Akamai leverages cloud to simplify online video distribution

Akamai Technologies will leverage the cloud to help its customers address the increasingly complex task of managing and presenting secure online media to a variety of end devices. Under the umbrella name Sola Media Solutions, Akamai's three-pronged product/service approach is built to manage the complexities associated with streaming and transcoding content, the company said.

"We're trying to help customers make their workflow simpler by offloading the operational activities to the cloud and trying to help them get to a variety of devices," Ahmet Ozalp, vice president of products for Akamai Sola Media Solutions, said during an interview with Fierce OnlineVideo. "We are strengthening our core in delivery and cloud-based storage but adding on top of that a higher level media services platform."

The product introduction is layered--to say the least. Built on the Akamai Intelligent Platform, Sola Media breaks into three further levels--Sola Sphere, Sola Vision and Sola Media Analytics--to target specific areas of customer need, the company said.

Sola Sphere is the "foundation platform for Sola Media," Ozalp said. It's designed to deal with the "ever-growing demands of online video in terms of scale, reach, quality and performance" at the CDN level.

Sola Vision, "an entirely new platform," is designed to adapt content for various receiving devices and adds a layer of content protection to secure increasingly valuable subscription or pay-per-session content.

"It helps adapt content," Ozalp said. "We allow our customers to give us a single format and we take care of the complexity of delivering to a variety of devices" via stream packaging that handles protocols needed to deliver content to any end device and transcoding that combines bitrates and other parameters to drive video quality.

"Our purpose, our goal in life, is to help our customers achieve the best results in transcoding video for the Internet" using cloud-based technology in a distributed fashion, Ozalp said. "It could be movies, TV shows, quick news segments: all that would be applicable."

The third layer, Sola Analytics, has been beefed up as a vertical layer within the Sola Media platform to give customers a better view of what their customers are seeing and doing with content.

"It touches Sphere and Vision and can provide visibility into both of these platforms," Ozalp said.

The new product platform should address a growing need, said Mike McGuire, research vice president at Gartner, quoted in an Akamai press release.

"Content providers of all types want to simplify the process, speed time to market and prepare for future advances--all without sacrificing the quality which is crucial for keeping viewers satisfied," he said in the news release.

In that instance, among other things, Sola Media is designed to help its customers deliver a quality video experience without the hassle.

"The complexity is growing and currently most of that complexity is left to the customer to solve in their own data centers and their own ways," Ozalp said. "We are taking some of the complexity to the cloud and solving it for them so they can focus on what they do best: market content."

For more:
- see this news release

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