Harmonic Unleashes Innovative New SaaS Features for Video Streaming and Broadcast Delivery

My Post (50).jpg

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — At IBC2018, Harmonic (NASDAQ : HLIT ) announced the launch of dynamic ad insertion (DAI) capabilities and will provide a sneak peek of disruptive disaster recovery scenarios enabled by its VOS®360 Video software-as-a-service (SaaS) as part of the company’s continued commitment to SaaS innovation. With these advanced capabilities available in the cloud, VOS360 Video SaaS opens up new cost savings and monetization opportunities for content owners and video service providers.

“VOS360 Video SaaS is gaining tremendous momentum globally with new deployments for live and on-demand OTT channels,” said Tim Warren, senior vice president and chief technology officer, video business at Harmonic. “Beyond managing their end-to-end OTT workflow on the cloud, broadcasters, content owners and service providers can support an expanded range of business cases using SaaS, including dynamic ad insertion and disaster recovery. These new capabilities will help our customers get the most out of VOS360 Video SaaS to increase efficiencies and reduce capex.”

VOS360 Video SaaS now enables operators to deliver advanced targeted advertisements and replace content during blackouts, increasing monetization for OTT content and improving the end-user experience. Content is replaced during blackouts based on end-user location and device, leveraging SCTE-224. This new Harmonic technology has already been successfully deployed by a major broadcaster in the U.S. for the insertion of unique station data for OTT rights management, blackouts and local ad insertion. – Read more

Zendesk expands into CRM with Base acquisition

My Post (40).jpg

Zendesk has mostly confined itself to customer service scenarios, but it seems that’s not enough anymore. If you want to truly know the customer behind the interaction, you need a customer system of record to go with the customer service component. To fill that need, Zendesk  announced it was acquiring Base, a startup that has raised over $50 million.

The companies did not share the purchase price, but Zendesk did report that the acquisition should not have a significant impact on revenue.

While Base  might not be as well known as Salesforce, Microsoft or Oracle in the CRM game, it has created a sophisticated sales force automation platform, complete with its own artificial intelligence underpinnings. CEO Uzi Shmilovici claimed his company’s AI could compete with its more well-heeled competitors when it was released in 2016 to provide salespeople with meaningful prescriptive advice on how to be more successful.

Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane  certainly sees the value of adding a company like Base to his platform. “We want to do for sales what Zendesk has already done for customer service: give salespeople tools built around them and the customers they serve,” he said in a statement.

If the core of customer data includes customer service, CRM and marketing, Base gives Zendesk one more of those missing components, says Brent Leary, owner at CRM Essentials, a firm that keeps close watch on this market. – Read more

How to Invest in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

My Post (29).jpg

Back in 2000, if you were filing your taxes with Intuit’s TurboTax, you would buy its software on a compact disc, download the software onto your computer, and input your data into the program. With changes to the tax code every year, you had to cycle through the process annually.

The advent of cloud computing has changed all of that. These days, you can use TurboTax software without downloading anything, updates to the company’s systems are made in real time, and all of your data is stored for you on Intuit’s servers.

This is an example of software-as-a-service — or SaaS. The model has transformed the relationship between a customer and a company’s software: where once owning the software on site was key, it is now the ability to access the software that truly matters. As more companies, both new entrants and existing software providers, gravitate toward the SaaS model, it’s also becoming an increasingly popular area of focus for investors.

Below, we’ll dive into SaaS and discuss why it’s so advantageous — to companies, to their customers, and to their investors. We’ll also tackle the unique metrics that will help you measure the strength of an SaaS company’s business and discuss the risks any potential investors ought to be aware of.

What is software-as-a-service or SaaS?

Perhaps the best way to start is to define software. Put simply, it is any program that can be run on a computer. That online calculator, the Word document you’re working on, and the weather app you check daily are all examples of software. In order for those to work, someone had to create the computer code to make them function.

If that still seems fuzzy, think of it this way: software is usually juxtaposed against hardware. Hardware is the physical computer or smartphone that you own. You can hold hardware in your hands. Software includes all the programs or apps that you use on a device — no physical product to speak of.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies have taken advantage of cloud computing in order to provide access to software and stored data from any device with an Internet connection. Cloud computing, which makes SaaS possible, is the practice of using offsite servers to house and handle large computing tasks and making all of the relevant information available on demand via the internet.  – Read more