Open source video company Kaltura streaming into Asia: Page 2 of 2
By Gabey Goh June 10, 2015
Standing out from the crowd
In February, the latest Forrester Wave: Enterprise Video Platforms And Webcasting report named Kaltura a leader in the space, out of 16 video platform and webcasting providers evaluated.
The research firm noted that “besides being the most feature-rich portal, Kaltura has the most integration with enterprise social, intranet, and collaboration solutions.
“It is highly flexible in how it can be deployed or customised through APIs (application programming interfaces)” and “as the only vendor targeting all discrete markets for video platforms – marketing, employee communications, education, and media and entertainment – Kaltura has the most complete solution.”
With over US$100 million into building both company and technology, David says that a significant sum of this has gone into research and development (R&D), with more than 200 people at its R&D centre in Tel Aviv, Israel.
“And we’re going to invest millions more. It’s about sustained investment, as developing a Tier 1 OTT platform today requires an investment of at least US$100 million,” he says. “It’s expensive stuff.”
“The largest American and European providers for example, have hundreds of people on their payrolls to service their OTT or IPTV offerings, and this is not something Tier 2 or 3 providers can afford, so they need to rely on providers like us.
“And for us to provide that data footprint and services, we need to sustain our development as well,” he adds.
Asked about how Kaltura will fare in a space populated by an increasing number of video technology providers, David says he believes that the high degree of competition is a “relatively temporary” scenario, due to the difficulty level of providing OTT services.
“You saw that happen around social business software – there were 25 different players, then three years later most were out of business,” he says. “The same will happen in OTT.”
Kaltura’s significant differentiator is its capability to deliver an end-to-end solution and handle complexities in content management, security, and delivery, with a strong focus on end-user experience, David (pic) claims.
“It is not something small providers can do, so when you look at the very crowded market, you have to distinguish from the hundreds of niche providers to the handful of end-to-end solutions that can provide at scale.
“Don’t get me wrong – there is definitely significant competition, and that competition is coming from a handful of large global providers, mostly Cisco and Ericsson, traditional OTT providers with a simple out-of-the-box solution,” he says.
“There are no big contenders to become significant in the long run. There’s always going to be local vendors that could go in with bespoke solutions, but very few that can come back with a complete solution, given that the market is so dynamic.
“It’s not just about an iPad app. Can you get Hollywood certification for premium content? Can you deliver peak capacity?
“We did live streaming for the World Cup and the Oscars, and you cannot rely on a Tier 2 or Tier 3 provider – then find out on the night that it doesn’t scale.
“We boast an international footprint with the experience to deliver, to provide it as a managed service, with guaranteed service-level agreements.
“Once you apply those criteria, then the hallway starts to look very empty – quite a few will remain, and it’ll be tough competition for the next few years,” he acknowledges.
Emerging market challenges, allure
David says that with emerging markets, Kaltura’s flexibility – in terms of both its business model structure and technology capabilities to handle less-than-robust connectivity – is another strong value proposition.
“We offer the freedom to experiment and adapt very rapidly to market conditions. OTT doesn’t work at scale over 2G or GPRS [Second Generation or General Packet Radio Service mobile networks], you have a somewhat questionable experience over 3G, and a reasonable one over 4G – and it definitely works fine over fixed lines.
“Carriers here have a mix of all these, and the … game is moving to a triple or quadruple play.
“We want to provide the flexibility to enable that, with our ability to lead with technology offerings that work with a variety of capability, with tools such as compression technology, local CDN (content delivery network) caching, adapted bitrates, or download-to-own models,” he said.
David says that the allure of emerging markets is their ability to skip a generation of technology and go directly to new platforms.
“There is going to be a day where there’s sustained bandwidth, and that could still be five to 10 years away – but already some providers are starting to think about it.
“And if you’re talking about exponential returns, especially for those carriers that have invested millions in their 4G/ LTE (Fourth Generation/ Long-Term Evolution) infrastructure, how do you get users to upgrade their packages?
“The answer is video services,” he says.
Now more than ever, the industry is ready for more comprehensive solutions. Having trialled basic solutions in the past, industry players are now in the market for an upgrade.
But the biggest explosion for video has yet to happen, with David predicting that this will come from the enterprise sector, which is a multitrillion-dollar space.
“The floodgates will open when enterprise adopts these solutions for getting things done,” he says. “This will be next big trend.
“In the next few years, everybody on the consumer level will have OTT, and the next step is the wholesale adoption by enterprise of consumer-grade media experiences, using these same tools to do business,” he said.
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