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2015

A few years ago, StreamingMedia.com posed the question, “Streaming to All Devices: Is It Worth It?” Although the content may be a bit dated, the question remains germane—how should you approach delivery to multiple devices? Should you even worry about delivering to all of them?

 

In today’s hyper-connected world, consumers are getting online more often, through more devices, and staying connected longer! Via phones and tablets and laptops and TVs, users are accessing a surprising amount of content from everywhere. And that trend shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, in Cisco’s mobile data projections, by 2016 mobile devices will consume 140 exabytes annually of which over 70% will be video.

 

In re-reading through the StreamingMedia.com article, it comes to a great conclusion—delivering to all the mobile devices creates a significant amount of complexity (and expense) in a video publishing workflow. When you think of it from that angle, “expense” is a critical concern because you are responsible for your workflow. Your gear. Your software. Your problem. And when the device market continues to fragment (embroiled in what seems like an on-going conflict over video encoding standards) it makes the problem even more daunting.

 

In that case, the question posed by the Streaming Media article makes a lot of sense. There is only so much time in the day to read about new formats, optimize conversion based on best practices, deal with troublesome content encoding, keep your hardware or software up-to-date, etc. You have to remain focused. Get the most “bang for your buck” as they say. And so it seems on the surface that you should focus on the devices with the most impact (i.e., iPads and iPhones). As indicated in the infographic below (an excerpt from a larger graphic developed by Verizon Digital Media Services), Android devices are vastly more fragmented than iOS creating a significant problem for delivering video.

 

verizon_vdms_info_crop2.png

 

But that fragmentation shouldn’t influence your video conversion strategy. Ignoring any part of the Android market, for example, is essentially alienating your potential audience. Because even as devices are fragmented, consumers are more so. According to Conviva’s 2014 Viewer Experience Report, your digital audience is accessing your online video throughout the day using a multitude of devices:

  • 6-10:00AM: Mobile devices – 6.9% of all video streamed daily
  • Noon-4:00PM: PC – 16.3% of all video streamed daily
  • 7-11:00PM: TV – 36.6% of all video streamed daily

 

Android fragmentation is only the tip of the iceberg when you think about all of the other devices to which you can make your online video available.

 

So what ultimately happens if your video isn’t available on the device users are employing? Missed opportunity. But not just for purchasing and ad impressions, for your brand as well. If you consider Facebook’s brand uplift and video advertising impact study, the “miss” is pretty catastrophic with respect to recall and awareness. As indicated in Facebook’s analysis of Nielsen data for online ad video (Figure 1),

 

…people who watched under three seconds of the video ad created up to 47 percent of the total campaign value, and people who watched for fewer than 10 seconds created up to 74 percent, depending on the metric. That means that while lift continued to increase the longer people watched, people didn’t have to watch a whole video to be affected by the ad. Even video views under 10 seconds effectively build awareness and drive purchase intent.

 

neilsen.jpg

(Figure 1)

 

It would seem that every device on which your content is not available is a ding against your brand. Users don’t care about your problems with video conversion. Like children demanding a favorite toy, “they want to watch whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want.” Sure, I am extrapolating Facebook’s analysis to all kinds of video (rather than just video ads). But I feel confident concluding that every time your video isn’t available, your brand suffers in awareness and recall just as much as does your monetization. Think about it. If you are generating ad impressions in your videos or charging users a subscription or even enabling click-through purchases, if you aren’t available on every device, your opportunities for generating revenue from your content are consequently limited. It’s probably safe to say, then, that not being available on every device has a negative impact on your business—from brand to revenue generation.

 

Perhaps the question that StreamingMedia.com posed then should be amended to something like, “Streaming to All Devices: Can You Afford Not To?”

 

So what can you do? It’s just not feasible, in light of the growing number of devices and the fragmentation within those devices, to tackle this problem yourself and focus on your core business at the same time. I’ve talked to countless customers who have expressed that exact concern. They know they can’t afford not to be on all devices but they can’t afford (either in CAPEX or OPEX) to take on the responsibility of getting the content there themselves.

 

That’s where service providers step in.

