All posts by Bob Lee

Ustream Announces SDK for Apple tvOS

The walled industry that is TV is about to be disrupted in a serious way.

On September 9, 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the dawn of a new era in television when he launched the latest version of Apple TV, stating that: “the future of television is apps.” With the new version of Apple TV, you’ll be able to customize your Apple TV homescreen with the apps that you use most, adding new ones from an Apple TV app store will offer thousands of apps. Reviews from around the world, including Bloomberg Business, are already calling Apple TV a “game-changer,” saying it will change the way people discover and consume entertainment.

Available now:  the Ustream Software Development Kit (SDK) for tvOS

With the new Ustream SDK for Apple tvOS, Ustream customers can develop apps for Apple TV that can play live and on-demand video content inside the beautiful Apple TV interface. Now, any content can be available on the TV inside people’s living rooms.

Business Blueprint focuses on Apple TV

Business Blueprint is Australia’s leading business education company. In early August of 2015, they launched “The World’s First 24 Hour Small Business Channel”, using Ustream’s player to expand beyond Australia and reach a global audience with their educational programs. Dale Beaumont, CEO of Business Blueprint, describes their results: “Currently we have been broadcasting 24 hours a day for 6 weeks. We’ve learned a lot about how to run a 24/7 channel and we are pleased with the results. We now have clicked over 18,000 subscribers.”

Available via their web app, businessblueprint.com, Business Blueprint’s content can be accessed on any smartphone, tablet, or computer. Beaumont and his team recognized the enormous opportunity presented by Apple TV and began working with Ustream to make their service available on the new platform.  “Ustream was the obvious choice for us. We knew that they would be the first to respond to the new opportunities offered by the Apple TV.” said Beaumont. “Our development team has worked really hard to reformat our web app so that it works on tvOS. Thanks to the support of Ustream, we are now ready to begin our submission to the new App store.”

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“We are extremely pleased with the result. It looks beautiful and most importantly it works! Our hope is that thousands of new people will get to see and experience our Business Blueprint channel and we can continue help more entrepreneurs around the world.”

Want to learn more about the Ustream SDK for Apple tvOS? Contact Ustream or call +1 (800) 778-3090


Are You Ready for the Future of Video Marketing?

We’ve all seen the statistics about video’s value for marketers: how response rates and engagement rise when video is employed and how website conversions increase when video is used on a site to provide information about products or explain how they work. But we’ve just scratched the surface of how marketers can use video to grab an audience’s attention, capture leads, and drive sales.

Let’s look at 5 ways video marketing will evolve in future and how it will affect our marketing strategies and tactics.

1) The Death of Death-by-PowerPoint

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We’ll break away from boring slide presentations with a disembodied voice droning on, minimal audience interaction, and audience limits in the hundreds, replacing them with high-definition video events that can scale to reach massive audiences. We’ll use seamless transitions from full-screen, high resolution views of the presenters to slide content to recorded video clips to keep viewers engage, combining all three elements with green-screen effects that are commonplace on television news and entertainment shows. And we’ll have robust integrated tools that will enable each attendee to pose questions, offer comments, and take polls and tests as if they were in the room with the presenter.

Check out CreativeLive’s live online workshops for creative professionals or Brandlive’s use of live video, social interaction, and conversion mechanisms to create immersive product experiences for brands and retailers.  Another great example is Salesforce’s use of video for their Dreamforce keynotes.

2) Video-on-Demand Gets Interactive

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The vast majority of marketing video-on-demand (VOD) assets are linear and static, but a new class of interactive video tools allow marketers to add interactive elements to videos, offering viewers the ability to engage directly with the content and even follow different paths. Marketers can define branches and embed links, hotspots, and overlays into videos that can display contextual information about products, places, or people when the user clicks or mouses over them, and add quizzes and calls to action to collect information. Interactions like these are proven to boost engagement and increase conversions and they enhance the value and impact of long-form video by making it a more versatile storytelling mechanism.

YouTube Annotations provides some basic interactions, while more sophisticated solutions like Hapyak, Raptmedia, and Interlude offer a wider variety of interactions and more control over the viewing experience. HapYak’s SaaS platform works with a wide variety of video platforms, including Ustream. Raptmedia, like Hapyak, offers a straightforward environment for adding interactions that is easily adopted by novices, while Interlude’s powerful Treehouse application is probably better suited to users with more experience in video production techniques. All of these tools collect detailed data on their interactions so marketers can analyze viewer engagement and the asset’s performance. Take a moment to look at these examples from Hapyak, Interlude, and Raptmedia to see how to take your marketing videos to the next level.

