (CIS) recently rebranded as Imagen, and told TechweekEurope that “every company is making video”.

Yet companies have to careful when dealing with streaming video content due to bandwidth limitations. Information management firm Veritas recently revealed that business staff are still downloading an excessive amount of useless video content that is costing their businesses millions of pounds.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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