Posts for 'CDNs'

  • Eluvio Has Ambitious Vision for Next-Gen Video Delivery

    Startup Eluvio has an ambitious vision for next-gen video delivery that would enable content providers to bypass using traditional content delivery networks (CDNs). Eluvio has launched a software platform called Eluvio Content Fabric, which would stream live, linear, on-demand or hybrid video from a content provider’s single source file, eliminating the need for pre-generating and storing multiple files.

    Michelle Munson, CEO and co-founder of Eluvio, explained that this more efficient approach would both improve the economics of video delivery and also create dynamic new content experiences. Lower delivery costs would result from reduced need for transcoding, cloud storage and aggregation.

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  • Research: 42% of Americans Stream and Download Movies and TV Shows Daily

    42% of Americans stream and download movies and TV shows daily, more than viewers in any other country. This is among the key findings of Limelight’s newly released “State of Digital Lifestyles 2019” report, which surveyed 4,500 users across 9 countries. Only India was close in daily movie and TV consumption, with 41.4% streaming and downloading. The country with the lowest daily consumption was France with 21.2%, followed by Singapore with 26.8%.

    On a global basis 26-35 year olds are the biggest consumers, with 51.4% downloading and streaming on a daily basis, and 81.7% doing so on a weekly basis. Consumers over 60 years old had the lowest consumption, with just 15.2% downloading and streaming on a daily basis.

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  • Scientific Study Reveals Impact of Streaming Video Quality

    It goes without saying that the quality of any consumer experience will directly affect the satisfaction derived from it. Video is no different; as has been shown in numerous studies over the years, whenever the streaming quality is diminished, so too is the viewer’s satisfaction.

    But new research from Akamai, conducted by Sensum, which used advanced biometric measurement methods, has revealed the extent to which lower quality streaming impacts viewers’ experiences and perhaps more importantly, what the business consequences of this are. Admittedly, the research is a bit geeky, but it’s also quite eye-opening and valuable for anyone building video products and services.

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  • Akamai Launches Media Acceleration to Boost OTT Viewing Experiences

    Akamai has launched Akamai Media Acceleration, a new content delivery technology which boosts the quality of over-the-top video, as well speeds up video game and software downloads. In a briefing, Alex Balford, senior product marketing manager, media, told me that Media Acceleration was developed in order for Akamai customers to deliver broadcast TV quality OTT experiences to viewers, whose expectations continue to rise.

    Alex said that Media Acceleration addresses the last mile connection from the edge of Akamai’s own network to the viewer’s device. It uses an emerging technology standard called “Quick UDP Internet Connections” or “QUIC,” to detect and overcome congestion or latency, including in the viewer’s in-home WiFi network.

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  • Network Investments Paying Off for Akamai in Delivering Record-Setting Live Sports

    Akamai’s network investments are paying off as the company keeps delivering ever-greater levels of concurrent live sports streams. The latest example occurred with last weekend's Euro 2016 Portugal-France championship match where Akamai delivered a peak of 7.3 Tbps during overtime. That level beat the 2014 Argentina-Netherlands World Cup final which achieved a 7.0 Tbps peak.

    Akamai said that over 3.3 million concurrent streams were delivered at peak across 35 rights-holders globally. Akamai’s VP, Product Management Corey Halverson told me in a briefing that a number of network investments in quality and reliability have been instrumental in supporting the record streaming activity.

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  • Akamai Ramps Investment in OTT With New Broadcast Operations Control Center

    Akamai has opened a Broadcast Operations Control Center (BOCC) in its Cambridge, MA office, making a  multi-million dollar investment in delivering over the top video at a quality level better than broadcast and cable TV.  I received a tour of the BOCC last week from Matt Azzarto, Akamai’s director of media operations, who oversaw the BOCC’s construction over the past 6 months and will run it going forward. Matt came to Akamai from NBCU where he was a long-time broadcast systems engineer.

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  • Adobe and Akamai Partner for Server-Side Online Video Advertising

    Akamai has integrated Adobe Primetime ad insertion into its network to enable server-side online video advertising. Red Bull Media House and Turner Broadcasting are both trialing the joint solution.

