Eyeing hospitality, UIEvolution buys assets of Splat Interactive

UIEvolution is buying the assets of Splat Interactive, using the acquisition of the content management platform to expand its video delivery offerings into the  hospitality market.

“Splat Interactive has developed a powerful content management system that will give us the ability to deliver the right video-rich content in an optimized way to Smart TV’s and beyond,” said UIEvolution CEO Chris Ruff.

UIEvolution expanded into the connected automobile arena last year, and with the acquisition of Splat Interactive, the Kirkland company plans to bring its technology to hotels. Ruff said that hotels are tired of video-on-demand services, and that more and more travelers are bringing their personal content with them on smartphones and tablets.

“Hotels are looking for how do they integrate … content services in the room so that people can have access to Facebook, video services like Netflix and those sorts of services directed to the guest in a cost effective way,” said Ruff.

UIEvolution hopes to have its first hotel customer running this fall.

Chris Ruff

As part of the acquisition, UIEvolution is absorbing the five employees from Renton-based Splat. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

UIEvolution now employs about 130 people, adding more than 40 staffers over the past year. It is expanding at a time when video services are being pushed to various platforms, from Smart TVs to tablets to mobile phones.

Just last week, we reported on the $13 million funding round for Elemental Technologies, a Portland company whose technology is used to process content across a full slate of mobile devices, from tablets to mobile phones to e-readers.

UIEvolution has been developing cross-platform applications for about 12 years. It was sold in March 2004 to Japanese gaming company Square Enix, and three years later was spun off as an independent company in a management-led buyout that included Ruff, Intel Capital and others.

Ruff said the company is profitable and growing.

With the acquisition of Splat, he said that UIEvolution can leverage existing technologies in mobile as it expands into the Smart TV arena.

“We are looking at Smart TV as the way to go over-the-top to create the same sort of applications like what we do with smartphones and deliver those to consumers in the living room,” he said. According to the Connected TV Marketing Association, 123 million connected TVs will likely be sold in 2014.

“We have a nice place in the market,” added Ruff. “There’s so much investment going on with companies who want to build cloud-based applications … but there are so few companies that want to tackle the problem of how you deliver that across all platforms, whether it is HTML5 or any other experience, and that’s where we cleanly focus.”