The explosion of online video viewership is presenting pay-TV operators and broadband ISPs with big challenges and opportunities managing all of the increased traffic across their networks. To help address these, Akamai is introducing new capabilities in its Aura Network Solutions line of operator content delivery network (OCDN) technologies. The goal is to help operators deliver traffic more flexibly and cost effectively while also opening up potential new business models such as TV Everywhere.
As Frank Childs, Akamai's Director of Product Marketing for its Carrier Business Unit, explained to me last week, with Aura, Akamai is continuing to open up its platform for network operators to use for their own video delivery. Aura offers 2 different options for network operators, Aura Lumen and Aura Spectra. The former a licensed approach for operators who want more control and are committed to deeper investments in CDN technologies, while the latter is a SaaS approach geared for operators looking for quick deployments and lower upfront investments.
Aura Lumen gives operators greater control over their licensed CDN and builds on the Akamai's acquisition of Verivue in late 2012. Aura Lumen runs on off-the-shelf hardware that the network operator buys and maintains. It includes key caching and routing features and for the first time allows federating with Akamai's own CDN to help manage overflow traffic and off-network delivery. Operators such as Cox, Charter, Orange and others are already using the product.
With Aura Spectra, Akamai dedicates hardware for the operator's use and maintains it along with all of the CDN software. As a result, the operator's upfront investment is lower as are their ongoing staffing requirements. Frank noted that Aura Spectra is also a good option for network operators looking to resell media services because it gives them flexibility to quickly add capacity as customers' needs change. Korea Telecom is one such example. An operator may also blend use of Aura Lumen and Aura Spectra depending on their needs.
These types of services are important because in order for online video to continue to grow and be successfully monetized, users must have high-quality experiences. Delivering them requires that the "plumbing" deployed by network operators be scalable and cost-effective. Each operator has its own particular content delivery strategy and investment profile which Akamai recognizes by offering Aura in different options.
(Note: Akamai is a VideoNuze sponsor)