Big Blue today snapped up one of the best-known names in the cloud-based live video streaming services market. IBM now owns Ustream, a big name among enterprises that are leveraging video.
Ustream helps brands large and small broadcast live music concerts, teaching seminar, corporate keynotes and more via its cloud-based video streaming service. All told, Ustream broadcasts both live and on-demand video to about 80 million viewers a month, according to the company.
At its root, this acquisition is about extending IBM’s Cloud platform for enterprise clients looking to tap into the power of video, which research studies indicate is a fast-growing and quickly evolving digital media and data store. NASA, Facebook, Nike, Samsung and The Discovery Channel are among Ustream’s clients. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This Tech Was Missing
“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 of IBM Cloud, in a statement. He expects integrating Ustream technology into Big Blue’s cloud unit will help clients get more strategic about video.
IBM is clearly tapping into massive possibilities for new revenues. Big Blue tags the cloud-based video services and software market as a $105 billion opportunity. The company also points to video as the “primary method” of engaging customers and employees, citing webcasts, training and education seminars and how-to videos as examples. With the Ustream technology, IBM will eventually deliver a video services portfolio that includes digital and visual analytics, management, API development and delivery.
“Ustream is a very strategic acquisition from IBM,” Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told us. “The company has been building up its cloud services unit with Clearleap, Cleversafe and other companies in that area. IBM was missing the technology Ustream brings to the table.”
Playing Catch Up
The enterprise opportunity appears to be real. IBM research reveals 80 percent of the world’s data is unstructured and untapped by computer systems that can’t find a way to manage or leverage it. According to IBM, companies across industries need a secure, scalable and open cloud-based solution to manage video services since video makes up what IBM calls a “significant part” of that data.
“Video is the most powerful and emotional medium,” said Brad Hunstable, CEO, Ustream, in the statement. “Increasingly it is becoming the favored form of communication, not just for entertainment, but also for business.”
In conjunction with the acquisition, IBM is launching a new Cloud Video Services unit that will target a wide variety of companies, including those in retail, education, media and entertainment, and government services. IBM did not offer a time frame for rolling out the new services, but Kerravala said the company will most likely get its fair share of customers.
“The fact that Ustream is used as the delivery mechanism for a lot of big companies like Nike and Facebook and Samsung is a real testament to Ustream’s technology,” Kerravala said. “It’s good to see IBM doubling down on video. I think it’s a hot area and IBM has been lagging in it, so this acquisition in some ways gets them caught up in it.”