LAS VEGAS – IBM Cloud wants to be right in the middle of everything that’s happening in digital video, an aspiration further advanced by this week’s deals with companies like AOL and the Canadian Broadcasting Company, along with the launch of two new live-streaming services.
The company best known for its mainframe computer heritage is a growing global presence in cloud-based video services, owing in part to its recent acquisition of live-streaming startup Ustream. News of the company’s deals to provide online video solutions to AOL, CBC, Comic-Con and Mazda broke this week at the 2016 NAB Show of the National Association of Broadcasters, where Beet.TV interviewed Braxton Jarratt, GM of IBM Cloud Video.
According to Jarratt, the desire to experience live events via video on an array of devices crosses the lines of both business-to-business and business-to-consumer, both rich markets for the capabilities IBM has been acquiring—for example, file transfer standard bearer Aspera—and building.
“You can look around the consumer landscape and see that live is becoming really important to consumers,” Jarratt says. “They are getting trained to seeing things instantly, seeing real things. So businesses want to do the same thing,” whether it’s communicating with employees or marketing to customers.
The difference between now and a few short years ago is the expectation of Netflix-like quality.
“There was a certain tolerance five years ago for kind of a mediocre corporate video experience,” Jarratt recalls. “There was a server inside of your network that was kind of slow and clunky, and video only worked if you had the right browser. Now people want to watch it on their mobile phone, tablet connected devices and they expect it to work as well as anything they’re seeing in the consumer space.”
IBM also brings to the table the analytics chops of its Watson cognitive business solutions and properties like Weather Company, parts of which IBM bought last fall. The latter’s capabilities can correlate weather events within micro geographies to help video providers understand who’s more likely to be in front of a device and how are they going to react to what they see.
As TechCrunch reports, IBM just announced a product that will let media companies produce high-quality live-streams over ordinary broadband connections and an enterprise CDN product that lets companies broadcast live-stream video within their firewalls without impacting other traffic.