Content displayed in near real time

Video streaming is a method of distributing video using cloud technology. In addition to live video, streaming can also be used for video-on-demand services, live playlists and video hosting. Video and the accompanying audio are streamed from the cloud rather than downloaded to the viewer’s device. For enterprises, video platforms enable video sharing across the globe on many different devices.

Key features

Why video streaming

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Extended reach

Video streaming services enable live broadcasts, video on demand, syndication and global delivery.

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First-class data

Video is the new global medium and is critical to audiences. Users intuitively "get" video and want it to be part of their digital experiences.

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Results measurement

Consumption of video content can be easily measured and analyzed. Businesses can use video as a strategic source of data.

Considerations for video streaming

  • Network

    Private networks can become overloaded with requests for large video files. Stream splitting, caching and hybrid cloud can help.

  • Security

    Options such as multi-tenancy, subnets, access control and virtual private cloud can ensure that information does not leak.

Securely stream high-quality live video through IBM Cloud.

  • Scalability

    High-demand events such as corporate keynotes create spikes in usage. A platform that scales can manage demand.

  • Accessibility

    For users to view video, they must have access to a player that can uncompress and decode streaming data.

According to IBM estimates, cloud-based video services and software account for a $105 billion market.

See the infographic


billion dollar market

An IBM perspective: Streaming video on cloud

Gregor McElvogue Media and Entertainment Solutions

Gregor McElvogue
Media and Entertainment Solutions
Twitter: @GregorMcElvogue

Video remains the densest and most immediate form of human communication for entertaining, persuading, educating or informing.

Streaming video is technology that enables content to be delivered to a video player with little to no waiting. In the past, the limitations of connection bandwidth required viewers to trade quality for immediacy. Now, even wireless networks provide enough bandwidth to deliver video at high definition. In our instant gratification society, waiting more than 6 seconds to be entertained, educated or informed can increase the average heart rate by 38%, the same stress level as solving a math problem or waiting at the grocery check-out, states the Ericsson Mobility Report Mobile World Congress edition.1 This is why streaming is now the dominant method of consuming video content, according to IBM Global Business Services.2

CPU and storage-intensive video tasks are increasingly being performed in the cloud, so even mobile devices are able to render high-quality, high-definition video almost anywhere. Around 68% of viewers are watching video content on mobile devices.3 The challenges of delivering video to these devices, with limited storage and over a mobile connection, have resulted in innovative video technologies such as H.265 (High Efficiency Video Coding), HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), MPEG-Dash, and Broadcast over Long-Term Evolution (LTE).

Whether streaming video on demand or live, the benefits of video streamed over the cloud is resulting in innovative business uses. Live drone footage of power lines in the Amazon can be used to direct human repair workers efficiently at reduced risk and cost. Public safety video from stadiums can help manage crowds and redirect traffic flow. Employee education can be delivered globally, aligning a multinational workforce around the same corporate messages. Real-time video of medical procedures can focus a high-performing team on a single patient no matter its location.

Although digital video is unstructured binary data—unlike other unstructured data—it remains largely off limits to existing analytics tools. While researchers will continue to find ways of delivering video at higher definitions and faster speeds, the most exciting innovations will occur when analytic systems are as fluid at deriving insight from video as they are today from text and images. Only then will these higher order analytics start to really emulate human cognition, possibly even exceeding the human ability to see, process and react to visual stimulation.

Today and into the future, video will drive advances in technology, business and society. Becoming video technology literate and embarking on a video strategy is a new imperative for every industry and every enterprise.

1 Ericsson Mobility Report on the Pulse of the Networked Society (PDF, 507KB), Mobile World Congress edition, February 2016.
2 Personal TV, the future of broadcasting (PDF, 681KB), IBM Global Business Services, September 2015.
3 Ibid.

IBM Cloud offers a comprehensive enterprise video solution