IBC 2017

IBC Reflections: Limelight Networks’ Gray and Lebedyev discuss trends in broadcast-quality CDNs

Limelight Networks recently introduced Intelligent Ingest, a capability for Limelight Origin Storage that enables customers upload and deliver content better, faster and more cost-effectively. In addition, the company has launched a permanent no-cost access offering for usage of 25GB of storage capacity.

Andrew Gray, Limelight Networks EMEA Marketing Director, on the stand at IBC2017

Limelight works with major companies that specialise in supplying video streaming services for large teams, leagues and broadcasters, including Arsenal, BBC, BT Sport, Channel 4 and Sky Sports. It recently introduced updates to its Orchestrate platform, which have improved viewer experience by significantly reducing re-buffering events by 10 per cent or more.

At IBC the company also discussed is plans for Digital Rights Management to control copying and sharing content, DVR to record live streams, and solutions for low latency streaming – including new options for its Multi-Device Media Delivery product.

At the show SVG Europe sat down with EMEA Marketing Director Andrew Gray and Maksym Lebedyev, New Business Development for Scandinavia, UK and Netherlands, to talk about trends in CDNs including storage, latency and market drivers.

Andrew Gray: “For it’s all about delivering broadcast quality. At Limelight we focus on our customers and making sure their experience of using a CDN is as positive as possible. I’m not sure necessarily all of our major competitors are doing that, based on the feedback we’re getting from customers and prospects. If we can deliver live and on-demand broadcast quality with scalability and flexibility — that can only be a good thing.

“Low latency is a big story for Limelight, and the storage proposition is very important. We’re not a storage company, but our storage solution is pretty powerful. We’ve actually launched a storage promotion to tie in with IBC, talking about price-matching our customers’ storage capabilities with their alternative vendor suppliers.

“OTT was massive for us last year. It’s still important, of course, but security is coming much more into the conversation. There are a lot of concerns around that – and we think we’ve now got some pretty robust developed service and WAF solutions. It’s not what we’re leading with here, but certainly it’s increasingly important for Limelight going forward.”

Maxsym Lebedyev: “I think low latency is something everyone has been mentioning here. It has always been an issue — and is the purpose of a CDN in the first place – but people are now expecting further optimisation and further improvement in getting video content to the user.

“Our network has been built from day one for large objects like video. We’re the only CDN that owns and manages our backbone. Everybody uses public internet to transfer and connect their points of presence: we actually have fibre connecting our points of presence.

“So, whatever is happening on the internet doesn’t bother us internally because the purpose of the CDN, which is to shrink the middle mile, is something we do really well – especially with video content. We are in control. We can direct traffic whatever way we want. That’s what makes us unique in that sense.

“Another trend we see is in gambling: a lot of our video development is being driven by the gambling companies. Those guys expect extremely low latency, due to the nature of the business. If someone is watching roulette or a horse race or a dog race, it has to happen now. Latency is key. There are some technologies like RTMP that are fading away, and people are now expecting much better performance on HLS. We’ve got some cool stuff coming out in the next quarter, to support our customers with new technology.”

Andrew Gray: “We’re about 50 to 60 people in Europe now, or about 10% of the organisation. There’s roughly 80% in North America, 10% in Europe and the same in Asia-Pacific. Revenue is up in Europe, and the number of opportunities we’re seeing is growing quite considerably. We think the pipeline of opportunities in the broadcast space is quite robust. The demand for CDNs is growing all the time.

“Broadcasters nowadays are keen on dual CDN or even triple CDN, for security and resilience — and Limelight is very happy to play in that space. We’re confident our network will perform as well as, if not better than, our major competitors.”