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For years at Akamai, I have spoken at conferences and with customers about the future of the WAN.  While the title of my presentations may have varied - "Next-Generation WAN Services", "How to Redesign your WAN", "Preparing for the Convergence of Private WAN and Internet" - my view has not.  Network architectures need to undergo a huge transformation.  Why?  The increased amount of web traffic finding its way within enterprise private networks.  It's inevitable due to increased adoption of public cloud services, video and other business or recreational traffic.

Mixing web traffic with other business traffic inside the corporate network creates a lot of strain.  The majority of enterprises today still backhaul traffic from the branch office to the data-center to access the Internet.  The primary reason is for security as it is easier to lock-down a small Internet access points as opposed to going "direct-to-net" at every branch and having to protect all of these locations.  The downside to this approach is the performance impact it has for users in the branch office as their traffic is unnecessarily being routed around large distances, along with scalability challenges as bandwidth available at the branch is limited.  Even for those branches that do connect entirely direct to net, you'll still have to bring the optimizations into the last mile, to solve for scalability and performance.  Ultimately, I believe enterprises will increasingly mix and match their Internet strategies for the branch using techniques like direct to net, split tunnel and path selection depending on factors such as security, quality of service, application type and cost.

Today, we announced that Akamai has been developing new technology which we call Akamai Unified Performance that brings application performance "behind the firewall" and into the branch office.  With more than 1,000 Commerce, Retail, Hotel and Travel customers, many of these customers have asked us to help them move their Omnichannel initiatives forward as the digital experience increasingly extends beyond home and mobile into their brick and mortar stores.  One of our customers, Marks & Spencer, recently shared that their shoppers spend 8x as much if they can engage them in all three channels.  But enabling the in store Omnichannel experience requires a new approach to the retail store network, as highlighted in this white paper. It involves a whole bunch of new optimizations that allow retailers to extend their investment and experience with Akamai on the web and get those same optimizations into the store - while also accelerating lots of other 3rd party content delivered by Akamai given the Intelligent Platform already delvers 15-30% of all web traffic.

We also announced today that Akamai and Cisco are working together for future integration of Akamai Unified Performance into the Cisco ISR AX series of routers and we showed a working prototype on the main stage at Edge 13.  The intent is to co-develop enterprise network offerings with Cisco aimed at delivering the world's first combined Intelligent Wide Area Network (IWAN) Optimization solution that provides a high quality end user experience for both public and private cloud applications to all remote offices.  You'll be hearing more from us when products are brought to market, but there are so many possibilities when you think about the routing, performance optimization and security capabilities both companies bring to the table which can overcome existing challenges associated with branch office network architectures and the user experience.

It's an exciting day for the enterprise WAN (and me).   Read more at www.akamai.com/cisco

Neil Cohen - VP Global Product Marketing, Akamai

This October at the Edge Global Conference I'll be joined by technology visionaries from a wide range of industries and organizations discussing topics related to creating cutting edge experiences ... faster. 

I'm specifically excited to share details about the new Developers' Track we'll be introducing. We have some fantastic presenters lined up, including Geoffrey Moore - Author and Business Strategies; Gene Kim - VisOps Author and Entrepreneur; Jason Grigsby - Mobile Web Evangelist; and Josh Clark - Mobile Design Strategist, talking about stimulating topics ranging from DevOps to responsive design, and discussing steps toward adopting these cutting-edge development methodologies.


 

And, of course, beyond that we will share new information about Akamai product roadmaps, discuss best practices, and network with an incredible group of peers whilesharing a beer together after the sessions.

 

Stay tuned and I look forward to seeing you at Edge 2013.

 

Guy Podjarni

Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, Web Experience , Akamai

EdgeBanner.pngI'm pleased to invite you to our 6th Akamai Edge 2013 this October 7 - 11 in Washington, D.C. at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort and Conference Center. Join us and meet up with more than 1,000 of your industry peers and our best line-up yet of industry innovators, as we create the experiences that to drive a Faster Forward World

Our Biggest and Best Customer Conference Yet! 
More sessions, tracks and networking opportunities that have all been designed to provide a broader and more diverse perspective for conference attendees. 

What's New To Help Fuel Your Innovation! 
This Year we'll be offering a Developers' Track - dedicated to technical professionals seeking to develop new experiences leveraging our platform. We'll have sessions on how to bring applications to market more quickly and intimate developer labs giving you detailed insight on how to get the most out of new features in our platform. We're also pleased to introduce the Web Security Symposium, designed for security professionals. Security leaders and your peers will help you think about strategies for securing your organization's data, sites and applications against the ever-evolving threats of today's online environment. 

