In 2016, shortly after its acquisition of Ustream, IBM was placed in the Niche Players quadrant. Fast forward two years, and we see IBM now placed in the Challengers quadrant and close to crossing over into the Leaders quadrant. We’re excited by our new positioning in the Magic Quadrant and recognition by Gartner for both ability to execute and completeness of vision.
IBM believes the improvement in overall placement is due to the company’s strong leadership in applying artificial intelligence (AI) to video solutions (such as integrating IBM Watson for automated captioning and video enrichment), successful global partner momentum, and significant enterprise video product enhancements.
Leadership in Artificial Intelligence
Launched in early 2018, IBM’s first AI-powered video solution, Watson Captioning, provides automated closed captions for live and previously recorded video content. As a result, a once costly and time-consuming process no longer represents a significant burden for broadcasters. Leaning on IBM Watson’s machine learning capabilities, the solution creates increasingly accurate captions through continuous learning and training of the AI. Training the platform can be completed using different methods, including learning from previously captioned assets, teaching the platform specific words or training it on a custom corpora, or through the observation of edits made manually to captions that Watson Captioning has generated. Once generated, these captions not only can appear on the video content, but can be used for discovery. This includes the ability to search within a custom portal against Watson generated transcripts, but also to search inside the video and jump to specific, relevant moments.
Since this initial launch of AI-powered capabilities, IBM followed on by announcing its Video Recommendations and Video Highlights solutions during the 2018 IBC conference. Video Recommendations leverages Watson AI capability to provide highly targeted video suggestions to viewers to help keep viewers engaged longer. Video Highlights is geared toward sports and eSports and leverages AI to automate the process of producing highlight clips. All of these are part of IBM’s growing collection of video enrichment capabilities, building upon its core competency in uncovering dark data contained within video content and using it to improve video workflows across industries.
Global Partner Momentum
IBM believes strategic partnerships and resellers across geographies are critical to success and thus, partners are provided with the resources, training and lead generation support they require. IBM has dramatically increased the number of reseller partner relationships across North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Latin American regions over the past year. There are nearly 100 resellers actively driving sales of IBM’s streaming products and Watson Media solutions. The IBM Skill Starter Packs designed to help partners get started provide new business partners with the tools and benefits to accelerate their time to value and growth within their first 60 days. To learn more about IBM’s partner programs or to inquire about becoming a partner or reseller, please contact the partner enablement team.
Enterprise Video Management and Delivery Enhancements
IBM has made significant enhancements to its streaming solution capabilities over the last year. Most significant is the incorporation of AI capabilities such as automated closed captioning as mentioned in the above section. In addition to AI, IBM added many additional features related to interactivity for customers, including enhanced search and discovery, chaptering, enhanced chat, live polling, slide controls, and interactive video overlays. Also quite significant were additions to the capabilities of the IBM Enterprise Content Delivery Network (ECDN) offering, including seamless integration with Cisco ISR 4000 as well as AT&T Flexware. IBM also enhanced features related to private video portals to ensure only authorized users are able to access content. This included enhancements to access control and more granular user permission options. And for developers, there were additional options delivered for analytics APIs and developer tools, as well as increased combined embed options to encourage developers to build unique video experiences.
Early in 2018, IBM also introduced its 24/7 support model to ensure its growing customer base across the globe has access to Customer Success personnel when needed regardless of their location or time zone.
IBM has over ten thousand patents related to video, managing everything from large enterprise workflows to massive events like The Masters and US Open. IBM is committed to continuing to invest in enterprise video solutions and advancements in AI-powered video that can help customers better connect with their employees, customers, and other target audiences.