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.”
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.”