    While other server-side ad solutions exist, John Bishop, CTO of Akamai's media business told me last week he sees this as a "Server-Side 2.0" offering because the ad requests run directly through Akamai's CDN, thereby eliminating slower communications paths that can hinder scalability.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #232: World Cup Streaming Records and Mobile Video Adoption

    I'm pleased to present the 232nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    The World Cup is in full swing and as many predicted beforehand, live-streaming is a crucial part of how fans are following the action. Colin notes that Akamai (which is responsible for a lot of the live-streaming globally), said that back in the 2010 World Cup, the peak bandwidth used was 1.4 terabits/second. Akamai was expecting that level to quadruple this year.

    Sure enough, in current group play, the Brazil-Mexico game already almost reached that target, registering 4.59 Tbps. That level will surely be exceeded as play moves on to the knockout stage (in which Colin's beloved England is unlikely to be participating).

    A key part of the World Cup's streaming success is due to the proliferation of mobile viewing devices, and we next discuss data Ooyala released this week revealing that mobile's share of online views increased from 3.4% in Q1 '12 to 21.5% in Q1 '14. Live-streaming in particular was a big-driver, and that's mainly sports. We dig into the details.

    Listen in to learn more!

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  • Vubiquity Unveils AnyVU Cloud Video Service, Partners With Akamai

    Vubiquity has announced AnyVU Cloud, a new cloud-based, multi-device video services platform providing both linear and on-demand content. In addition, the company has announced Akamai as its first partner, dubbing the combined solution "content-as-a-service." It is directed to existing pay-TV operators, content owners and OTT providers for a range of monetization models.

    AnyVU Cloud is a milestone for Vubiquity in evolving from the traditional business of managing and delivering video primarily to set-top boxes for incumbent providers to operating in a far more complex landscape in which video is delivered over IP networks to multiple devices by multiple providers with widely varying business rules and monetization.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #216 - Debating Netflix-Comcast Interconnect; Disney Movies Anywhere

    I'm pleased to present the 216th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. In today's podcast, we first discuss Disney Movies Anywhere, which launched this week. Both of us like it a lot (more of my take here). Colin believes it could also become a huge threat to UltraViolet if one other major studio were to adopt Disney's KeyChest technology.

    Then we turn our attention to the Netflix-Comcast interconnection agreement, which has taken on a life of its own this week. It's rare when Colin and I see the world completely differently, but in this case, we do. Colin believes the deal sets a dangerous precedent because Netflix is being provided "extraordinary access" to Comcast's network and also that, going forward, if a content provider wants to get good performance on Comcast's network, it would have to do a deal with Comcast.

    I don't see it this way. As I wrote earlier this week, the deal strikes me as business as usual, with the joint press release specifically saying "Netflix receives no preferential network treatment." Netflix made a business decision to negotiate directly with Comcast and manage/deliver their content themselves rather than work through a CDN which is what the vast majority of content providers do. This path obviously made sense for Netflix, but remember, it's in a somewhat unique situation because it accounts for 1/3 of all Internet traffic at certain times.

    Because Netflix and Comcast said so little about the deal themselves, and because there is so much suspicion of Comcast (and other broadband ISPs) regarding net neutrality, market power, etc., a lot more has been read into this deal than I believe is warranted.

    Colin and I have a very vigorous debate on these issues and ultimately agree to disagree :-)


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  • Akamai to Power NBC Olympics Video Streaming, TV Everywhere Again in Spotlight

    Akamai and NBC Sports announced this morning that Akamai will be powering video streaming, site performance and security services for the 2014 Winter Olympics on and the NBC Sports Live Extra app. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will run from February 6-23.

    NBC Sports plans to stream over 1,000 hours of Olympics content, double what it did 4 years ago from Vancouver. Streaming will include all 15 sports across 98 different events, plus lots of exclusive content such as interviews, athlete profiles and backstories that have become standard Olympics fare.

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  • Akamai Partners With Turk Telekom for Operator CDN

    Akamai is announcing this morning that it has partnered with Turk Telekom to build and manage an operator content delivery network (OCDN) in Turkey.  Turk Telekom will be deploying Akamai's Aura Spectra, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution whereby Akamai dedicates servers for the company's use, which are then maintained by Akamai along with its CDN software.

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  • Akamai Introduces Operator CDN Solutions to Improve Video Delivery

    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.

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  • Akamai's New Sola Media Solutions Suite Addresses Online Video's Complexities

    This morning Akamai is taking the wraps off Sola Media Solutions, a suite of services aimed at content providers struggling to keep up with the steep challenges posed by the explosion of online video content, rapid device proliferation and changing viewer expectations.

