Akamai director cites fragmentation, bottlenecking as challenges for connected devices

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Akamai's director of product marketing, carrier products, and chief strategist, connected devices and gaming, spoke about the challenges of connected devices and touted their middle-mile solutions here at The Cable Show.

Kris Alexander, chief strategist of connected devices and gaming, identified fragmentation and increased bottlenecking of the spectrum as two main challenges resulting from an increase in connected devices per person.

"Obviously, there [are] more and more devices that are getting connected in," Alexander said in an interview with FierceCable. "The number of devices to users is growing, so my takeaway, no matter what data I look at, is the ratios are growing very quickly for the number of devices… that we interface with each day."

Alexander added that "there is a growing amount of complexity and new bottlenecks that we're going to face as an industry. A lot of where Akamai is focused… is what we call the middle-mile bottleneck. Our approach has been getting technology out within the local ISPs to address those middle-mile bottlenecks."

Akamai's Director of Product Marketing for Carrier Products, Frank Childs, said the company's aim when developing new products is to "serve the Internet more efficiently."

Childs cited the company's Aura Operator Content Delivery Network (OCDN) platform, which leverages technology from Akamai-acquired Verivue, as an example. "Part of the Aura solution is to allow operators to buy and embed caching devices in their networks to accelerate traffic to their end users and deliver traffic more efficiently."

According to Alexander, one of the main challenges to the connected device space is fragmentation. "More devices equals more fragmentation, so it's getting harder, not easier," he said. "Standards aren't necessarily solving the problem, because standards dictate what to do, not how to do it. Unless you have common implementations, it gets hard to simplify making something as easy as a video play the same across different devices."

Alexander said he is optimistic about the future of connected devices, however.

"I think we're making some good forward strides… around trying to have common implementations," he said. "People are now thinking about this ahead of time and realizing [standards aren't] going to solve the problem alone [and are] talking about common implementations as well."

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