We're extremely excited about the agenda and the lineup of well-known industry luminaries and tech experts who will be presenting at Edge 2013. So much so that we're introducing new conference discounts to help make attending Edge as easy as possible for all Akamai customers. 

Three Ways to Save: 
  • New Customer Discount: If your company first purchased Akamai services after January 1, 2013, you're eligible to receive a $300 discount on the Full Conference pass. Enter code: 50NEW2013 
  • Edge Alumni Discount: If you've attended an Akamai conference before now you're eligible to receive US$300 off your conference seat. Enter code: ALUM2013 
  • Team Discount: Visit Akamai Edge 2012 With Your Team of 3 or more and save 50% per person. Enter code: GROUP2013 

From customer innovation stories, industry panels, technical labs, partner and government forums to Web security and developers' tracks, there's something for everyone at Edge 2013. Space is limited and by invitation only so we encourage you not to wait and REGISTER TODAY

Join us and be inspired. I look forward to seeing you there! 

Brad Rinklin 
Chief Marking Officer, Akamai

On the Road with Aura Network Solutions

As previously posted here, Akamai's Frank Childs recently presented at the CDN Summit in NYC alongside Charter Communication's Kreig DuBose for a session titled "Deploying and Operator CDN to Enhance Customer Experience." Frank spoke about our Aura Network Solutions and Kreig explained his decision to select Aura, the results of the implementation and next steps. If you're interested in seeing the presentation, I've inluded the video below...

 

After the CDN Summit it was back on the road for the Cable Show in Washington, DC. The event was the perfect place to see new advances in interactive video applications, breakthrough technologies that are changing the way people communicate online, and multi-screen content delivery strategies, among others. And of course we heard from industry leaders talking about their investment and product development priorities for 2014 and beyond. While I spent some time celebrity spotting - MC Hammer, Ricky Schroder and JLo, to name just a few - our very own Kris Alexander presented in what is known as "Imagine Park" in the center of the exhibit floor. To a packed crowd, Kris showcased Akamai's "Hyperconnected Living Room Experience", explaining how the second screen trend is likely to evolve and what is possible in the world of synchronized experiences and companions apps.

Here is a video of his presentation.

 

As you might imagine, The Cable Show folks do a remarkable job of capturing all of the show's presentations online. Take a look at their web site to view more sessions at: https://2013.thecableshow.com

Tara Bartley is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Akamai

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.
MobileRiderMogulsWeb.jpg

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."

Ultra HD, The Next Gen TV: Who Can Afford Them?

Anyone at this year's CES would have seen the connected device manufacturers promoting "Ultra HD" or "4K" TV. This next-generation TV provides picture quality many times better than HD (or BluRay) devices can produce today - 3840 * 2160, (approx. 8.3 megapixels per frame) vs. HD's 1920 * 1080 (approx. 2.1 megapixels per frame). On the surface, it seems like a breakthrough and early adopters will undoubtedly covet this new screen, but will they be impressed enough to make a purchase?

LG Electronic's CEO Havis Kwon said "2013 is an important year because for LG, it marks the beginning of a newTV era.  With game-changing products such as the OLED TV and Ultra HD TV, we are in a strong position strategically to lead the industry. Delivery of our Ultra HD TV well before the competition and the imminent release of our OLED TV in the first quarter of 2013 will give us a head start in a market where speed is a critical component of success."  So seems at least LG is betting big on it.  Rumour was that after 5 months LG had sold only 300 of its early models!

Predictably, there are potential stumbling blocks. The 4K TV is expensive. The first screens will hit the market in the middle of the year and Sony is taking pre-orders for its 86" model at US$25,000. Samsung's 85" is rumored around $37,000 and LG's 84" at 24,000. The price is on the high side, but many early adopters, who are keen for the latest gadgets, will open their wallets. With each new generation TV screen, the time taken for price commoditization gets shorter and shorter, so it's likely that more mainstream, attainable consumer pricing will be available in a year or so.

The major stumbling block for this new gadget is lack of content. Broadcasters currently do not broadcast in 4K. Their current best is 1080i, which is not as good as 1080p or BluRay. Sony's offering comes with ten 4K movies pre-loaded and Samsung is promoting an engine to improve 1080i/p but not to the full 4K quality, although the Samsung CES demo looked stunning.

Internet of Things at CES

The mere fact that a phrase like "the Internet of things" exists essentially ensures that there's going to be a connected something or another anywhere you look at the 2013 CES in Las Vegas this week. With that in mind, I've been keeping an eye out for interesting or unusual examples of connected devices and applications at the show - a task that quickly became daunting given the sheer volume of demonstrations and expansive scale of the event.