    Sola Media Solutions replaces the prior "Akamai HD Network" branding. As Ahmet Ozalp, Akamai's VP, Products, Media Division explained to me, Sola builds on the company's traditional CDN strengths, and also introduces new modular services that address particular online video work flow, storage, security and delivery needs.

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  • Akamai's Bill Wheaton on the Complexities of Delivering Video to Numerous Devices [VIDEO]

    Last week at the NABShow, Bill Wheaton, Akamai's SVP and GM of its Media Division stopped by the VideoNuze booth for an interview. Bill sees some of the biggest trends happening in mobile, and cites his experience in India recently as an example of the huge growth in mobile. He also points to growth in video consumed over iOS devices of 200%-300% year-over-year. All of that is leading to massive complexity in supporting multiple devices while emphasizing quality. Bill discusses these challenges and how Akamai is addressing them. See video below (8 minutes, 21 seconds).

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  • 5 Items of Interest for the Week of Jan. 10th

    Even though I was very focused this week on the CES "takeaways" series, there was still plenty of news happening in the online and mobile video industries. So as in the past, I'm pleased to offer VideoNuze's end-of-week feature highlighting 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week. Enjoy!

    Level 3 fights on in Comcast traffic dispute
    Level 3 is showing no signs of relenting on its accusations that Comcast is unfairly trying to charge the CDN for Internet traffic it delivers to Comcast's network. In an interview this week, Level 3 said it may use the "Open Internet" provisions of the FCC's new network neutrality rules to press its case. Level 3's challenge is coming at the 11th hour of the FCC's approval process of the Comcast-NBCU deal; it's not really clear if Level 3 is having any impact on slowing the approval, which appears imminent.

    Comcast-NBCU deal challenged over online video proposal
    Speaking of challenges to the Comcast-NBCU deal, word emerged this week that Disney is voicing concern over the FCC's proposed deal condition that would force Comcast to offer NBC programming to any party that had concluded a deal with one of NBC's competitors for online distribution. The Disney concern appears to be that the condition would have an undue influence on how the online video market evolves and how Disney's own deals would be impacted. While the FCC should be setting conditions to the deal, the Disney concerns highlights how, in a nascent, fast-moving market like online video, government intervention can cause unintended side effects.

    YouTube is notching 200 million mobile video views/day
    As if on cue with my CES takeaway #3, that mobility is video's next frontier, YouTube revealed this week that it is now delivering 200 million mobile views per day, tripling its volume in 2010. That would equal about 6 billion views per month, which is remarkable. And that amount is poised to increase, as YouTube launched music video site VEVO for Android devices. YouTube clearly sees the revenue potential in all this mobile video activity; it also said that it would append a pre-roll ad in Android views for tens of thousands of content partners.

    Google creates video codec dust-up
    Google stirred up a hornet's nest this week by announcing that it was dropping support for the widely popular H.264 video codec in its Chrome browser, in favor of its own WebM codec, in an attempt to drive open standards. Though Chrome only represents about 10% market share among browsers (doubling in 2010 though), for these users, it means they'll need to use Flash to view non-WebM ended video. There are a lot of downstream implications of Google's move, but for space reasons, rather than enumerating them here, check out some of the great in-depth coverage the issue has received this week (here, here, here, here).

    Netflix usage drives up Canadian broadband bills
    An interesting test of Canadian Netflix streaming showed that a user there might have to pay an incremental $12/month under one ISP's consumption cap. That would be more than the $7.99/mo that the Netflix subscription itself costs, leading to potential cord-shaving behavior. This type of upcharge hasn't become an issue here in the U.S. because even ISPs that have caps have set them high relative to most users' current consumption. But if streaming skyrockets as many think it will, and the FCC allows usage-based billing, this could fast become a reality in the U.S. as well.

  • Brightcove Partners With Akamai HD Network for Bundled Delivery

    Online video platform Brightcove is transitioning its bundled content delivery offering to the Akamai HD network, for which it will now be a value-added reseller. Jeff Whatcott, Brightcove's SVP of Marketing, explained to me last week that the decision was made in reaction to its customers'  delivery requirements becoming more complex.  Akamai HD's differentiators included improved economics, analytics, mobile delivery and global coverage among others.

    Though the deal isn't exclusive, it will involve Brightcove moving over all of its customers who have been using the bundled delivery offering from Limelight, Brightcove's prior delivery partner. Jeff estimates more than 80% of Brightcove's customers take advantage of bundled delivery, though from Brightcove's standpoint, the fees it derives from delivery are small relative to its software and platform fees. Going forward, Brightcove will continue working with Limelight and other CDNs with whom it has relationships.

