Video MSP Provides Live Feeds for 2009 NBA Draft

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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Basketball fans can thank video conferencing technology and dedicated video networks for the live feed they will see from 15 team headquarters during the 2009 NBA Draft. Video conferencing MSP Glowpoint will provide the service, replacing satellite feeds, for the fifth year in a row. Glowpoint, which also provides video conferencing services to enterprise customers, says the recession and the entry of big players such as Cisco into the video conferencing space, continue to drive the market's biggest business increase ever.

For basketball fans watching tonight’s 2009 NBA Draft live on television to see which team gets Blake Griffin, there’s no tolerance for lost video signals, dropped video or audio or anything else going wrong with the broadcast.

For the fifth year in a row, video conferencing managed service provider Glowpoint service will be making sure that all the audio and video signals are delivered perfectly for the live broadcast on ESPN. The Hillside, N.J.-based company also provides the same service during the NFL draft, says Jonathan Brust, vice president of marketing at Glowpoint.

This year’s coverage will include live audio/video feeds from 15 team headquarters, plus video (but no audio) feeds from three "war rooms" where the decisions are being made.  

"We put significant resources into managing these events, and there is no tolerance whatsoever with something going wrong on live TV with a sporting event," Brust tells Channel Insider. "The nice thing is that the fact that we’ve been selected for the fifth year shows that we are delivering on that requirement."

By using video conferencing instead of the satellite feeds of the past, the NFL and NBA save significantly on costs and get a more reliable network. The network can broadcast a split screen with an NBA analyst on one screen talking to a player on another screen.

"It’s a very effective way of getting content on TV without using satellite transmissions," says Brust.

And while the NFL and NBA may be some of Glowpoint's more high profile customers, this decade-old video managed services company has been providing video conferencing services to plenty of large enterprises over the years.

Glowpoint doesn’t sell video equipment or provide systems integration services for video equipment and services. Rather, Glowpoint provides the high-quality network for video conferencing traffic, plus the smart managed services on top of that network. It also offers a white-label version of its video managed services offering that video systems integrators can offer, in turn, to their end customers.

Glowpoint’s offerings include a dedicated video access line to the end customer’s premises; a video network operation center (VNOC) service; smart services such as video call scheduling, monitoring, bridging services, a help desk and other services; and the Teleservice Exchange Network, or TEN—a clearinghouse of switching services that allows any video user to place a video call to any other video user, regardless of the equipment he or she is using and the network he or she is using. Placing a video call to another company that uses different equipment used to present all kinds of integration problems before the establishment of TEN, says Brust.

And with recent recession-driven cutbacks in corporate travel, the use of video conferencing is on the rise, both among Glowpoint customers and among Glowpoint prospects.

"I cannot recall a time in the history of the industry where there’s been so much activity in terms of large organizations putting out RFPs," says Brust. "We certainly see an uptick in the amount of interest for the service."

Also, "we are absolutely seeing an increase in traffic from existing customers," he adds. "I’d say the only area where we are seeing some pullback is from some of the smaller firms. For example, we did business with some law firms that went out of business."

Brust believes that it’s not just the recession that’s driving the interest. It’s also coming from big players such as Cisco jumping into the game with its Telepresence offering and promoting the benefits of video conferencing.

"The video space is pretty hot right now, and Telepresence is hot," he says.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com