Profile: Ustream.tv

Ustream links soldiers with home

By Greg Sandoval
–December 14, 2007, 4:00 AM PST

Ustream cofounders Brad Hunstable and John Ham as West Point cadets in 1998

(Credit: The U.S. Army)

To many Americans with family members serving in Iraq or Afghanistan,
the most wished-for holiday gift is simply a visit with their far-off
loved ones.

Ustream.TV, a
start-up that lets people stream live video to the Web, is planning to
help military families connect through the Internet this holiday
season.

The company has given Webcams to people who have family stationed in
Iraq, so they can access the Ustream service and take part in a video
chat.

Ustream, headquartered in Los Altos, Calif., has a strong
military background. Co-founders John Ham and Brad Hunstable met each
other while attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The
former cadets reached the rank of captain before leaving the Army.

Frank Caufield, co-founder of heavyweight venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is an investor in the year-old company and is also a West Point grad.

Wesley Clark, a former four-star Army general, is a member of Ustream’s advisory board.

Ham and Hunstable last February

(Credit: Ustream)

"Having served five years and being separated from my family for a
year, I know what it’s like to be away from home during the holidays,"
Ham told CNET News.com on Thursday. "Military families sacrifice so
much so their loved ones can serve their country. We’re doing what we
can to make a difference."

Initially, Ustream intended to send Webcams to soldiers in Iraq
as well as their families. But Army officials nixed the idea for
security reasons, according to an Ustream spokeswoman.

Soldiers already equipped with a Webcam will be able to broadcast
themselves to their families at the same time their families will be
visible to them. Service members without cameras can still watch on
their computer monitors and communicate with loved ones through instant
message or telephone.

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