3) Social Trumps Email

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Forget about those tired email campaigns. The future of video marketing depends upon integrating your video platform with your social network account to reach your audience in a matter of seconds with short, impactful videos that outperform print content in open rates, engagement, and click through. But beware… social video requires a different design-mindset than video we’ve used in more traditional channels.

In a CEABlog post titled “5 Digital Innovations Changing Advertising and Marketing in 2015”, Matt Rednor, CEO of Decode Advertising, points out that “As brands shift their spend to online video this year, they’re going to see that just running TV commercials online won’t work as well and will start designing for the flick, creating short-form video ads that people consume in their feeds without sound.” This is particularly true if you use autoplay video on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social channels as these videos are typically muted when they launch.

Want some great examples of short-form video?

  • GE’s Instagram videos make mundane industrial products cool
  • HP launched its Pavillion X360 laptop with a series of 5 six-second Vines
  • Lowes uses stop-motion Vines to educate its customers and promote its brand.  

4) Finding the Unusual Suspects

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We’re pretty good at reaching the people in our databases, but what about all those people we haven’t yet reached? New tools like Ustream LiveAd make it possible to place video ad units on the websites that your target audiences frequent and pull live viewers directly into your live video events, scaling far beyond our normal audiences.

Watch your audience grow exponentially as viewers see your live feed positioned prominently on their homepage or on a blog that they regularly read and then click through to join your live event. Sony Entertainment used this tactic to drive massive audiences for its live broadcast of the PS4 launch (link to PS4 video) and Salesforce used it to boost views of its keynote sessions for its annual Dreamforce conference, reaching 8.9 million viewers in 2014.

5) Viewing the World from Different Perspectives

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Drones are capturing live video feeds from new perspectives during sporting events, concerts, and rallies while wearable cameras are flipping the camera to share what players/participants in sporting events and performers in concerts see and experience. Savvy marketers like Red Bull are branding these broadcasts to drive visibility and create an “edgy” market persona.

While commercial drone use is still in its infancy, realtors across the U.S. are using drones to market high-end properties. And agencies are embracing drones to create interesting, offbeat videos like Cup Noodles Brasil’s combination of drone, wearable, and traditional video footage to present a unique approach to food delivery. By the way, where can I get a chicken head for my drone?

Wearables cameras like GoPro are helping marketers engage viewers with powerful, immersive experiences. For example, the National Hockey League partnered with GoPro to show the speed and artistry of hockey through the eyes of the players. Red Bull’s video of Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking free-fall jump gave viewers an astounding first-hand perspective of the feat. The low cost and high video quality of these devices enables thousands of people to record and post amazing videos from their wearables every day, showing the power of user-generated content and the ingenuity (and weirdness) of people who have a story to tell and a vision to share. And isn’t that the essence of marketing?

Conclusion

Innovative marketers are already stretching the boundaries of what is possible and vendors of video platforms and tools, social applications, mobile networks and the other technologies mentioned here are watching and listening to consumers and business users to spot trends and tackle problems yet unsolved. We’re willing to bet that you’ll employ some of these tools and techniques in the near future. And we hope that you’ll share what you learn with other video marketers.


Ustream Rolls Out New Video Player with HTML5 Interface

Today, Ustream launched a new sleeker, more intuitive player with controls and graphics rendered in HTML5. The new player’s responsive layout automatically adjusts the player size to optimize viewing experience and access to player controls based on the viewer’s device.

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In addition to the change from Flash to HTML5 here’s a look at what is new in the player interface:

  • The bottom control bar has been simplified by arranging all the controls into a single bar.
  • The video title has been moved from the bottom bar to the top left of the screen.
  • The viewer count (number watching now and total views) has been moved from below the embedded player to under the title.
  • “LIVE” badges have been moved to the top right and are now only displayed for live broadcasts or live playlists.  Recorded videos no longer have badges.
  • The Ustream logo, located in upper right corner of the player, is now clickable and leads to the Ustream channel page for that video.
  • Player controls are hidden from view while no interaction is taking place to avoid distracting from the video.
  • Social sharing options have moved out of the player window and onto the channel page.

The new player will be used on Ustream channel pages and newly generated embed codes will automatically use the latest version of the player.  Visit the Ustream Support Center for more details on the new player.


Simplify Viewer Access to Your Videos with Ustream Align Portal

Ustream Align lets you deliver your message to your teams around the world securely and in real time — no travel required.

Now you can make it even easier for employees to find and access your live streaming and recorded content. With our new Ustream Align Portal, viewers have access to a single, secure video “hub” where they can find and access your content quickly and easily.

