IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it has acquired Ustream, Inc., a provider of cloud-based live video streaming services. The move will extend the IBM Cloud platform to help enterprise clients unlock the value of video, a rapidly-evolving digital media and data asset. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Ustream provides cloud-based video streaming to enterprises and broadcasters for everything from corporate keynotes to live music concerts. The company streams live and on-demand video to about 80 million viewers per month for customers such as NASA, Samsung, Facebook, Nike and The Discovery Channel.
Ustream joins the newly-formed IBM Cloud Video Services unit that combines assets from IBM’s R&D labs and strategic acquisitions. IBM will deliver a powerful portfolio of video services that spans open API development, digital and visual analytics, simplified management and consistent delivery across global industries.
The unit will be led by General Manager, Braxton Jarratt, and will target the $105 billion opportunity in cloud-based video services and software, according to IBM estimates.
“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 President, 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.”
Video has become a primary method for engaging with customers and employees through a wide range of media assets, including webcasts, conference keynotes, training & education webinars, customer care, how-to videos, and more.
As a result, clients across industries require a secure, scalable, and open cloud-based solution to manage video services. This is especially significant given researchers estimate that 80% of the world’s data is unstructured and dark to computer systems that cannot effectively manage or exploit it. Video makes up a significant part of that data.
New IBM Cloud Video Services Unit Delivers the World’s Most Comprehensive Video Offerings
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 & entertainment, retail, education and government services.
The 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 long-time 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. IBM has also received four Emmy Awards for video related innovations.
By combining these innovations, IBM is creating a leading 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 consistently across the globe.
Ustream’s Live Video Streaming Services
At the heart of the Ustream portfolio is the open Ustream Development Platform which enables clients to create custom video apps to run video on any device and embed video into any application, securely and reliably. Clients 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.
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, Ustream. “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 this latest acquisition and the creation of a new cloud business unit, IBM will provide an end-to-end suite of digital video solutions for the first time under one roof,” said Jarratt. “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 is headquartered in San Francisco, with a development office in Budapest, Hungary, and data centers in San Jose, Calif.; Amsterdam; and Tokyo.