By Nelson Chao and Will Law
On November 30 in Los Angeles, Nokia Technologies held a launch event to announce the availability of the OZO, a first-of-its kind 3D 360-degree virtual reality (VR) camera, which is defining a new category in professional VR capture. To demonstrate the camera's capabilities, Nokia Technologies partnered with Akamai to deliver a live stream using the Akamai Network. Nokia Technologies used an OZO to live stream a performance by California surf-rock band Best Coast from atop the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood to guests and press at the event in downtown Los Angeles, who got to watch via VR headsets.
Two challenges existed in making this event a success. The first was how to transport the live stream over the general internet from the recording site to the event venue, which was seven miles away. Nokia Technologies needed a live streaming solution that could deliver a high bitrate stream. The second was how to accommodate concurrent playback at the reception venue. The VR headsets would have pushed the Internet connection close to saturation. To avoid having the required sustained throughput + the TCP traffic overhead on the WAN link at the demo venue, Nokia Technologies' needed an appliance at the venue that could do the equivalent of video multicast and collapse all out-going requests down to the equivalent of a single stream.
Our partner Elemental provided an encoder that could encode and package the stream at acceptable bitrates. Installed on the encoder was Akamai Accelerate Ingest software, which accepted the TCP POSTs from the local encoder and delivered them via UDP, over the general internet, to an Akamai Ingest server. Using UDP for the first mile helped stabilize any throughput fluctuations from the production site. Once at the ingest server, the stream was moved through the Akamai Intelligent Network and delivered via an edge server in Los Angeles to the event venue via their WAN link.
Akamai and Nokia Technologies quickly identified the risk of compromised stream quality when multiple streams were being accessed over the live event's WAN link. Luckily Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect could help address WAN congestion and optimize stream quality to the UHD VR headsets during the OZO demo.
The team quickly supplied Nokia Technologies with a Cisco WAVE Appliance with Akamai Connect SW to test and validate live and on-demand HTTP/S video caching. Akamai Connect integrated into Cisco hardware was able to offload video traffic from the event's WAN and optimize stream quality for each player.
The Live Event Demo Results:
The feedback from Nokia Technologies was very positive. Akamai Media Services Live plus Cisco IWAN with Akamai Connect was an integral component to making the demo a success.
Nelson Chao is Senior Product Manager, Cloud Networking, and Will Law is Chief Architect, Media Cloud Engineering, at Akamai.