How to scoop up opportunities in a hyperconnected world?

By : |April 30, 2015 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Today’s hyperconnected world have opened new channels of growth for the enterprises by changing the way people work, play and communicate. Shopping is now just a click away; from the armoires in the living rooms, TV has broken out onto multiple screens; big news breaks on Twitter first- a paradigm shift that has affected the consumers and the companies alike. The explosive growth of smart phones and other connected devices is also driving the change faster.

Robert Blumofe, Executive Vice President, Akamai Technologies speaks on the technology advantage Akamai brings to the enterprises to help them thrive in this evolving hyperconnected world, turn the emerging trends of media, mobile, cloud into competitive advantages and create new revenue streams.

Enterprises are increasingly leveraging the Internet to deliver mission critical B2B and B2C applications. How relevant is Akamai solutions in this context?

All the enterprises today have important applications, either business to consumer or business to business, where performance is critical. We have many customers, including customers in India who are in the e-commerce space or in financial services and they have online applications where performance and security are essential. These applications require a fairly advanced suite of technology to deal with, because all these applications are highly dynamic and highly customized for individual users. They are generally delivered over secure protocols, across different kinds of networks, and to different kinds of devices and browsers. Different kinds of networks, devices and connectivity, all combined to create an incredibly vast array of situations, and the performance is critical in each of those situations. Therefore, the technology that you need to deliver high performance in each situation varies quite a bit. Our application acceleration capabilities rely on a large collection of technologies and capabilities that are intended to optimize performance in each situation.

We also provide technology to the carriers to help them build their own content and application delivery infrastructure within their networks. Almost all network operators today recognize the need of advanced CDN capabilities within their networks, which face mounting pressure due to the dramatic increase of Internet traffic. Some of them, at various times in their life have tried to build it themselves and have found it to be much more difficult than they first expected it to be and many of them are now partnering with us for the technology.

There are organizations who deal with such large traffic occasionally, but are not ready to invest in a full-fledged CDN infrastructure right now. Do you have solutions that can help them scale at those moments?

By using the Akamai infrastructure they (companies) basically pay for what they use. So, rather than building up for peaks, you can just use what you need and when you need it. For instance, if you are in the news business and the traffic peaks on a big news day, Akamai is there to deliver and you can pay for what you use. And, if it is a planned event, we work with those customers on a prolonged engagement leading up to the event to plan out the capacity they need – country by country and network by network.

We see a growing trend of media content delivery over the Internet. Meeting the expectation of the users must be difficult….

Almost everything today is moving toward a delivery mechanism- the Internet. Movies are now delivered over the Internet, we all get our news and sports updates on the Internet. What we have seen is that if your average page load time increases, your conversion rate drops dramatically. In the media space, what really drives the growth in the traffic is a combination of two things. One is that the users are consuming more media online as opposed to the traditional media like TV. The other thing is that the increasing quality of the content. In the old days, if you had watched a video online it must have been just a few 100 kilobits per second. Today, you might be watching something of higher quality at 1 or 2 megabits per second. But to get up to DVD or Blue Ray quality, you will need 5 to 10 megabits per second and with the 4k television connected to the Internet, you should probably be getting into 20 plus megabits per second of data that has to be streamed to get the full high quality experience. Ensuring availability and performance is very critical in this context.

How prepared are you to deal with the content delivery issues on mobile devices, especially in a country like India, where more than half of the mobile Internet users base face network quality and reliability issues?

We view that as one of the grand challenges of the Internet. The challenges are growing because there are more types of connectivity and more devices. In some cases the connectivity is not good and in some cases, the devices are not equipped to perform. So, we have all kinds of situations that need to be addressed, which makes the challenge greater. The expectation of the user is also growing. They simply expect a high quality experience, no matter where they are and what kind of device they are using.

We talk about providing access to users on any device, anywhere, at any situation. So, in any situation we need to be able to deliver high performance and that is definitely not easy, and I would not go as far as to say that we maintain uniformity of performance, no matter what the situation is. That basically is the goal.

We are working with the mobile network operators to integrate the technology in such a manner that we understand real time network conditions and use the network optimally. so we understand real time network conditions and we can use the network optimally, without using too much of the storage and battery of the device.

Is the India market a challenging one?

From the network point of view, it is a fairly challenging one. It is a large country and there are a number of different ISPs and of course a broad range of connectivity- from high quality terrestrial connection to a very low quality 2G cellular connections. But that is the kind of heterogeneous networking environment we are very good at dealing with. You can find our infrastructure in almost all the networks, all the major cities in many cases, across various kinds of heterogeneous environment. That is one of the things that makes us unique.

Could you share the innovation roadmap, the challenges you have faced and where do you see yourself, going forward?

From the platform point of view, one is certainly to keep up with the growth of the network. We work very hard to make the network more powerful and provide the scale. Another thing we need to do is continue to innovate on the software to be able to operate at that scale and be able to manage all the different types of environments in which we work. From platform lines, it is basically, furthering the growth of the network from a distribution point of view and the technology to efficiently address such a large scale infrastructure.

The idea of having Akamai software in the home is also something we see happening soon, as almost all the households today have multiple digital devices, with multiple users simultaneously watching different movies, accessing different content on different websites. Again, when we think about the Akamai footprint moving in to homes, retails outlets, branch offices, we think of the scale of the networks growing by orders of magnitude and providing the technology that can deliver the scale is one of the interesting challenges as well.

The other one is extending our product portfolio. Fifteen years ago, we had only one product and that was called FreeFlow. It cached static picture on our servers. Now, we have dozens of products that address media delivery, application acceleration, security, hybrid clouds, providing technology to carriers and cellular. We are now a multi-product company and a large part of what is going to keep us growing is the new products. We have a tremendous amount of growth to go with our existing products but we will be coming out with new products and growing the product portfolio along with our partnerships with the carrier as well as device manufactures.

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