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IBM enters World Cup football field via Aspera, to broadcast live matches

With football fever spreading all over the Internet and social media, thanks to the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil, many companies wanted to grab a bit of the spoils - some went the advertising route, while others wanted to be event partners. Aspera helped IBM get a deal to broadcast the matches live.

twitter-logo Sunny Sen        Last Updated: June 25, 2014  | 19:46 IST
IBM enters WC football field via Aspera to broadcast live matches
Brazil's national soccer players sing the national anthem before their 2014 World Cup Group A soccer match against Mexico at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza June 17, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Very seldom do companies reap benefits of an acquisition in less than a year, but for leading American IT firm IBM , acquiring Emeryville, California-based Aspera was a boon in disguise. Aspera specialises in high-speed data transfer over the Internet.

With football fever spreading all over the Internet and social media, thanks to the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil, many companies wanted to grab a bit of the spoils - some went the advertising route, while others wanted to be event partners. Aspera helped IBM get a deal to broadcast the matches live.

Just to put things into perspective, there are more than 32 million fans on the World Cup's official Facebook page, the (official) Twitter account has 2.24 million followers, and hundreds of thousands of videos are doing rounds on YouTube and other digital mediums.

The match's feed is captured live from the camera on the field. The bulky files are then transcoded in the cloud and sent directly to the television or mobile devices. Cloud, a technology framework which resides in the Web, helps process and store huge amounts of data and makes it available to anybody anywhere.

Aspera helps IBM to straightaway leapfrog into the digital arena, where more than 50 per cent of data consumption on the consumer side is driven by video. "We are on a cusp of a new revolution," says Fran├žois Quereuil, Senior Director - Worldwide Marketing at Aspera. "Companies are switching to IP, and its not traditional IP, but towards cloud computing."

The fastest way to move a file from one place to another is over an IP network. Aspera uses a patented optimisation technology through which a large file is broken into smaller packets and transferred faster over the Internet, without losing quality.

"The older technology that everyone around used was not for high definition video," says Quereuil. "There is too much of back and forth on the Web which causes packet loss." Through Aspera's technology, the system knows which packet of data is lost during transmission, and is transmitted back.

In India, Aspera recently partnered with Singapore-based online video library Spuul, which has adopted a cloud-based model. "Aspera was the only fast, secure and reliable way for Spuul and its content partners to deliver fresh programming content to meet our subscriber demands," said Michael Smith, Chief Product Officer at Spuul, in a press statement. "With Aspera, we can quickly expand our online library of TV shows and feature films without delay or bottlenecks."

Besides Spuul, Aspera also works with DreamWorks Studios - to move movies from the US to India - and Times Internet - to receive video content for their online video-on-demand service.

Aspera has also started working with mobile operators, mostly in the West, such as Verizon and AT&T. "We have optimised the protocol for mobile," says Quereuil.

Aspera's technology, however, might just come in more handy for IBM in India as it tries to shed off its image as a hardware maker to a more cooler services company, especially with the Internet and the social media at the forefront.

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