 

We are at an inflection point in the technology of video delivery. For the first time, there are enough cloud-based resources and software sophistication to enable “publish once, deliver anywhere” functionality. With adequate geographic distribution of those resources, content publishers should be able to get their content to any device without batting an eye. In fact, the onus for transforming content and ensuring it’s delivered falls completely on the service provider.

 

We have seen companies like Encoding.com and Ooyala tout this exact value proposition. But part of the equation of getting content to every device is having the resources to deliver it. Many of these companies partner with CDNs for delivery. Their “publish once, deliver anywhere service” is, for the most part, an “add on.” If the trend for video consumption is truly any device, anywhere in the world then the technologies to transform that content should be intrinsic to the very nature of delivering it.

 

As an example, Limelight has launched publish once, deliver anywhere functionality for both video-on-demand (VOD) and live streaming. But it’s not necessarily something that customers sign-up for as a separate product. It’s an aspect of the core streaming and delivery service (Orchestrate Video and Orchestrate Delivery) that Limelight already offers. Customers publish content to our network for delivery around the globe. Why shouldn’t that content be transformed to the right format when users request it? In that sense, the functionality of “publish once, delivery anywhere” is integrated with the very technology that is used to deliver.

 

So can you afford not to deliver to every device? The simple answer is, “no.” Not only are you missing out on brand uplift, but also purchase opportunities and even other forms of monetization. But should you have to assume the burden of ensuring your content can reach all those devices? As we pass this inflection point, the simple answer is again, “no.” Service providers like Limelight are putting their global compute resources, delivery network, and software to work around the globe so that your content can be automatically available for delivery to any device. For once you’ll be able to reap all the rewards of having your video available on any device (the brand awareness, the monetization, the uplift) without any of the hassle of doing it yourself.

First things first. Grab a towel and, yeah, you guessed it…Don’t Panic!

 

All Douglas Adams humor aside, coming under DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is no laughing matter, even if you have invested in the best security hardware that money can buy in front of your web server. That’s because an attack so close to your origin can have serious implications for the rest of your network as well. A high volume DDoS attack could interfere with other network traffic getting out (i.e., emails) as your bandwidth, routers, and switches all get saturated with tons of “bad” traffic. And don’t go to sleep at night thinking that your CDN is going to solve the problem all by itself either. Sure, a big enough network can absorb some of an attack but it can’t differentiate between good and bad traffic and if the targeted page is dynamic in nature (aka, uncacheable content) all requests are going back to origin anyway.

 

Which is why the potential volume of traffic shouldn’t be the only thing to concern you. DDoS attacks are moving up the stack. Where they were once primarily in Layer 3 and Layer 4 (syn-flood, ping attacks, etc.) they are now moving into Layer 7 in which automated scripts are attacking login pages and other web forms, mimicking real-user behavior and making it a lot harder to detect when an attack is happening. In fact, DDoS attacks are evolving from single, one-off events into sophisticated, persistent campaigns (as evidenced in the Radware video below).

 

Given the growing sophistication (and size) of attacks then, what can you do?

  • Shut down your website—definitely not the answer. This will only delay the attack that may still be targeting a specific page on your origin. When you turn it back on, the attack begins anew!
  • Look at server logs—this is the first place to start addressing your attack. Identify the page or pages that are being requested the most and isolate those them. Remove them if possible. Setup a “Sorry, we are currently experiencing technical difficulties” page.
  • Call your ISP!—if you are hosting your website offsite, call your ISP or datacenter and let them know you are under attack. Although they may already be aware (with a big enough DDoS attack, their links are going to saturate with bad traffic as well), they can potentially quickly address the matter by modifying settings on their routers and switches to drop your traffic (which, unfortunately, means your good traffic as well; but at least the attack will stop so that you have time to figure out the target)
  • Address your network—there are a number of things that you can do fairly early on like rate limit your router to prevent your Web server being overwhelmed, add filters to tell your router to drop packets from obvious sources of attack, and timeout half-open connections more aggressively. Of course, in the face of a larger volumetric attack, these solutions will only buy you a little time.
  • Implement security—what you want to prevent in the future is the attack happening in the first place. That’s why you need a security solution sitting somewhere in front of your origin.

