BurstPoint's Point: Better, Quicker, Easier Video Content Management

There's a new kid on the video streaming block, and it's BurstPoint Networks, which officially emerged from stealth mode earlier this week in a 100 percent indirect-channel sales model.

Based in Westborough, Mass. and with about 50 customers at launch, BurstPoint's lead offering is its IP-based Video Communications Platform (VCP), which, using a number of different products and services, converts enterprise video content for seamless management and distribution.

"Why are we different? When I look at it I'm looking at making it simple," said Tom Racca, BurstPoint's CEO, in an interview with CRN this week. "Whether you're trying to put together presentations or Web video, it's all the same process. We believe video communications will be a mission-critical application, and it needs to be always valuable and always prevalent."

The core problem with many video streams -- which BurstPoint's technology is attempting to address -- is that different streaming technologies, different end points and different video codecs aren't always compatible, meaning its not the simplest task for enterprises to manage, manipulate and stream their content the way they'd like to.

Sponsored post

Part of the VCP platform is a management appliance, called the VCP Manager, and various other products such as Conference Point, Delivery Node, Encoder and Display Engine that each tackle some aspect of video streaming and content distribution.

Encoder, for example, converts video captured on a Web camera or other device to BurstPoint's format for easy streaming, while Delivery Node (available for between 50 and 1,500 video streams) can multi-cast video streams out to various endpoints or additional nodes, mixing-and-matching those nodes as needed. Display Engine converts the video content in a BurstPoint stream for use with digital displays -- digital signage, for example -- and Conference Point can capture streaming video from standards-based videoconferencing systems.

BurstPoint's platform can also perform all of these functions for various types of video, from what's captured on small cameras to massive telepresence systems, with the VCP Manager handling it all. Entry level packages begin at about $30,000.

BurstPoint, which is backed by Windspeed Ventures, built its technology by acquiring some of the assets of Starbak Communications, the defunct Burlington, Mass.-based video networking company.

Racca said Starbak had appealing patents, and it also hired some of the company's engineers, but also added several improvements to the Starbak products, including a virtual delivery node for offloading video into a content delivery network (CDN).

The company has about 25 employees. Racca himself is an A/V veteran who was vice president of marketing at Colubris Networks when it was acquired by HP in 2008, and later worked in HP's ProCurve division.

"From a channels perspective, if you've sold video conferencing systems, well, now you can extend that Polycom or Tandberg or whatever using a video content management system to do live streaming or video on demand," Racca said. "We've just allowed them to extend the strength and capabilities of their video conferencing systems."

Next: Growing BurstPoint's Channel

Racca sees three types of solution providers BurstPoint will appeal to most: VARs who sell videoconferencing systems, MSPs with video and infrastructure practices who can sell BurstPoint's platform as a managed service, and application providers working with video platforms.

"We are a pure channel play company and we are looking for partners that understand video," Racca said. "You need to provide the ability to create and publish in a very seamless fashion."

Tom Wing, president and CEO of OmniPresence, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and A/V integrator, said the appeal of technology like BurstPoint's was the ability to optimize an enterprise's existing investment in A/V and visual conferencing infrastructure.

"A video system could call another video system before, but there was never a standards-based way to turn that conference into a live-stream, and record it and archive it and all that," Wing said. "Starbak's first offering was exactly that, and the distributed architecture, the scalability, was very attractive to us. We had an original relationship with some of the players at Starbak, then some of the players at BurstPoint and now we're working as one of their first value-added partners in the channel."

With the video market expanding, enterprises are looking to make strategic investments in video but also get the most bang-for-buck out of what they're deploying.

That means not having to re-work their infrastructure every time they want to do something with their video content, Wing said.

"You always hear from customers: 'We did this set-up, how do I record that meeting?' Or 'the CEO wants to blast a message out to the troops,'" Wing said. "You'd have A/V companies come in and build these $10,000 productions to do that, but customers could just build this capability into their infrastructure and store [video], edit it, put it on a Website, do whatever you want."