IBM, one of the oldest companies in computing, has been pumping serious work and serious cash into their cloud business in an effort to keep up with the incoming cloud computing revolution. To that end, they've made a number of "strategic acquisitions". They'll be leveraging some of these acquisitions to create a separate unit for cloud-based video and pertinent analytics, to be called IBM Cloud Video Services. This new unit will be headed up by their General Manager, Braxton Jarratt. The newest name on their list of acquisitions for this unit is Ustream, a fairly popular livestreaming service that's also been used for podcasts, recorded media and all other manner of consumer engagement. IBM bought up Ustream for an undisclosed sum and made the announcement on January 21st.
IBM sees the emerging cloud video market as a $105 billion opportunity, if they play their cards right. Robert LeBlanc, IBM's Cloud VP, spoke highly of the cloud video wave, saying "Video has become a first-class data type in business that requires accelerated performance and powerful analytics that allows clients to extract meaningful insights… 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." Clearly, this shows that IBM has plans to focus more on video in the future. Beyond the cloud video unit, the implications of this are unclear at the moment.
Ustream has their own open development platform and analytics, which IBM plans to take advantage of. They also bring with them a huge established user base. Ustream's myriad uses include things like concerts, speeches and live business meetings, putting their user base up into the area of 24 million and counting. Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable stressed the importance of video as a medium, saying, "Video is the most powerful and emotional medium… 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." When IBM will make the details public about all the ways they plan to utilize Ustream is unknown, but with IBM's reach and business history there are sure to be plenty of uses. Ustream users should be relieved to hear that, for the time being, Ustream's service will operate as normal.