At IBM InterConnect last week, Blue Hill had the opportunity to see what IBM was doing from multiple perspectives to support cloud, DevOps, mobility, the Internet of Things, and design thinking, all of which are areas where IBM has made significant investments. Although there were a variety of big announcements, my specific coverage areas led me to areas less covered, but also quite interesting. As a starting point, IBM spent significant time talking about its new video services, labeled IBM Cloud Video Services Unit, which is an important announcement for enterprise corporate communications, marketing, service, sales, and IT departments.
IBM Cloud Video Services Unit was announced last month as a combo of:
- Aspera data transfer (acquired January 2014)
- Clearleap video delivery and monetization (acquired December 2015)
- Cleversafe storage and data management (acquired November 2015)
- Ustream to support live video streaming (acquired January 2016)
This new business unit, announced in January 2016, is being run by Braxton Jarratt, who was previously the CEO of Clearleap; this allows IBM to provide end-to-end video support to support business communications.
IBM’s reasoning for this new business unit wasn’t that it wanted to take over either the entertainment or the consumer worlds. Rather, they are thinking of enterprise data and the business need to educate customers. With the emergence of video as one of the largest categories of data on the internet, the traditional fragmentation of content delivery networks, video platforms, video-based applications, content management, real-time streaming, and backup and disaster recovery is going to be increasingly difficult for IT departments to control as a subset of network and application performance management. Because video is a bandwidth hog with very limited room for optimization, video has to be managed in a way that is fundamentally different from even the largest enterprise application deployments where the vast majority of data remains at rest at any given time.
Thus, the demand for IBM Cloud Video Services Unit makes sense for any organization where a significant portion of internet traffic is based on video rather than more traditional applications. This new service will allow large enterprises to better control, manage, and govern their video content while allowing for the next order of magnitude of growth as video increasingly replaces static documents across all aspects of service, help desk, marketing, and sales.
The big takeaway for Blue Hill enterprise clients is that this Video Services Unit exists to provide all aspects of enterprise video from backup to production to delivery. IBM should be seen as a cloud-based solution that directly competes with the audiovisual firms traditionally known for support video, but with the key difference that IBM also provides its own cloud. Blue Hill recommends that companies with specific governance, compliance, or application development needs that are quickly ramping up video usage for enterprise departmental use cases should take a look at IBM Cloud Video Services as a potential solution.