Akamai builds in new efficiencies for online video delivery

Akamai BOCC

AMSTERDAM—As video consumption continues to shift toward IP-based delivery systems, Akamai is building new efficiencies into its Media Acceleration technology to help maintain quality of experience.

The company is currently testing online video workflows that use multiple different network protocols used at different times at different points in the network. It’s what Mark Ramberg, vice president of media business development at Akamai, described as Akamai’s attempt to bring quality, broadcast scale and broadcast economics—where streaming video companies no longer have to pay per user to deliver bits—to video streaming.

“That’s our north star of what we’re trying to focus on,” Ramberg said.

For example, he said that HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) is great because lots of end users support it, but it’s not necessarily the most efficient protocol and could be subbed out at different parts of the delivery chain for a protocol like MPEG-DASH, which could be more efficient.

The new feature is beta right now with select customers, and Akamai said the efficiencies have been tested out on fairly large-scale sports events and performed well.

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During IBC, Akamai is also showing off updates to its liveOrigin platform that it says can bring latency down to where it’s on par with cable and satellite feeds.

Ramberg said the problem isn’t necessarily lowering latency, which he said can be done routinely, but it’s lowering it without also dialing down resiliency and scale.

“We’ve cracked the nut on that,” said Ramberg, adding that Akamai is maintaining low latency with high resiliency and scale by using a lot of dynamic, self-healing features and resiliency built into the code.

Akamai is also touting its new partnership with Yospace, focusing on the manifest manipulation features of dynamic ad insertion. Akamai is now lending its scale to Yospace’s server-side ad insertion to help big streaming companies from having ad insertion hiccups like repeating ads or no ads at all.

“There’s where a lot of dynamic insertion systems fall over because they don’t have the scale,” Ramberg said.