Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM), the cloud company that powers and protects life online, today introduced new cloud computing capabilities for streaming video at the 2023 NAB Show. The capabilities are designed to help OTT operators deliver higher quality and more personalized video experiences to viewers. They can also help operators realize lower, more predictable operational costs and improve efforts to monetize content. Additionally, Akamai announced enhancements to its support of the Common Media Client Data (CMCD) specification and highlighted the latest members of its Qualified Computing Partner program.
Cloud power, scale
OTT services today operate the types of complex applications and demanding workloads that Akamai cloud computing services are ideally suited to handle. Built on Akamai Connected Cloud, the massively distributed edge and cloud platform for cloud computing, content delivery and security, developers can use Akamai cloud computing services to build, run and secure applications and workloads that are best suited to where and how their viewers connect. For viewers, that means low-latency, high-performing experiences; for OTT operators, it means global scalability with lower-cost and predictable pricing.
“Whether you’re building the app or paying the invoices from cloud providers, Akamai cloud computing services are uniquely capable to help cover the gamut of development, cost control, and viewer experience,” said Jon Alexander, Vice President, Product Management, Akamai. “We’re giving OTT operators a host of powerful new cloud computing functions, scaling them across our global platform, and backing them with Akamai content delivery and security services.”
In addition, Akamai is adding new use cases to its EdgeWorkers serverless computing capabilities that address needs around content personalization, rights management and security for streaming video. The use cases support DASH and HLS streaming protocols.
- Manifest and Playlist Manipulation: Decrease storage requirements and costs for operators while providing improved viewing experiences for end users by using EdgeWorkers to dynamically personalize manifest file elements such as bitrate ordering, resolution filtering and subtitles at the edge, closer to viewers.
- Program Replacement: Deploy faster, more flexible pre-delivery content stitching for both live and on-demand video. Operators can insert content pre-, mid- and post-roll into video streams based on criteria such as geolocation and time of day to satisfy requirements such as rights restrictions or local ratings.
- Watermarking: Better track and mitigate live and on-demand video piracy with A/B content watermarking that is compliant with the new DASH Industry Forum (DASH-IF) specification support for any watermarking technique, encoder and CDN.
Performance improvements, more insight
To help OTT operators improve the viewing experience and obtain additional visibility into video performance, Akamai is enhancing its support for the CMCD specification. Created by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the specification enables device-based media players to send playback information to Akamai and other CDNs. Akamai is using CMCD to intelligently pre-fetch content, which can improve video start-up time and reduce buffering.
With CMCD support, OTT operators can also benefit from more consistent, reliable metrics on viewer quality of experience. The CDN receives meaningful client-side data and affords the low-latency, high-volume processing power to generate logs that can be delivered to third-party analytics tools for reporting and analysis.
Partner workflow solutions
Akamai is also highlighting the members of its Qualified Computing Partner program that provide solution-based services for media workflows. The services are interoperable with Akamai Connected Cloud and are available through partners that have completed a thorough qualification process.
- Ateme: Ateme provides video compression and delivery solutions helping tier-one content providers, service providers and streaming platforms to boost their viewership and engagement.
- Capella Systems: Capella Systems offers software-based VOD transcoding, live encoding and packaging solutions that can be installed on premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid solution.
- HarperDB: HarperDB’s distributed application platform simplifies development and data management at scale, reducing complexity and latency, and improving the economics of modern computing.
- Hydrolix: Hydrolix can power observability for Akamai customers with built-in dashboards and allows for real-time data ingestion at any scale, lightning-fast query performance, extensive data retention at a fraction of the cost of other services and platforms.
- LiveKit: LiveKit is an open-source developer stack designed for real-time video and audio communication, making it easy to build applications for interactive live streaming, conferencing, collaboration or robotics – backed by the reliability and scalability of the Akamai Connected Cloud.
- LiveSwitch: LiveSwitch provides critical video infrastructure that powers the most engaging and interactive real-time communications and entertainment experiences on the web.
- Macrometa: The Macrometa Global Data Network enables new dynamic, real-time services, such as intent-based content search, tailored recommendations, and impactful cohort mapping for Direct Ad Insertions (DAI) and Server Side Ad Inclusion (SSAI).
- Scalstrm: The Scalstrm media platform offers the ability to pick and match features including continuous live recordings, real time ad-insertion/replacement, content repackaging and adaptations into different streams for different device types.
- Unified Streaming: Unified Streaming, which provides solutions for complex streaming challenges, is collaborating with Akamai to help allow for quicker deployment of virtual channels, including FAST channels, among many other solutions.