IBM beefs up cloud video service with Clearleap buy

IBM readies for a future where video is increasingly valuable to the enterprise

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Credit: Kaz

In an effort to better enable its cloud users to access video from any device at any time, IBM today said it is buying Clearleap, a 7-year-old Georgia-based company.

Clearleap has focused on creating a technology platform that can securely deliver massive video libraries to traditional TV systems and multiscreen devices, according to the company's website.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM said that Clearleap will be integrated into its cloud platform to provide enterprises with a fast and easy way to "manage, monetize and grow user video experiences."

The news is part of IBM's broader strategy to help clients unlock the value of video as it grows in importance in business.

IBM made the acquisition as companies are increasingly focused on using video to connect with their customers and partners, using it to share webcasts, training courses, customer care and how-to videos.

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Robert LeBlanc is senior vice president of IBM Cloud.

"Clearleap joins IBM at a tipping point in the industry when visual information and visual communication are not just important to consumers, but are exploding across every industry," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, of IBM's cloud division, in a statement. "This comes together for a client when any content can be delivered quickly and economically to any device in the most natural way."

"IBM sees the future and is acquiring companies with technologies that should be in demand and give them an edge," said Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst. "Television is changing. How we watch video is changing. This is the kind of future that television is expanding into. IBM knows this and that is where their interest in Clearleap fits."

Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, agreed the deal is a smart move for IBM. "Video becomes a component of a complete cloud offering and without it, IBM would likely either be locked out of a lot of lucrative accounts or relegated to subcontractor status," Enderle said. "Video may not be a major cloud component, but it is a critical one that is necessary to their long-term strategy of becoming a complete cloud service provider at enterprise scale."

IBM is one of the larger enterprise cloud service provider, competing with companies including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Softlayer. IBM offers public, private and hybrid cloud setups.

This isn't IBM's only video-based investment in recent years.

Last year, IBM bought Aspera, a company that creates technology to speed large data transfers over broadband networks. In 2014, IBM also acquired Cleversafe, which builds storage software and appliances to store and manage unstructured data.

IBM said the Clearleap technology will be integrated with technologies from Cleversafe and Aspera to enable customers to better store, index and retrieve video content on the IBM cloud.

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