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October 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 10
Feature Story

Starbak Shoots High with On-Demand Video System

By: Paula Bernier

YouTube (News - Alert), telepresence and mobile video have grabbed headlines for their ability to make video more interactive, interesting and accessible. But one unsung hero of the online video movement is on-demand corporate video.

“Despite a difficult economic environment, Starbak customers are finding that investing in more efficient global communications is a strategy that pays off,” says CEO Gregory Casale of on-demand video solutions provider Starbak, which in August purchased all the remaining shares held by former owner Gulfstream Group in a move to better position itself to raise growth capital.

“Video portals allow business and government leaders to communicate more effectively across organizations, while keeping the private jets on the ground,” adds Casale.

Many important businesses and organizations employ video recording and streaming tools to deliver training, messages and experiences to their workers, partners and other affiliates. One company that outfits them with the tools they need to do that is Starbak. In fact, Casale tells Internet Telephony (News - Alert) magazine that Starbak enables the largest deployments in streaming today.

Starbak solutions are used by hundreds of companies worldwide, including Fortune 500 corporations, colleges and universities, public schools, hospitals and government agencies. The 10-year-old company counts among its customers such major names as The Cleveland Clinic, Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin (News - Alert) Corp., MetLife and Procter & Gamble.

But Starbak’s solutions, including the Starbak V3 – a third-generation solution designed to support greater scalability and improved ease of use, are not just for the corporate elite. Starbak delivers systems that scale from small college campuses to global corporate networks.

The company’s solutions are popular with the university crowd, which uses them to record lectures and offer them on demand. Some academic institutions are even finding new and innovative applications for the Starbak technology, notes Casale. For example, East Los Angeles College used it to make commencement ceremonies available to students’ remotely located families, some of whom serve in the military overseas.

Not only does Starbak sell the technology required to record and stream content, it also provides clients with a content delivery network to ensure a good user experience; a customizable portal through which employees can access the video; and digital signage to make video available to those employees who don’t work from PC-equipped desks. Casale says these tools give businesses and organizations the ability to create video; manage it over a very large, geographically dispersed population; make sure lack of bandwidth doesn’t adversely affect the viewing experience; and open the viewing experience to anyone within or outside the organization to whom the customer wants to make it available. He adds that customers are free to publish URLs so anyone can view the videos, but that only those on Starbak-enabled corporate networks are guaranteed a high-quality viewing experience.

Starbak’s systems integration partners, including Broadreach Services of Australia, BT (News - Alert) – which sells the systems in Europe and the U.S. – IBM Global Services and others, work with clients to install one or more caching and streaming node at every location to which customers want to make available on-demand video capture and viewing.

The Starbak portal is enabled through a server at the system head-end, which is typically located at the corporation’s headquarters. Incidentally, Starbak also provides the portal through the software-as-a-service model. Customers can customize their portals, adding various “channels” with whatever names they choose. Viewers then use the portal to access content. When they click on a particular item, they may see both data, such as slides, spreadsheets, etc. and the accompanying video.

“Anyone can create [a synchronized video/data experience] right from our portal,” says Casale. “When you kick it off you start recording, and then you start flipping your slides and it creates a program.” IT

» Internet Telephony Magazine Table of Contents

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