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MobileRider Gains Competitive Edge with Akamai

The eyes of the extreme skiing and snowboarding worlds will be on Vail, Colo., and Kirkwood, Calif., starting today for the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships and Swatch Freeride World Tour 2013 presented by The North Face. Viewers around the world will be able to enjoy live HD streams of both events on Internet-connected devices thanks to Akamai partner, MobileRider.

Experts in delivering live and on-demand content over the Internet and across multiple platforms, MobileRider uses Akamai's Sola Sphere content delivery platform for all of its live and on-demand video requirements, from action sports events like snowboarding, skiing, surfing and paintball, to major concerts and artists such as U2, Madonna and KISS. For the U.S. Open and Freeride events, MobileRider is deploying turnkey packages that include satellite transmission and encoding, delivery, and media management that support the quality, custom look and functionality that content owners and viewers have come to require and expect.

Satellite antennas and moguls at the FIS Freestyle International at Utah's Deer Valley.

"Akamai gives MobileRider a competitive edge," according to Noah Hollander, the company's COO. "We went through a long and arduous search for a strategic content delivery partner, and discovered that Akamai's innovation is helping us offer the best possible services to our customers."

"First and foremost, we know we're going to deliver the highest quality video experience using Akamai," says Hollander. "But we're also building some very cool features on top of the platform, like video segmenting, which in the case of our snowboarding and skiing events, allows us to instantly archive an athlete's run in a VOD player and immediately publish to any platform the second the rider finishes. We can also do keypointing, where we highlight critical moments on a video timeline that viewers can jump right to."

It's not enough to tell a customer that everything worked fine. MobileRider needs to prove it every time, which is where Akamai's Sola Analytics come in to play. "Sola's analytics capabilities are invaluable," Hollander notes. "We're constantly keeping an eye on stream quality in real time with QoS monitoring, which allows us to quickly and efficiently provide support and troubleshoot if an issue comes up. And after the event, we're generating reports through audience analytics that can tell us what worked, what didn't, and how we can make the next one even better."

"As technology gets smaller and faster, user expectations are becoming higher and higher. Back in the 90s, if you could decipher the picture in a Windows player, you were pretty satisfied," laughs Hollander. "Now it has to be HD and it has to work on any device and any network. Those are the kind of expectations we're meeting with Akamai for every event."

Chris Nicholson is a senior public relations manager at Akamai.