Kaltura is probably a company you’ve never heard of. Or maybe you have.
If you haven’t, it’s a video technology vendor — basically, it develops software for media and telecom companies. That’s everyone from Disney, Turner, and Viacom to Vodafone, plus other tech companies like SAP and Accenture. The SaaS-based (software as a service) company also provides real-time video solutions for schools such as video conferencing or TV-like live broadcasts. More than 90% of its technology is deployed in its cloud.
The real-time aspect of Kaltura’s technology is that it is capable of inserting interactive and so-called immersive experiences inside video — things like quizzes, polls, and real-time chat with Q&A that offer insight and information for marketers, according to Ron Yekutiel, CEO of Kaltura.
On the media side of the business, Kaltura talks about real-time interactions. There are two use cases. One is when clients are streaming a live event and live analytics are needed to show how many people are watching the event. “We also provide media companies with the ability to insert ads into live streams on the fly — they don’t need to pre-schedule,” said Iddo Shai, the director of product marketing. The ads are inserted into the live stream and clients can see right away whether people are losing interest in them.
Another use case is to track the quality of the feed and to see whether the video is being streamed in HD (high definition) or whether the stream drops in quality. “We monitor it in real-time and constantly show operations and IT people what the average buffer rate of the video is. You can switch content delivery networks in real-time too,” Shai said.
Working with video ad networks and exchanges, Shai said that programmatic TV (PTV) is on the horizon. “We pass on information to ad networks like the type of content consumers are watching — we know the device ID from mobile, and the ad networks use this information, plus first- and third-party data to know which video to show the user.”
Kaltura does all of this on both the device and server sides. Using the server-side is “better” because the technology enables you to insert ads into over-the-top TV (OTT),” Shai said. A single video stream comes from Kaltura that handles both the video and the ads—it’s agnostic. Kaltura is in a sector where it is competing with Brightcove and ad insertion companies.
Yekutiel emphasized that the video can be delivered to any device and can even get around ad blockers. “Part of the value of doing this on the server side is ad stitching,” he said. “We develop the entire OTT backbone. A typical customer might look for a unified solution.”
The video is VR-enabled and immersive for both the media and the enterprise sides. Yekutiel noted that the number of OTT services that are doing live television is limited. “Most regular TV providers are moving to OTT and bi-directional boxes. You need the physical TV to be a connected TV.”
Shai said that virtual reality (VR) is exciting when it includes real-time components. Real-time facial recognition makes the interactions between people very natural. He believes VR will transform virtual classrooms, employee training, tourism, e-commerce, and other aspects of our lives. “We will see these experiences become more mainstream in the next 18 to 24 months,” he said.
For example, VR for live events and entertainment is already widely used. The technology to stream live stream games and concerts is already here. “In time, the technology will get better and more people will be able to experience remote events in a completely immersive way,” Shai said.