Thursday, May 27, 2010, 10:19 AM ET|Posted by Will RichmondWhile most of my focus is on the U.S. market for online video, I recently had a chance to catch up with Simon Orme, GM, Content Services Group of BT Wholesale, who gave me a deep dive update on what's happening in the U.K. market. Simon's specific focus has been a 2-year long project for BT to roll out CDN services to broadband ISPs who lease BT's network. The project is now moving into trial.
The U.K. video industry has robust satellite and cable competition, and more recently the BT Retail side has been rolling out its BT Vision IPTV service as a competitor to both. BT is also involved in "Project Canvas" a partnership of the major U.K. broadcasters and several communications companies to roll out broadband content.
A key challenge for Simon has been how to enhance the value of these CDN services for the ISPs who in turn offer them to content providers. Simon believes that a key driver is end-to-end quality of service. To deliver this BT is using Skytide, a U.S. provider of reporting and analytics software.
Simon explained that ISPs are already relatively sophisticated about how they manage their networks, yet traditionally they haven't had a lot of insight into what data is running on their networks. Therefore, the opportunity is to marry CDN services to these networks. In Simon's view, since most content providers are already using CDNs, the ISP must further distinguish itself in order to gain business. Doing so requires deeper insight about quality of service through a reporting and analytics layer. This is why BT is offering Skytide as part of its CDN service offering.
Skytide ingests multiple data sources in real time and then crunches the data, presenting it in various dashboard views, which might include for example network capacity utilization, volume of traffic by customer and distribution of traffic. Having evaluated multiple options, Simon said BT chose Skytide as the best of breed. The goal is to give its ISP customers all the potential levers to adjust in order to maintain the highest quality of service to their content customers.
There are currently a lot of moving pieces in video delivery in the U.K. and it will be worth keeping an eye on to see how they unfold.
(Note if you want to hear Simon talk in more detail about the U.K market and CDN dynamics, here is a recent interview he did with Murali Nemani from Cisco.)