Ustream is part of IBM Cloud Video. After being acquired by IBM in January of 2016, Ustream became one of the pillars that formed the newly created IBM Cloud Video business unit.
The unit brings together innovations from IBM’s R&D labs, including IBM Watson capabilities, and combines them with the cloud-based video platform technology of both Clearleap and Ustream. This offers a variety of solutions for media and entertainment along with uses for enterprises including video marketing and internal video communication.
This article explains the future of streaming video with IBM Cloud Video and Ustream, detailing the relationship between the streaming service and the IBM Cloud Video business unit.
Future of Streaming Video with IBM Cloud Video
Today there are versions of the Ustream platform that are branded as IBM Cloud Video, referenced below under Products and Services. Meanwhile, self-service, do it yourself plans are still available and branded as Ustream. It’s the larger, enterprise streaming plans that are shifting toward the IBM Cloud Video brand. These plans will make use of the greater functionality found under IBM, including IBM Watson integrations.
Going forward, more and more collateral outside of the platform will be branded as IBM Cloud Video. This includes white papers, webinars and email communication. Articles on the blog will be dual branded, showcasing IBM Cloud Video and Ustream. As Ustream is part of IBM Cloud Video, this messaging still applies to Ustream broadcasters and content owners but also to the greater IBM Cloud Video unit as well.
Products and Services
Below is a breakdown of some of the products and services offered through IBM Cloud Video and their equivalent through Ustream. For more information on the media and entertainment side, visit the IBM Cloud Video site.
IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager
Equivalent to Ustream Pro, IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager is a cloud based platform for external delivery to virtually any device. The service is catered toward being able to scale live and on-demand content to reach huge audiences. Through SD-CDN (Software Defined Content Delivery Network), content owners have access to a multitude of CDNs. This offers an increased global presence, as more edge servers will be located in more places. It also gives improved reliability through quality of service (QoS) elements baked into the player. The QoS component is used to detect subpar performance, such as abnormal levels of buffering around an edge server. Once detected, the system adjusts through switching to a different edge server within that CDN or to a new CDN entirely. This works to prevent downtime before it can happen, protecting major live events even when reaching viral levels of interest.
To understand how IBM Cloud Video and Ustream are able to scale to reach massive audiences, read our white paper on Live Video Delivery System Built for Scalability.
IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager for Enterprise
Equivalent to Ustream Align, IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager for Enterprise is an internal, cloud based solution for enterprises. The platform is suited for internal training, executive town halls and all hands meetings. It enables tracking viewers at a very granular level, including the ability to capture viewer email addresses and completion rates. This simplifies compliance training. Other details that can be tracked include the exact moment viewers started watching, the moment they stopped, their physical location (country, state and city), and the device used to watch the content. Your video content can be embedded on your site or in a white label video portal that your organization can rebrand, accessible through a browser or mobile device app. All content shared through the service, both live-streamed and on-demand, can be seen only by the intended audience. Access control is through email verification or other approaches that are simpler for viewers, such as Google Apps for Work, or single sign on (SSO) authentication. Turnkey support is included for leading authentication tools such as Okta, OneLogin and Active Directory.
To learn more about the security capabilities of the platform, and what Streaming Manager for Enterprise offers in particular, read our white paper on Enterprise Video Security Components and Services.
Add On: IBM Cloud Video Enterprise Content Delivery Network
Equivalent to Ustream eCDN, IBM Cloud Video Enterprise Content Delivery Network is a hybrid cloud delivery solution that works in conjuncture with the IBM Cloud Video services. A virtual appliance, this technology allows for content to scale around a specific location. While SD-CDN is naturally suited for scaling video content on a global level, issues can arise on the viewers side from local congestion. For example, 350 employees all trying to watch an executive town hall from the same office can cause local bottleneck issues on their ISP (Internet Service Provider). Even a 60 mbps download connection wouldn’t be able to manage that level of viewership, especially if viewers were trying to watch content at quality levels above standard definition. As a result, Enterprise Content Delivery Network offers a method to scale in order to support large on premise viewership. This is done through caching streams to greatly reduce the local strain. So rather than have 350 employees all try to download a high definition stream, Enterprise Content Delivery Network would serve a single version of that bitrate and minimize impact on the ISP.
To learn more about the benefits of this add on and some basics on how deployment is done, read this article on Enterprise Content Delivery Network Deployment and System Configuration.
Ustream Demand and Ustream Marketing Module functionality, which adds a registration gate for marketing focused lead generation, are now part of IBM Cloud Video Streaming Manager and are no longer sold separately.
Ustream will continue to offer self-serve options for live and on-demand streaming. IBM Cloud Video will offer robust cloud based solutions for enterprises while tapping into the unique, cognitive capabilities of IBM.
Interested in exploring the IBM Cloud Video solutions in more depth?