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  • BT Wholesale Readies CDN Launch; Relies on Skytide for Analytics

    While 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.)
  • 12 Questions for Akamai President and CEO Paul Sagan

    Last week, Akamai Technologies reported a very strong first quarter of 2010, with revenue of $240 million, up 14% year-over-year, and net income of $40.9 million, up 10% year-over-year. The company pointed to 3 main drivers of its accelerated growth: developments in cloud computing, video distribution over the Internet and online advertising. To learn more about what Akamai is seeing specifically among its media & entertainment (M&E) customers and in online video, late last week I spoke to company president and CEO Paul Sagan. Following is an edited transcript of our call.

    VideoNuze: Akamai just reported a very strong Q1, which as you explained on the earnings call, included accelerated growth in the company's large M&E business. What are the key trends Akamai is seeing from its M&E customers?

    Paul Sagan: The most important thing M&E customers are focused on is how they can build a sustainable business online. For video it's all about engagement - how to get people to stay longer and make the model work. We believe the big driver of that is quality and more specifically HD. A number of recent things have happened that help HD - first is pervasive and consistently strong broadband in the last mile. Second is variable bit rate streaming. Third are all he new convergence devices connecting broadband to the TV.  The key for customers is trying to get TV-like quality with interactivity. Just broadcasting an HD signal over the Internet isn't enough because TV works well already. It's the interactivity - things like multiple camera angles and instant DVR - that make the difference.

    VN: You said on the earnings call that HD is driving double or higher engagement by viewers. That's an impressive data point.

    PS: Yes, with live events where you can do a true A/B test - we're seeing roughly double the viewing time when delivering at 1-2 MB or higher. That's offering a big potential lift in time spent viewing for our customers.

    VN: Does that mean Akamai's M&E customers using HD are also doubling their revenue as a result?

    PW: I'm not sure they're doubling just yet, but HD delivery is making content into something that can be monetized more strongly - possibly through sponsorships as well as advertising and paid models. So it's not as simple as saying you sell double the number of banners. What HD also does is push people toward longer-form. An issue with some of the shorter-form content like 2-3 minute clips is that you just can't put that many ads in or it will be worse than TV for users. I'm not suggesting we should see 8 minutes of ads in a 30 minute show, but you can certainly do more.

    VN: Speaking of business models for high-quality video - what do you hear from your customers as the emerging standard - ads, paid or a mix of both?

    PS: It's a mix - some ad-supported, some per event payments or subscriptions, particularly with sports. Some movies will be more subscription-oriented. Online delivery and HD are unlocking a few different models, yet it's still early days for all models. Clearly some have struggled to date which is no surprise when you consider it's taken 15 years to get online viewing to just a 1% share - which is obviously pretty small. But given everything that's going on, I'm sure it won't take 15 more years to double again.

    VN: On the customer front, Akamai is announcing as a new customer this morning, which has an interesting "video curation" model. Can you say more about how these kinds of non-traditional distribution models like Magnify's fit into the online video landscape?

    PS: What we're seeing across a wide number of sites is a strong desire to add rich media. We're also seeing sites think about programming in a non-traditional way. The goal is how to keep the user experience compelling. That means adding audio and video when users expect it.  That in turn drives higher engagement and monetization. We've evolved from a time when there was a "priesthood of 3 networks" who produced video and nobody else could, to today when there are lots of ways to produce video - including millions of hours of UGC. The curated model is so important because it helps sites get relevant content.

    VN: How mature is the idea of curating online video from the web and non-traditional distribution models generally?

    PS: Well, I haven't even figured out the etymology of "curation" - in the old days we used to call it "editing." But that was about journalistic sites. Many of today's sites are not purely "journalistic."  So the video added isn't always "news," though it still has to be highly relevant. For example, biking video belongs on biking sites, not on hockey or baseball ones. How do we make those sites more compelling through video? That's what curation does. And Magnify's trying to make that easy. I've know (Magnify CEO) Steve Rosenbaum for 20 years and I'm thrilled that they appreciate how Akamai's quality, scale and reliability can be central to delivering the experience they want to achieve.

    VN: Shifting topics to CDN pricing, which is of course widely discussed. Can you say more about Akamai's approach to pricing for its M&E customers - on balance, does Akamai try to keep prices stable or is it continually trying to push them down?

