Business challenge

To bring its virtual attendance platform to market, ConferenceCloud Inc. sought a cloud hosting solution with the bandwidth and computing power to deliver exceptional video streaming performance.

Transformation

Joining the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program, the company launched its offering in an IBM Bluemix cloud hosting environment, developing interactive capabilities with IBM Watson cognitive services.

Results

Powers streaming

to virtual attendees worldwide with Bluemix bare metal server infrastructure

Drives innovation

with abundant resources and technology provided by the Global Entrepreneur Program

Gains a critical ecosystem

for continued business development and opportunities through coselling channels

Business challenge story

Meeting the demand for virtual conference delivery

When Olivia Simmons and John-Alan Simmons launched their first startup company, the siblings wanted to stay abreast of the latest industry developments by attending technology conferences. But as college students, the pair found both time and funds lacking. “That’s really what sparked our idea for ConferenceCloud,” says Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer Olivia Simmons. “We thought, why can’t we provide a platform that all conferences can leverage to share knowledge with people who can’t attend?”

“IBM puts people on the ground with serious entrepreneurial and scale-up experience. Only IBM tried to meet our needs as a startup at our level.”

—Olivia Simmons, Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, ConferenceCloud Inc.

The duo founded ConferenceCloud, developing a streaming application designed for compatibility with virtually any type of video camera. To bring its virtual attendance solution to market, the business needed to team with a cloud provider offering powerful hosting infrastructure. “Video broadcasting takes an enormous amount of bandwidth and computing power,” says Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer John-Alan Simmons. “We were having trouble getting it going on shared cloud instances at AWS [Amazon Web Services].”

Transformation story

Creating an interactive user experience

Evaluating solutions from several cloud providers, including Google and Microsoft, ConferenceCloud found that IBM offered an approach that was optimally aligned with its needs as a young startup company. “There are so many startup incubator programs,” says Olivia Simmons. “But IBM puts people on the ground with serious entrepreneurial and scale-up experience. Only IBM tried to meet our needs as a startup at our level.”

ConferenceCloud joined the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program, working in the IBM Innovation Space in Toronto, Ontario, to launch its streaming platform in an IBM Bluemix cloud hosting environment. With IBM Watson Developer Cloud technology, including IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding, IBM Watson Personality Insights and IBM Watson Speech to Text services, the company developed capabilities to help conference organizers identify their most popular speakers and provide attendees with networking functionality.

“We try to create a feeling similar to the ‘hallway track’ that’s the unofficial networking track at a conference,” says John-Alan Simmons. “We built a recommendation engine that suggests connections for attendees to make based on insights gathered from things like chatbox conversations and past conference attendance.”

Results story

Driving innovation with IBM Cloud resources

IBM Cloud infrastructure offers the high-performance hosting environment ConferenceCloud needs to power its streaming solution and deliver an exceptional user experience for conference attendees. “For video broadcasting, bare metal servers are essentially the only way to go,” says John-Alan Simmons. “And the nice thing is that IBM does both bare metal and virtual cloud resources very well in one platform.”

Participating in the Global Entrepreneur Program provided ConferenceCloud with abundant resources and technology to innovate. “The credits we received for our 1-year period gave us a huge breadth to experiment,” says John-Alan Simmons. “We had computing power to try all kinds of ideas, and that resulted in some of our core platform features.”

Plus, by teaming with IBM, ConferenceCloud tapped in to a critical ecosystem for business development and sales opportunities. “IBM had representatives from the top incubators in the US running the Innovation Space, which is exactly what we needed,” says Olivia Simmons. “There was a cradle-to-grave holistic approach, beginning with the Innovation Space and extending through to the IBM sales distribution and coselling team.”

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ConferenceCloud Inc.

Established in 2014 and headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, ConferenceCloud provides a unified virtual attendance platform, bringing conferences, lectures and meetings to remote participants worldwide. Offering state-of-the-art live communications and networking capabilities, the company’s video streaming solution is designed to deliver a fully interactive conference experience to virtual attendees while helping organizers scale and improve event profitability.