Akamai braces for huge streaming audiences in 2021

Akamai Technologies
During Akamai’s most recent earnings call, CEO Tom Leighton said peak traffic on his company’s platform exceeded 100 terabits per second every day in the second quarter. (Akamai Technologies)

Akamai is introducing several new platform capabilities to help brace for 2021 when it expects to see huge concurrent streaming audiences.

Akamai predicts a surge in live streaming will start in late 2020 and continue throughout 2021. During this stretch, the company said the industry could "realistically" see 50 million people concurrently streaming a single live event.

“That's roughly double the largest number of viewers we've seen during a single event in the past,” wrote Alex Balford, senior global product marketing manager for media and entertainment at Akamai Technologies, in a blog post.

With that in mind, Akamai is rolling out new updates to help broadcast and OTT services deal with the influx of streaming viewers.

RELATED: Akamai says peak traffic exceeded 100 Tbps every day in Q2

Akamai is introducing new APIs that it says will simplify the process of provisioning Akamai’s Media Services Live and Adaptive Media Delivery, a live clipping feature for creating and archiving of highlights, along with Instant TV – a feature that lets streaming providers define the beginning of a live program and allows viewers to use Restart TV functionality.

The company said it has also added more low latency live streaming capabilities by supporting LL-HLS, a specification that provides users end to end latency of three seconds or less and backwards compatibility across the Apple video player ecosystem.

Akamai has added new multi-CDN support so customers can use Cloud Wrapper as the central hub for their delivery architectures and maintain shared cacheability, offload levels and cost savings for origin infrastructures. The newest version of Akamai’s Access Revocation says it has added scale to serve larger audience sizes as well as quicker revocation response times, both of which are critical in the case of live sports.

During Akamai’s most recent earnings call, CEO Tom Leighton said peak traffic on his company’s platform exceeded 100 terabits per second every day in the second quarter. In June, Akamai began to see some deceleration in traffic growth. However, COVID-19 has accelerated trends toward online video streaming and cord cutting, and that has helped the company sustain the traffic bump it saw early in the pandemic.

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