    PS: I've gotten a question about CDN pricing every day for the 12 years that I've been here! My view in general is that unit prices in technology always come down and in this area they need to come down a lot because we're trying to enable our customers to deliver a lot more data. So we've been relentlessly driving the unit price of delivery down for years. For us it's not about keeping prices stable and reducing our costs solely for our own benefit. Rather, we've been driving the unit costs down every year and sharing that savings proportionately with our customers. That's worked out well in generating more traffic on our network every year. We plan to continue doing that because it creates a virtuous circle of ever-more traffic and reduced costs.

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  • Lots of News Yesterday - Adobe, Hulu, IAB, Yahoo, AEG, KIT Digital, VBrick, Limelight, Kaltura

    Yesterday was one of those days when meaningful broadband video-related news and announcements just kept spilling out. While I was writing up the 5Min-Scripps Networks deal, there was a lot of other stuff happening. Here's what hit my radar, in case you missed any of it:

    Adobe launches Flash 10.1 with numerous video enhancements - Adobe kicked off its MAX developer conference with news that Flash 10.1 will be available for virtually all smartphones, in connection with the Open Screen Project initiative, will support HTTP streaming for the first time, and with Flash Professional CS5, will enable developers to build Flash-based apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. All of this is part of the battle Adobe is waging to maintain Flash's lead position on the desktop and extend it to mobile devices. The HTTP streaming piece means CDNs will be able to leverage their HTTP infrastructure as an alternative to buying Flash Media Server 3.5. Meanwhile Apple is showing no hints yet of supporting Flash streaming on the iPhone, making it the lone smartphone holdout.

    Hulu gets Mediavest multi-million dollar buy - Hulu got a shot in the arm as Mediaweek reported that the Publicis agency Mediavest has committed several million dollars from 6 clients to Hulu in an upfront buy. Hulu has been flogged recently by other media executives for its lightweight ad model, so the deal is a well-timed confidence booster, though it is still just a drop in the bucket in overall ad spending.

    IAB ad spending research reports mixed results - Speaking of ad spending, the IAB and PriceWaterhouseCoopers released data yesterday showing overall Internet ad spending declined by 5.3% to $10.9B in 1H '09 vs. 1H '08. Some categories were actually up though, and online video advertising turned in a solid performance, up 38% from $345M in 1H '08 to $477M in 1H '09. Though still a small part of the overall pie, online video advertising's resiliency in the face of the recession is a real positive.

    Yahoo ups its commitment to original video - Yahoo is one of the players relying on advertising to support its online video initiatives, and so Variety's report that Yahoo may as much as double its proportion of originally-produced video demonstrates how strategic video is becoming for the company. Yahoo has of course been all over the map with video in recent years including the short tenure of Lloyd Braun and then the Maven acquisition, which was closed down in short order. Now though, by focusing on short-form video that augments its core content areas, Yahoo seems to have hit on a winning formula. New CEO Carol Bartz is reported to be a big proponent of video.

    AEG Acquires Incited Media, KIT Digital Acquires The FeedRoom and Nunet - AEG, the sports/venue operator, ramped up its production capabilities by creating AEG Digital Media and acquiring webcasting expert Incited Media. Company executives told me late last week that when combined with AEG's venues and live production expertise, the company will be able to offer the most comprehensive event management and broadcasting services. Elsewhere, KIT Digital, the acquisitive digital media technology provider picked up two of its competitors, Nunet, a German company focused on mobile devices, and The FeedRoom, an early player in video publishing/management solutions which has recently been focused on the enterprise. KIT has made a slew of deals recently and it will be interesting to watch how they knit all the pieces together.

    Product news around video delivery from VBrick, Limelight and Kaltura - Last but not least, there were 3 noteworthy product announcements yesterday. Enterprise video provider VBrick launched "VEMS" - VBrick Enterprise Media System - a hardware/software system for distributing live and on-demand video throughout the enterprise. VEMS is targeted to companies with highly distributed operations looking to use video as a core part of their internal and external communications practices.

    Separate, Limelight unveiled "XD" its updated network platform that emphasizes "Adaptive Intelligence," which I interpret as its implementation of adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming (see Limelight comment below, my bad) that is becoming increasing popular for optimizing video delivery (Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Apple, Akamai, Move Networks and others are all active in ABR too). And Kaltura, the open source video delivery company I wrote about here, launched a new offering to support diverse video use cases by educational institutions. Education has vast potential for video, yet I'm not aware of many dedicated services. I expect this will change.

    I may have missed other important news; if so please post a comment.

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