Akamai Accelerates Bidz.com, Leading to Significant Impact on Page Response Times and Site Performance
Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leader in powering video, dynamic transactions and enterprise applications online and iStreamPlanet, a leading provider of digital media strategy, services and software applications, today announced they have been selected to work with Microsoft Corp. to provide an integrated, end-to-end solution to deliver live and on-demand video online for NBC during the network's coverage of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, February 12-28. The solution will leverage Microsoft IIS Smooth Streaming to deliver an uninterrupted, high-quality streaming experience to online audiences via Microsoft Silverlight-based media players.
iStreamPlanet will be providing turnkey satellite downlink encoding and production services to the Smooth Streaming for Silverlight format and the video will be delivered to online audiences over the Akamai HD Network. iStreamPlanet will be encoding 23 video feeds including nine venue feeds, four broadcast feeds, one Olympic News Channel, six Beauty Cams, two Victory Ceremonies and one Press Conference. All 23 feeds are originating from Vancouver, British Columbia and transported to iStreamPlanet's Las Vegas Webcast Operations Center over OC12 via IP multicast.
The NBC Olympics online Silverlight player will leverage Akamai HD for Microsoft Silverlight and the Akamai HD Network, Akamai's next generation video delivery offering, to deliver both live and on demand streaming to broadcast-sized audiences with a personalized and interactive online experience and quality designed to match and complements the TV experience. A key feature of Akamai HD for Microsoft Silverlight is adaptive bitrate streaming based on IIS Smooth Streaming, which is architected to enable uninterrupted video playback at HD bitrates that seamlessly adjust to fluctuations in available bandwidth to provide the best quality possible for each user.
“With consumer appetite for online video increasing and quality improving, we expect the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games will prove to be a milestone in innovation and online video,” said Robert Hughes, Executive Vice President of Global Sales, Services and Marketing at Akamai. “Akamai is thrilled to support NBC's innovative coverage of this global event. The Akamai HD Network is designed to let broadcasters enhance television coverage by enabling the highest possible online video experiences, complete with interactivity and at broadcast scale.” "We are honored to be chosen to assist NBC and Microsoft in what we believe will be a historic webcast," said Mio Babic, President and CEO, iStreamPlanet. "Drawing on our vast experience in live events, we have worked closely with Akamai and NBC to put together a solution that we believe will provide a unique experience for viewers of the Vancouver Winter Games."
iStreamPlanet is collaborating with Akamai on the content ingestion and publishing points management architecture to make sure all created content is delivered in the highest possible quality.
"NBC has chosen the best combination of partners in iStreamPlanet and Akamai to enable its online coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics," said Perkins Miller, senior vice president, digital media, NBC Olympics. "iStreamPlanet's automated architecture for downlink and encoding combined with Akamai's HD Network ensure our coverage will be the best possible quality available for our viewers during the Vancouver Winter Games."
The Akamai HD Network offers adaptive bitrate streaming capabilities across playback formats that are specifically optimized to work with Akamai's HD EdgePlatform for the fastest and most consistent video bitrate switching – designed to enable an instant and uninterrupted viewing experience for consumers even at the highest bitrates. Leveraging Akamai's entire HTTP footprint, video over Akamai's HD Network is delivered from servers closer to audiences around the world. As a result, Akamai can more tightly control the amount of time the player needs to buffer before switching streams. The shorter the buffer, the faster the stream can adapt and respond to changing end-user conditions.
"iStreamPlanet and Akamai's partnership will help Microsoft deliver the highest quality online video with IIS Smooth Streaming and Silverlight for NBC's coverage of the Vancouver Winter Games," said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division at Microsoft Corp. "These companies have demonstrated continued commitment to delivering HTTP adaptive streaming and high-definition video across the Web, and Microsoft is looking forward to seeing the benefits this work has to offer for the future of online sports and entertainment events."
To streamline the content acquisition, encoding and live streams provisioning process including failover scenarios, iStreamPlanet has developed a workflow automation service that enables NBC to start and stop acquiring the desired multicast stream, route that stream to the available encoder, provision all publishing points required to run the live event, pass created encoding profile information including server ingest information to the designated encoder, start encoding and notify NBC's scheduling system when the encoding process has started and stopped as well as return live event start times so play-by-play data can be synched with the video and audio.
About NBC Olympics
NBC has broadcast 11 Olympics, the most Olympics broadcast by any network. NBC surpassed ABC's 10 Olympics with the 2008 Beijing Games, the most watched television event in U.S. history with 215 million viewers. The 2010 Vancouver Games mark the sixth of an unprecedented seven consecutive Olympic broadcasts by NBC Sports. The impressive streak began with the 2000 Sydney Games and continues through the 2012 London Games. NBC has broadcast eight of the last 10 Olympic Games, both summer and winter; Vancouver will mark the ninth out of the last 11.
iStreamPlanet® develops and provides digital media strategy, managed webcasting services, and Rich Internet Applications. The company successfully integrates managed services and SaaS-based digital media applications that cover all aspects of a media delivery, enabling enterprises and other content owners to distribute and monetize their digital media across multiple platforms. iStreamPlanet's team of digital media and broadcast experts has managed and enabled the deployment of more than 1,000 large live events viewed online by millions, including the Presidential Inauguration and the Michael Jackson Memorial. The world's top business leaders (American Express, AT&T, Caterpillar, Microsoft), trendiest music festivals (Bonnaroo, Coachella, SXSW), most popular sporting events (Masters Golf Tournament, Championships at Wimbledon, Sunday Night Football) and major broadcasters (CBS Television, Cablevision, Fox International, NBC) rely on iStreamPlanet's digital media solutions. Through its partnership with Smart City, iStreamPlanet also supports over 60 of the largest U.S. convention centers and event facilities. Founded in 2000, the privately held company is headquartered in Las Vegas with offices in Orlando, Florida; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Washington, D.C. More information is available by calling 702-492-5900 or visiting http://www.istreamplanet.com.
The Akamai Difference
Akamai® provides market-leading managed services for powering rich media, dynamic transactions, and enterprise applications online. Having pioneered the content delivery market one decade ago, Akamai's services have been adopted by the world's most recognized brands across diverse industries. The alternative to centralized Web infrastructure, Akamai's global network of tens of thousands of distributed servers provides the scale, reliability, insight and performance for businesses to succeed online. Akamai has transformed the Internet into a more viable place to inform, entertain, interact, and collaborate. To experience The Akamai Difference, visit www.akamai.com.
Akamai Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
The 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, the effects of any attempts to intentionally disrupt our services or network by hackers or others, failure to have available sufficient transmission capacity, changes in Akamai's relationship with Tetris, a failure of Akamai's network infrastructure, and other factors that are discussed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and other documents periodically filed with the SEC.