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Cloud-based Services Unify the Delivery, Workflow and Monetization of Online Video
Akamai® Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leading cloud platform for delivering secure, high-performing user experiences to any device, anywhere, today introduced the new Sola Media Solutions portfolio. A comprehensive set of cloud based, integrated services, Sola Media is designed to offer customers a powerful, yet easy-to-use way to address the challenges of online media workflow, storage and delivery. Sola Media, including newly available transcoding and stream packaging capabilities, will be introduced and demonstrated to attendees at the upcoming IBC 2012 (Stand 7.K36), taking place September 7-11, 2012 in Amsterdam.
According to a recent report, industry analyst firm Gartner, Inc. forecasts, "more than 1 billion connected devices — including smartphones, media tablets and ultrathin notebooks — capable of consuming all forms of media will be in the hands of consumers by 2015." 1 The report further states that, "On the operational side of things, moving aspects of the content creation, distribution and licensing processes into the cloud holds the promise of not just lowering costs, but also removing friction — in the form of fairly manual processes in today's systems — from many of these processes." 2
Meeting the increasing demand for content that is available when and where viewers want it, on a wide variety of devices, and with the highest quality possible can present challenges. Content providers want the cost advantages of efficiency, agility, and flexibility that cloud based solutions offer, while ensuring that the platform they choose has the flexibility to incorporate technologies that address their varying content and audience requirements.
"Success in providing a truly engaging online audience experience is incumbent on several factors coming together seamlessly," explained Mike McGuire, research vice president, Gartner, Inc. "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."
Built on the Akamai Intelligent Platform™, Akamai's Sola Media is designed to provide unmatched scale and reliability to support customers' objectives for their online video initiatives and meet a range of requirements across the entire content lifecycle.
Sola Media consists of the following:
Sola Sphere — At the foundation of the Sola Media Solutions portfolio is Sola Sphere. Building on a decade of innovation, Sola Sphere is designed to provide unmatched scale, reach, performance and reliability in cloud-based storage and content delivery services. Further, Sola Sphere is designed to support a variety of video delivery technologies including progressive media downloading and adaptive bitrate streaming through existing and emerging industry standard protocols – such as MPEG-DASH – to help customers address the challenges of delivering to a variety of player platforms over varying network conditions, all while maintaining a high quality experience.
Sola Vision — Sola Vision is designed to address three critical areas of the online video content lifecycle – the need to adapt content for efficient, engaging online delivery; to protect content at a level appropriate to the application; and to simply and efficiently connect viewers to content providers, operators, advertisers, and other participants in the online media delivery ecosystem. Sola Vision introduces powerful new capabilities in the area of cloud-based transcoding and stream packaging that are expected to simplify the workflow for delivering content across multiple environments. In addition to support for industry initiatives such as TV Everywhere and UltraViolet, Sola Vision is designed to support multiple levels of content protection, from player verification through a variety of studio-grade DRM technologies. Akamai's platform is architected to enable customers to monetize video through advertising and different methods they may pursue. The architecture's flexibility is designed to allow content owners and providers to match content protection levels and monetization strategies to the specific content and target audience.
Sola Media Analytics — The ability to understand how viewers are consuming content and visibility into the overall quality of their experience are paramount to successful engagements. Sola Media Analytics collects both real-time quality and post-event audience engagement information required to better understand viewer behavior and reveal opportunities for improving the viewer experience.
Luna Control Center — Sola Media's capabilities are managed through the Luna Control Center, a unified web user interface that supports all Akamai solutions. Content owners can simply specify the target end devices and desired security levels for a given library of media titles and Sola Vision's integrated expert system is designed to determine the appropriate renditions, bitrate settings, protocols, and dozens of other settings required for optimized viewing and delivery. User interfaces are architected to automatically update as new device types, protocols, and technologies are introduced, intending to make it easy for customers to incrementally adapt their content to embrace these changes in the future.
Content providers that are using the online channel to engage audiences and capture mindshare are already benefitting from the power and flexibility of Akamai’s Sola Media Solutions.
"In the entertainment industry, we believe cloud-based services will power the next wave of devices and services," said David Cook, SVP, sales and marketing, and general manager, Rovi Entertainment Store for Rovi. "Akamai's Sola Media Solutions ability to deliver at a global level has helped to enable Rovi to expand our services to our customers."
Architected for openness and flexibility, Sola Media capabilities may also be accessed through open APIs to allow customers to integrate Sola Media functionality into their existing content workflows. In addition, Sola Media's open platform approach is designed to support the integration of a variety of third-party security/DRM and advertising /monetization technologies and platforms, in order to maximize choice.
Akamai is working with partners within the online video ecosystem to provide the broadest array of choices available to meet customer needs.
"Bringing seamless television experiences across devices is a great market opportunity that requires content providers to tackle major challenges including platform fragmentation, monetization, buffering between content and ads, and understanding who is watching the content," said Jeremy Helfand, vice president, Monetization at Adobe. "Customers can easily deploy Akamai's Sola Media Solutions together with Adobe Project Primetime components such as HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) technology, ad insertion and industry-leading DRM solutions to address several of these important media workflow challenges."
Sola Media Solutions is available now. The latest offerings include cloud-based transcoding for on-demand content and stream packaging which is designed to adapt a single file or live stream on-the-fly for delivery to multiple viewing devices. The portfolio will be highlighted for attendees at IBC 2012 in Amsterdam.
"With Sola Media Solutions, including the cloud-based transcoding and stream packaging capabilities introduced in Sola Vision, we're offering content providers an effective way to address the increasing audience demand for high-quality online video," said Bill Wheaton, senior vice president and general manager, Media Division at Akamai. "Through our industry-leading technologies, and by working closely with our partners in the ecosystem, Akamai is dedicated to providing our customers with solutions to help them succeed in the rapidly evolving world of online video."
Akamai® is the leading cloud platform for helping enterprises provide secure, high-performing user experiences on any device, anywhere. At the core of the Company’s solutions is the Akamai Intelligent Platform™ providing extensive reach, coupled with unmatched reliability, security, visibility and expertise. Akamai removes the complexities of connecting the increasingly mobile world, supporting 24/7 consumer demand, and enabling enterprises to securely leverage the cloud. To learn more about how Akamai is accelerating the pace of innovation in a hyperconnected world, please visit www.akamai.com or blogs.akamai.com, and follow @Akamai on Twitter.
Akamai Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
This release contains information about future expectations, plans and prospects of Akamai's management that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors including, but not limited to, failure of Akamai services to operate as expected or to address intended market needs, a failure of Akamai's network infrastructure, and other factors that are discussed in Akamai's Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and other documents periodically filed with the SEC.
1 Gartner, "A Quick Look at Cloud Computing in Media, 2012," Mike McGuire, April 12, 2012