CDN World Forum Offers Overview of Latest Content Delivery Propositions

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This was followed by an interesting panel looking, which among other things gave explored the increasing use of social TV technology in the content delivery ecosystem. Jazz and Blues TV gave a salient comment noting that Facebook, Twitter, and other such services were an ideal breeding ground from which to harvest new subscribers. I think this is exactly the right attitude to such services, and while I have reservations about these social technologies' value in their own right, used in this capacity its clear to me that there is great opportunity to use these services to develop existing revenue models.

After the morning break the VP for international markets of Limelight gave an awesome personal commentary on the CDN space, the evolution of the CDN, and the emergence of the cloud, commenting that the CDN was the first cloud, and as Akamai had said the day before, that as byte-shifting had become commiditised, diversification was critical in a controlled and coopetative way. He felt operator CDNs were probably not very interesting, and that actually boutique domestic CDNs have an increasing role to play ensuring content providers can reach domestic / regional markets, but clearly distinguishing them from operators.

With the speaker from Level 3 unable to make the event I asked a friend from a domestic CDN based in my home town called Sharpstream that is focused on Internet radio to present. They gave a solid insight into the value of being a boutique provider, and even got some positive feedback from the Limelight presenter about how small providers can provide a niche service (in this case, "silence detect") that Limelight could provide, but only if there was a certain volume of interest.

After lunch the event opened with a presentation about the technology and business process challenges of keeping up with the device diversification in the consumer domain, from the perspective of the former director of technology of FilmFlex, which manages Virgin Media's VoD platform. This interesting presentation provided an insight into the tension between operators and vendors; if a device is too complex for an operator to support, it is clear that the operator will simply not workflow that platform, and this will impact the success of the vendor's device.

Panasonic gave a brief and colourful outline of their "connected car" strategy, looking at connectivity not only between the car and outside world, but also within the car, and the challenges in media distribution as users both expect content to be available from sources in the car, but also expect content to be available from their own portable sources.

As the day wound up there was an extremely detailed presentation from dotMobi about the evolution of content delivery to devices leading up to the tablet. One of the infographics presented showed that in 2011 mobile and "other" devices made up more than 50% of the personal computing platforms in use, for the first time being a majority over PCs since around 1985.

Overall the event was well-attended and the audience was strongly engaged. I asked the floor about awareness of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) and the potential impact this may have on the ISP and CDN market sectors. Given that there seems to be a lack of awareness of this, I will be following up with an article looking at the .

The most noticeable takeaway for me was that while there were a couple of discussions, the topic of CDN federation was no where near as common or dominant as it had been at the Content Delivery Summit in New York last month. What's not clear is if this is specific to this being a European event or is that because in a month the subject and mood around and of CDN federation has changed.

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