The Ustream Align Portal lets you aggregate live streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) content from your Ustream channels in a single, easy-to-view format. This reduces the time and effort needed to find and view videos that may be spread across multiple channels.

This new feature also allows you to

  • Designate which Ustream Align channels will be available via the Portal and assign individual security settings to each
  • Provide Single Sign-On access for SAML-based identity management solutions such as Okta or OneLogin, or corporate directory services such as Active Directory
  • Brand your Portal with your logo or other custom graphics

The Portal is available to all Ustream Align customers with Enterprise plans.

Click here to learn more about Ustream Align

Ustream is already using Ustream Align Portal to organize our internal videos.

Ustream is already using Ustream Align Portal to organize our internal videos.


What Should Your Organization’s Leader Care About The Most?

Forty years ago, the vast majority (83%) of a business’s market value was invested in tangible assets such as currency, equipment, land, and other property. Today, 84% of the market value of a business comes directly from its people:

  • their knowledge and skills
  • the services they provide
  • the products they build
  • the intellectual property they create

People represent the greatest investment and the largest expense of most organizations. Leaders must find and develop and retain the people they need, lead those people through the inevitable tough times that arise, and build an organization that is diverse and ready to meet the constant changes and challenges of the 21st Century. This is what keeps your CEO awake at night.

To be effective, today’s leaders must communicate effectively with the people they lead. No matter the worker’s age, education, or role within the organization, the more they know about the organization’s strategy, challenges, values, culture, and other attributes, the more engaged they are and the more they can contribute. Even more importantly, the more they WANT to contribute.

We hope that you will join Ustream on Wednesday, May 27 at 2 PM Eastern / 11 AM Pacific as we kick off a series of webinars that will:

  • Examine the value of effective communications within organizations
  • Outline the risks and results of a failure to communicate
  • Discuss examples of successful communicators and
  • Give you guidelines and practical advice on how to improve your organization’s internal communications

Register for the May 27 webinar: 3 Things CEOs Worry About the Most and How Communications Can Help”


Use Ustream Channels to Improve Organizational Communications

Have you ever wondered how you can improve your communications with your employee’s? Have you considered using video? Channels can help you segment your video content, while making it easy to find and consume. Avoid being exposed to an overbearing amount of content that is irrelevant to your department at work.

 

Here are seven ways to improve your internal communications with video channels:

The CEO Town Hall Channel

This channel is used for leadership to communicate organizational strategy, provide updates on company business, and educate the entire organization on the issues and ideas that are critical to driving the success of the business. Dedicating a video channel for Town Hall meetings provides management with a platform that enables them to share their vision with employees, and engage with them to transform the vision into a reality.

The Human Resources Channel

Human Resources teams often use a dedicated channel to provide employees with updates about benefits, regulatory changes, training content, and opportunities. Many organizations turn to video to help explain benefit options, describe the enrollment process, and clearly guide employee’s on how to choose their plans.

The Sales Enablement Channel

Sales people are frequently busy and need up-to-date information about products, services, pricing, competitors, customers, and markets. Many of our customers dedicate a channel to Sales Enablement to provide a quick, one-stop shop for information about the company’s products and services, market updates, and pricing information to help the sales team perform their job more efficiently.

The Partner Channel

Many organizations leverage partners and resellers to sell and service their offerings. Like your sales teams, these partners need up-to-date information about your products and services, pricing changes, market updates, and more. A Partner Channel enables you to tailor this content and makes it easy for your partners to view the content they need.

The Customer Service and Support Channel 

Your Customer Service and Support team engage with customers on a daily basis. Building a Customer Service channel enables you to provide your service team with updates about company products, services, and campaigns that may affect their workload. The Customer Service team can also use the channel to inform the rest of the organization the critical issues customers are experiencing.

The Marketing Channel

Most of us think of Marketing as an outward facing function, but the Marketing team can also help the rest of your organization by leveraging their channel to create an internal pipeline of updates about the market, products, success stories, and information on upcoming campaigns that will help everyone stay informed and aligned.

The Engineering Channel

The people who build our products and services need a voice too. The Engineering channel can be used to share information about upcoming products, services, prototypes, and product initiatives that are under consideration. Since this information is often confidential and proprietary, it is important to have a security feature that ensures your information stays within your organization.

 

Channels are simple to set up and because the concept of channels is a familiar one, your viewers will find it easy to find and view the content. Channels are a benefit for both you and your viewers and the effective use of them can significantly improve your organization’s communications and boost productivity.

For more information about Ustream Align and how channels can improve your internal communications strategy, contact us at (800) 778-3090

 

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