This is by no means intended to represent a comprehensive round-up, but rather some items of note that caught my eye during the opportunities I had to check out the show floor.

Worth the weight
Withings, the France-based creators of the first Internet-connected scale, are showing a new "all-in-one body monitoring scale" (front) that tracks weight, BMI, body fat and heart rate simply by stepping on scale, while also monitoring indoor air quality. Withings won a CES Innovation Award for the product, which also features a very sleek, clean design.

scale.jpg

CES 2013: What We're Watching

Every New Year brings with it scores of traditions, from resolutions, fireworks and champagne toasts to the Times Square ball, "Auld Lang Syne" and midnight smooches. Perhaps not quite as time honored or widely anticipated, this time of year also heraldsCES_crowd2.jpg prognostications of what the big stories and technologies coming out of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be.

At Akamai, where so much of what we do touches the daily lives of consumers around the world, we're as interested in what's going on at CES professionally as we are personally. We're not just helping content owners deliver the best streaming video services, we're enjoying them at home and on the go thanks to our TV Everywhere solutions, for example. With that in mind, members of our digital media marketing and engineering teams took a few minutes to share what they'll be keeping an eye on during next week's confab in Las Vegas.

Kurt Michel, Director of Product Marketing, Sola Media Solutions
  • 4K TVs, or Ultra HD. Since content still can't be sourced from broadcast, it has to be served over the top. It's still fairly early, but it will be interesting to see how this and the related explosion in bandwidth plays out.
  • OLED display quality. This is awesome, high-quality video that can be displayed in a thinner form factor that's actually cheaper over the long term.
  • Any video technology on flexible media.

The Hyperconnected Holidays

Once again, we're full swing into the holidays and already beyond the biggest shopping days of the year. Like last year, we should ask ourselves what this means in terms of so many more connected devices coming online that were given as gifts during the holiday season. When these devices are removed from their packaging and connected, everyone involved in the ecosystem needs to be prepared to support the consumer.

In the spirit of the holidays and good fun, I present "The Twelve Days of Hyperconnectivity." I'll just ask that you allow a little leeway to make it work!

The first day of hyper connectivity gave to me, a connected device under the tree
The second day of hyper connectivity gave to me, a fully charged battery
The third day of hyper connectivity gave to me, Wi-fi and 4G
The fourth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, network services connecting
The fifth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, software patches loading
The sixth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, digital goods to shop for
The seventh day of hyper connectivity gave to me, gift codes to redeem
The eighth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, logins and passcodes
The ninth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, lots of apps downloading
The tenth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, lots of music and video streaming
The eleventh day of hyper connectivity gave to me, video games playing
The twelfth day of hyper connectivity gave to me, video chats running

In all seriousness, we are in a world where everyone from the connected device manufacturers and media, gaming and app businesses, to retailers, wireless carriers and broadband operators all need to be preparing. When someone first opens their connected holiday gift, they are going to want to use it, which means connecting, finding the content they want, obtaining the content and using the content. The quality of this consumer experience directly affects all the businesses involved. If part of the experience is poor, the consumer doesn't necessarily know who to contact to solve an issue, meaning anyone in the chain could get support inquiries. And if consumers can't solve issues they run into, then products are returned and exchanged.

The Sun Rises on Sola Media Solutions

Just in time for the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), Akamai earlier today introduced Sola Media Solutions. A comprehensive set of cloud based, integrated services, Sola Media is designed to meet the increasing audience demand for content that is available when and where viewers want it, on a wide variety of devices, and with the highest quality possible.

Put simply, Sola Media is all about giving our customers an easy and effective way to address the core challenges of providing an engaging audience experience. We can help them adapt and protect content and ensure that content is connected in the larger video ecosystem with Sola Vision. We allow our customers to store and deliver content with Sola Sphere. And we give them the tools to better understand the user experience with Sola Media Analytics.

If you're going to be at IBC in Amsterdam, stop in at Stand 7.K36 and ask to see Sola Media Solutions in action - especially the brand new cloud-based transcoding and stream packaging capabilities. Or, watch the below video. Our director of product marketing for Sola Media Solutions discusses why we believe Sola Media is a great way for content providers to engage audiences with superior quality video, solve the challenges of multi-device consumption, and increase video monetization. At the end, there is an opportunity to schedule a meeting or demo if you'd like more information.




Rob Morton is a senior manager for public relations at Akamai


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