Streaming Video Alliance introduces new specs for data tracking, CDN and service provider exchanges

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The Open Caching Group has already attracted a number of heavy hitters in the content delivery industry, including Viacom and Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

The Streaming Video Alliance’s Open Caching Working Group has released two new technical specifications focused on open caching platforms, giving OTT and CDN providers an additional set of best practices to follow as they scale their video customer bases.

The new technical specifications, which were ratified by the Alliance Membership earlier this week, focus on logging and service provisioning:

  • Open Caching Logging Specification: This includes the Open Caching System (OCS) technical specifications for logging data to help track data acquisition and the delivery of it to the end user.
  • Open Caching Service Provisioning Specification: This specification includes the functional specification of open-caching service provisioning interfaces, enabling a CDN and a service provider to exchange information to enable the delegation of CDN content requests to the service provider Open Caching system.

RELATED: Viacom, MLB, others join Streaming Video Alliance open caching trials

Jason Thibeault, executive director of the Streaming Video Alliance, told FierceOnlineVideo in an interview that open caching is the next evolution in video delivery architectures focused on optimizing the viewing experience by bringing content closer to the end user.

“Whatever caching system operators end up using must work seamlessly with CDNs, content owners and other delivery value chain participants,” Thibeault said. “Open caching proposes to solve both problems by providing an interoperable system between delivery components while enabling network operators to ensure not only the best possible video experience for their users but also be able to better optimize traffic delivery across their rails.”

The Open Caching Group has already attracted a number of heavy hitters in the content delivery industry, including Viacom and Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which participated in a trial of the open caching request routing specification.

This new architecture—along with the HTTPS delegation technical specification, both approved by the Alliance in November 2016—is designed to improve quality of experience for live and on-demand video streaming.

Thibeault said that the first phase of the trials has been completed with plans to publish a paper detailing the results. The Alliance plans to then begin the second phase of the trials sometime this summer.

In addition to the three parts of the specifications it has developed, including request routing, logging, and service provisioning, the alliance is currently creating a number of other parts.

Thibeault said that a diversity of companies that participate in the delivery value chain—CDNs, OTT providers, content owners and operators—are taking notice of the alliance’s specifications.

“Netflix has already built out its own operator-network caching solution, but other providers are starting to show interest,” Thibeault said. “Of course, any caching solution like Open Caching is driven by the operators. So as operators adopt caching solutions, the OTT providers will have to come to terms with how to interoperate.”

As the Open Caching Group expands, the alliance has formed the Edge Storage Subgroup. Led by Western Digital, the goal of the Edge Storage Subgroup is to create the functional technical requirements for storage and optimal architecture when streaming online video.

Although the "Download to go" features of OTT services are very popular amongst consumers because they allow them to fill their devices with content that they can watch when not connected to the internet, providers don't have any clear guidelines on how to offer such a service.

This new group will explore this and other use cases, and provide documentation and proof-of-concepts to the industry as they explore how to use edge storage in their delivery architectures. The Edge Storage Subgroup will commence at the next quarterly member meeting, scheduled for September 13, 2017 at the Liberty Global campus in Amsterdam.