BoxCast: Big Video-Streaming Innovations Come In Small Packages

By July 26, 2013

Photo by Cassie Tabora

Streaming video technology is becoming more and more advanced by the day. Have a camera? It’s never been easier to use it to capture concerts, sporting events, church services, and even memorial services. Still, making sure that people who want to see these activities are able to—whenever they want to, and without stress—is the goal of the easy-to-use solution dreamed up by Cleveland-based BoxCast.

The company has developed a plug-and-play Broadcast Box that allows anyone with a camera to conveniently stream standard and high-definition live video . This device then captures, compresses and transmits video to BoxCast’s secure, cloud-based servers for multiplying and reformatting this video to play on any number of devices.

“Every event happening these days has a camera running somewhere in the back,” says BoxCast founder Gordon Daily. “But the reality is that very rarely is that video ever made available to people to watch. Well, with BoxCast, you pull [the Broadcast Box] out of your pocket, you plug it into the camera that’s there—and now anybody, anywhere in the world, with any device, and any network connection, can watch the event as if they were there in person.”

The original idea for the technology came about after Daily and some colleagues were approached to build a website for a friend who owned a funeral home. “He said, ‘When you build my website, I think I’d like to have a live video streaming [option],’” Daily explains. “And at first, we were a little put off, thinking that this was a little strange, but we realized quickly that it’s really important to connect families together.

“[My friend] said, ‘I just want to check one box before it starts, and have it automatically work, because I’m too busy spending time with the families,’” Daily continues. “So, [what we developed] is a fully automated live video streaming system that lets anyone see the event as if they were there in person.”

To construct the hardware portion of its technology, the company uses a 3D printer to make a mold, which they then inject with polyurethane to form the tough, sturdy box. “Customized microchips” they’ve developed form the brains of the device. This process wasn’t always so advanced: Daily started out constructing these devices in his basement, much to his wife’s dismay. But he’s been able to move the startup out of his house—and make the boxes in a cheaper, easier way—thanks to a lot of support from regional resources.

His then-employer, Rockwell Automation, was encouraging of his endeavor. “They provided me with technical and patent access, and emboldened me to take my idea and develop it commercially,” Daily says. Plus, he’s received investments from Northeast Ohio resources (JumpStart, Cuyahoga County North Coast Opportunities Fund and the Innovation Fund), as well as grant and business assistance from the advanced manufacturing-focused Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET).

Today, the primary customers for BoxCast’s streaming service include high school or college athletic departments who want to broadcast their sporting events, as well as churches looking for an easy-to-use option to stream services online. The flexible applications of BoxCast’s solution—and its ease of use—has allowed the company to have customers in a variety of locales; Daily says they have clients “from Hawaii to Maine,” while this summer they are preparing for “a great push into the high school space.” The company also recently accommodated its anticipated future company expansion by moving into offices located above Cleveland’s downtown airport, Burke Lakefront Airport.

Creating technology that makes a difference both technologically and personally means a lot to a sincere entrepreneur such as Daily. “BoxCast feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because there’s such a great need for people to be connected in their own personal lives,” Daily says. “We’re kind of breaking the whole business model down in order to make it accessible for everybody.”

Watch as Gordon Daily talks about how regional grants have helped BoxCast grow:

Annie Zaleski

Annie Zaleski is part of the communications team at the Cleveland-based nonprofit venture development organization JumpStart Inc., which provides intensive business assistance and sometimes direct investment to high potential, seed-stage tech businesses to accelerate their growth. At JumpStart, she applies her decade-plus of professional writing and editing experience to thought leadership, blogging, press outreach, social media, client company support and other strategic initiatives. A graduate of Harvard University, she is especially passionate about blogging, social media, content management, branding and rock & roll.