Armed with Starbak Assets, BurstPoint Bursts on to Corporate Video Scene

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  October 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine

A new company called BurstPoint Networks (News - Alert) has come onto the scene to offer former Starbak customers – and anybody else that wants to be in pictures –what executives say is a highly scalable, integrated corporate video solution.

The company last month made its official debut and unveiled its first product, the BurstPoint Video Communication Platform, which enables organizations to capture, distribute, manage, view and track usage of video. It can be used for everything from allowing a CEO to record and distribute a corporate video to employees or shareholders, to supporting training efforts, enabling weekly staff meetings, and delivering messages via digital signs.

Tom Racca, BurstPoint’s president and CEO, tells Unified Communications (News - Alert) Magazine that the VCP leverages some of Starbak’s technology, but is an entirely new product in terms of hardware and offers some other new capabilities. BurstPoint acquired technology, patents, and sales and engineering talent from Starbak, which is now out of business after going through Chapter 11, says Racca. While the Starbak architecture offered a good, scalable corporate video solution – maybe the best in the industry at the time, he adds, BurstPoint is taking that a step further and adding fault tolerance through appliances and hot-swap drives to ensure continued operations for mission-critical applications.

The BurstPoint VCP, which began shipping this summer, includes a handful of components. The BurstPoint VCP Manager is the portal from which users can create, manage, and view video live and on-demand content from various sources.  In addition, it can be used to assign user privileges to certain content; create and update playlists for displays on digital signage; collect and analyze usage data; produce reports; and manage system updates. The BurstPoint VCP Encoder, meanwhile, connects to any video source and converts the video for streaming. BurstPoint VCP Conference Point captures streaming video from videoconferencing systems and can synchronize video with live PowerPoint slides. The BurstPoint VCP Delivery Node, a key part of the architecture, provides local serving of video streams. It was designed to work within existing WAN/LAN networks, offers intelligent routing, redundancy, and support for on-demand caching. Meanwhile, the set-top box-sized BurstPoint VCP Display Engine allows the solution to work in JPEG and HD digital signage applications.

BurstPoint also expects to announce in short order a relationship with a CDN provider that will enable its customers to have virtual delivery nodes on their video networks. This will enable customers to pay for video support on an as-needed basis. The CDN solution will be an integrated component of the BurstPoint Manager.

The BurstPoint solutions, which will be sold exclusively by the company’s network of channel partners, can support everything from the creation and distribution of internal YouTube (News - Alert) videos, which can be used for training for example, to high-end video productions. The solution is already in use by large government and corporate customers, says Racca, but starts at less than $30,000 list. Racca declined to provide customer names.

He adds that while BurstPoint does not plan to support users of the older INV and VCG Starbak systems, it will support Starbak V3 system users. BurstPoint also will offer those customers an upgrade path to the BurstPoint VCP.

While Starbak had a strong architecture and some good base technology, it had several generations of products, suffered from some hardware quality issues and got ahead of itself with expenses, Racca says. None of that will be a problem for BurstPoint, which is well funded and has been generating revenue since it started business early this summer, adds Racca, who declined to provide further financial details. And although BurstPoint is a startup, he adds, its management has a good track record of launching successful businesses. Racca formerly founded iQ NetSolutions (News - Alert), a presence-based VoIP solution provider that was sold in 2003; Chantry Networks, a wireless LAN infrastructure outfit that was sold to Siemens in 2005; and Colubris Networks, a wireless LAN networking gear supplier that was sold to HP ProCurve (News - Alert) in 2008.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard