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While in Boston to attend the 2012 BIO International conference, Rt Hon David Willetts, UK Minister for Universities and Science took a detour across the river to Akamai's Cambridge, MA headquarters.

Mr. Willetts' duties include responsibility for cybersecurity in the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and during his visit he was able to spend some time discussing with Akamai Co-founder and Chief Scientist Tom Leighton, as well as members of Akamai's public sector team, how government organizations can best protect their online assets.

The visit seems a natural extension of the work Mr. Willetts is doing back in the UK which includes overseeing the development of hubs to enable businesses to share information on cyber threats and a commitment to find new ways to bring businesses, academics and government together to exploit the latest security innovations. It'll be interesting to see how that effort unfolds.


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Rt Hon David Willetts and Tom Leighton in the Akamai NOCC

One year ago, at NAB 2011, TV Everywhere was talked about... well... everywhere. Operators and programmers were racing to secure their strategies to stay relevant in the Media 3.0 world and take advantage of new business models; and after enjoying a few years of vigorous discussion, months went by with stalled progress, leaving many to wonder what happened.

Operators want to bundle content to their throngs of paying subscribers, and programmers want to maintain their own destination channels to increase brand recognition amongst consumers. No one wants to give in first. So the compromises became something in the middle, which no one was entirely pleased with.

As it stands, operators and programmers both share in the revenue of Internet video delivery, but no one party truly owns the whole customer relationship. Furthermore, there are questions abound about who possesses the valuable viewership data. There's complexity with these business deals, and even once they are put in place, it takes time and resources to get the solutions to market.

One year later, in time for NAB 2012, we're seeing renewed vigor around the TV Everywhere discussion. The various players are realizing that their time is up - regardless of whether a happy resolution has been reached, consumers are demanding access to their content on all devices now. That has left these parties scrambling to deliver the content subscribers are paying for to their many devices, and needing a solution provider that enables them to do so quickly, securely and at scale.

The formula to a successful TV Everywhere implementation combines multi-device delivery & security, measurement and subscriber authentication/authorization. In order to enable any of those services, a flexible cloud-based technology solution is required to rapidly and repeatedly reach the wide breadth of consumer devices. Without that flexibility, the time to market is slowed and paying subscriber engagement is potentially lost.

What are your predictions for TV Everywhere in the next 6-12 months? Your comments are welcomed.

[Akamai announced its TV Everywhere services at NAB last year and will be demoing live client applications this year at Booth #SL8124.]

Adam Greenbaum leads Akamai's efforts around TV Everywhere...

Since joining Akamai just over 2 years ago I have had the privilege to meet with Financial Services Institutions (FSIs) around the world and hear firsthand about their opportunities and challenges.  It never ceases to amaze me how performance continues to play such a critical role in this industry, and how passionate and competitive people are about this.  This passion exists firm-wide in many cases, and at the individual level.  People take this personally.

Prior to joining Akamai I was one such person. I experienced the thrill and rewards of making a web site faster, of moving from #11 to #1 on a performance benchmark, and knocking off competitors along the way.

In this two-part blog, I will examine why performance continues to play such an important role in financial services.  Today in Part One, I will dive into user experience.  In Part Two, I will present the ROI of performance - always a challenging topic.  In the future I am going to tackle tablets.  Is the industry meeting the performance expectations for tablet users?  How can FSIs make them faster?  I have some answers.  So stay tuned.

Part One: The Performance Arms Race:
One of the major drivers in the arms races is that the performance expectations of users continue to increase. In fact, a recent study shows that almost 50% of users expect a 1 second page load time.  And don't forget, most of the performance tools and benchmarks only measure the time to the last byte to the browser, and do not measure the actual render time to the user. So if you are happy that your page load time is 1 second on a benchmark, remember that time is likely double to the user looking at the screen.

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Life after Akamai - Responsible Electronic Waste Management

The Internet has enabled massive dematerialization of traditional brick and mortar industries through the emergence of online services such as shopping, banking, communications and entertainment.  However, this success has been accompanied by rapid growth in the Internet's own increased material consumption and waste generation.  Akamai is front and center in the Internet industry (albeit behind-the-scenes!) and has been working diligently to get in front of this challenge by implementing socially - and environmentally - responsible reuse and recycling initiatives. 

In 2008, Akamai launched a sustainability initiative to actively address and manage the growing environmental impact of our operations.  It was clear early on that the decommissioning of network and corporate electronic equipment such as servers, laptops and monitors, was a significant aspect of this impact in the form of electronic waste ("e-waste").  Our platform was growing at a rapid rate and, hence, so was the amount of equipment we were decommissioning.  But, we did not monitor the fate of this decommissioned equipment other than that it was being shipped to one of our asset management (e-waste) vendors or stockpiled in a warehouse, which was not only of no value to anyone but also a cost to Akamai.  Where did the equipment really go?  Did it have residual value?  Was it properly disposed of?  These were important questions for both good business and sustainability management.   

The first step was to educate ourselves about electronic waste and its proper disposal.  As one might expect, we became familiar with the Basel Action Network (BAN).  Through BAN we learned about the potential hazards (no pun intended) of electronic waste disposal including the negative impacts to remote communities, as depicted in the photo below, as well as potential security and reputational risks to Akamai.  BAN through its e-Stewards initiative developed a certification program for asset management companies.  This certification program helps Akamai verify that the vendors we are using and their downstream vendors comply with a set of standards that ensures the secure and socially- and environmentally-responsible disposal of our electronic waste.  The U.S. EPA has a "Responsible Recycling Practices" (R2) certification program that tries to achieve similar aims.  The e-Stewards certification was invaluable to Akamai because we would not have had the resources to conduct this level of due diligence.  After a thorough evaluation process we selected several e-waste partners.  We are also developing internal procedures and training materials to help ensure that 100% of our electronic waste is processed through these certified partners. 

Akamai's sustainability strategy around material consumption is first to reduce consumption as much as possible followed by reuse and recycle.  Our e-Stewards-certified vendors help us achieve the latter two by reselling equipment that has residual value, turning what was a cost into an asset, and recycling as much recovered material as possible with minimal to no landfill.  We quickly expanded the program to include our decommissioned corporate electronic assets.
  
Akamai is now processing tens of thousands of electronic assets annually, confident that we are recovering their full economic value, supporting employment in remote communities while reducing social and environmental impact. 
 
More information about Akamai's overall environmental sustainability initiative can be found here:  www.akamai.com/sustainability, or you can contact Nicola Peill-Moelter, Akamai's Director of Environmental Sustainability npeill@akamai.com.

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Remote communities negatively impacted by the irresponsible disposal of electronic waste.
Source:  http://inhabitat.com/electronics-recycling-101-the-problem-with-e-waste/

Nicola Peill-Moelter is Akamai's Director of Environmental Sustainability

Blazing Akamai

As you may have heard, Akamai acquired Blaze today.

This is obviously big news for Blaze, and we're thoroughly excited about it. Beyond that, we see this as a big moment for the field of Front-End Optimization (FEO), and for the goal of making the web faster. Having Akamai provide an automated FEO solution will make this technology easily available to thousands of the top websites in the world, and make a real impact on the web.
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We see Akamai as a great home for both the Blaze team and technology, here are some of the reasons why.

The Evolving CDN
CDNs have been around for a while, and have evolved as the web evolved.

At first, CDNs were focused on caching static content across the globe. Whether it's big software downloads or page resources like scripts and images, temporary copies were created all around the globe. Since most websites were static, serving a file from a nearby Edge made web pages much faster.

Over time, websites transformed into highly dynamic beasts, and couldn't simply be cached. CDNs like Akamai and others rose to the challenge, and provided Dynamic Site Acceleration (DSA). New algorithms leverage thousands of synchronized servers for transferring data more efficiently, avoiding redundant downloads and more, thus accelerating dynamic content.

As the web evolved, technology adapted.

To say that Web-based security attacks are on the rise would be an understatement. Consider this: in just the past three years, we've seen an eye-popping 2,000% increase in the number of DDoS attack incidents investigated on behalf of our customers.  

And while those DDoS numbers are not currently part of Akamai's State of the Internet report (Q3 2011 edition released today at  http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/), the attack traffic that we monitor and report on provides some interesting food for thought. State of the Internet report attack data is gathered from a distributed set of agents deployed across the Internet. Based on data collected by these agents, we're able to identify the top countries from which this observed attack traffic originates, as well as the top ports targeted by these attacks.

The sun has set on another CES show filled with new gadgets, celebrity appearances, endless cab lines, partially-functional voice and data services, and back-to-back meetings. After meeting with many connected device companies, content owners, press and analysts, a few themes seemed to stand out.

The first big theme is that hyperconnectivity has become completely pervasive. Every imaginable device can be connected to the Internet to provide additional services. Phones, tablets, TVs and game consoles have typically been the big talk, with innovation focused around thinner, lighter weight devices, faster processing and memory, and greater storage on the device. However, the pervasiveness of this trend toward Internet-connected devices emerged in Las Vegas. In particular, it's interesting that many businesses in the automotive industry made major announcements at CES instead of the North American International Auto Show, which was taking place at the same time. It was also interesting to see all the growth in connected devices across health, fitness, home automation and control, home security and more. A great example of innovation is a company called Nest, that has reinvented something as simple as a thermostat to become a smart device by leveraging learning capabilities with Internet-supported functionality to make better decisions about controlling temperature, providing real value and energy cost savings to consumers. However, more devices from different businesses and industries becoming connected has created a major challenge.

The promise of startups, especially venture backed ones, is predicated on fast growth.  Even with that touchstone, relative to prior decades or even prior years, the growth trajectory of today's startups is in the warp speed territory.  According to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, the fastest growing startups are achieving revenue growth and even profitability much faster than leading startups of yester years.  While the companies mentioned in the analysis have continued to advance, and some have even gone public or are about to go public since the review was published in February, some of the noted points are worth highlighting here:

"... Groupon's revenue in 2010 rose more than 22 times to $760 million in its second full year since its daily deals site launched, up from $33 million in 2009. Zynga, the maker of online social games like FarmVille, scored revenue of $850 million in its third full year in 2010, more than triple the year before, and Facebook's revenue rocketed to as high as $2 billion in 2010, its sixth full year.

Their ridiculous revenue growth rates actually rival those of the four largest Internet companies-Google, eBay, Yahoo and Amazon.com-early on. Taking a look at the line graph below, Groupon and Zynga's charted growth is steeper than San Francisco's famous Filbert Street. Over the longer haul, Facebook's sales fall short of the two Internet kings, Google and Amazon, but top those of eBay and Yahoo, in their first six years.

Innovation All Star

Last night our CEO Paul Sagan was honored as a "Tech Luminary" at the 16th annual Innovation All Stars awards event, hosted by the Boston Business Journal and Mass High Tech. Selected by readers and editorial staff, Paul was recognized for being one of the "driving forces in the New England tech sector."

The event was held at Boston's House of Blues and drew an impressive crowd of executives from the region's hottest tech companies. It also helped to raise money for FIRST, a non-profit that designs programs to motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math.

You can read more about the awards online as well as in the print edition of Mass High Tech, which comes out tomorrow. Congrats Paul!

Liz Bradley is senior manager of executive communications at Akamai

A Winning Team

Akamai recently announced the addition of two exceptionally talented executives to our senior leadership team: Rick McConnell, Executive Vice President, Products and Development and Kumud Kalia, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer.
 
Individually, Rick and Kumud are tech rock stars in their own right. Together, they complete a winning team at Akamai that is perfectly aligned to propel us even faster forward as we embark on our next stage of growth.
 
In addition to their impressive industry backgrounds, both Rick and Kumud exude a palpable enthusiasm for what lies ahead at Akamai and we're looking forward to hearing more from each of them soon!

Liz Bradley is senior manager of executive communications at Akamai
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