 

Let’s pretend that you are really under attack (while you are reading this blog). I think it’s pretty safe to say that shutting down your website isn’t the answer. So you look through those logs. Yup, page found. It’s your login page (the one with the captcha on it). You can rename the login page and inform users but it’s a pretty safe bet that the attack will happen again. Better yet, you remove the login page and put up a “we are currently experiencing technical difficulties” message to inform users that there’s a problem and that they can't login for a while. Good start.

 

But what you really need is security. And pronto.

 

Is all security created equal, though? Well, according to Dan Rayburn in a post on streamingmediablog.com, the short answer is “no.” DIY security, whether it’s pure CPE (customer premise equipment) or a combination of CPE and cloud, adds significant complexity to your content delivery architecture. As Dan indicates, security purely in the cloud makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons including mitigating the attack further upstream (at the edge of the network), absorption (the CDN is built to absorb lots of requests), and resiliency.

 

And that’s exactly what Limelight Networks DDoS Attack Interceptor, can provide you. Built into the CDN edge, this cloud-based security offers both attack detection and attack mitigation (via direct integration with traffic scrubbing centers) to help address the typical Layer 3 and Layer 4 attacks as well as those newer, sneaky Layer 7 attempts. It’s the CDN on security steroids. What do you get?

  • Attack notification—you don’t have to figure out yourself if you are under attack. Limelight will monitor your traffic through our NOC and notify you if we believe that you are being attacked. With the flip of a switch we can divert your traffic to scrubbing centers returning only the good traffic to your origin.
  • No infrastructure flooding—the biggest issue with handling a DDoS attack yourself is that both good and bad traffic can flood your routers, switches, and pipes potentially competing with other network traffic and causing all sorts of mayhem. But because Limelight’s detection happens at the edge, on our network, we can divert traffic before it ever reaches your origin ensuring that only the good traffic gets to you.
  • Longer lead time—attack mitigation is happening far away from your physical origin meaning there is a lot more time to not only address the attack (after you’ve been alerted that it’s happening) but to do something about it.
  • Traffic scrubbing—when an attack happens, you only need to make a simple DNS change to have your traffic pointed to one of our scrubbing centers where the good requests will be peeled away and delivered back to your origin. Once the attack is over, all you need to do is point your domain back to the CDN. Problem solved.

 

If you are under attack, and under-prepared, you can bet that your site will be down for more than a few minutes. But with our no-panic security solution, we can help you get it back up and running while also providing the peace-of-mind that your site will be protected against future attacks.

Even 5 years ago it would have been impossible to predict the explosion of digital content around gaming.  Nor was it obvious that the industry would embrace gamer involvement not just in creating new game assets, but in directing entire game story lines!  And perhaps an even bigger surprise - entire secondary audiences of people who like to watch gaming would embrace video watching of games without necessarily being gamers themselves.

 

All of which points to a mega trend in gaming - the convergence of video entertainment and game play.  For publishers this convergence is demanding new, more powerful capabilities in cross-platform digital content delivery.  Limelight Orchestrate's release 3.0 steps up to the challenge by providing a single, powerful platform for building and managing the end to end workflows, processes, and activities that organizations need to ensure that their digital experiences are fast, responsive, secure, and always available.

 

Just what’s in this new 3.0 platform that game publishers will like? Lots.  Here’s a quick snapshot of 4 key areas;

  • Network: Limelight’s network looks like a virtual map of the gaming world.  It now covers over 80 locations worldwide and includes the fastest growing gaming markets in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. So your games are delivered faster, farther over one reliable network.
  • Software: See my personal blog post: Game Over for Buggy Game Releases. Cool new cache management software rocks at getting rid of corrupted or buggy game files - virtually instantaneously, no matter how many copies are out there in cache.
  • Management: Orchestrate 3.0 makes interfacing with all the control software at Limelight, as well as uploading and managing thousands of game files, video files, and updates, so easy with a host of well-documented API’s. In gaming, the demands on your digital publishing platform are constantly changing. Orchestrate 3.0 provides the flexibility and ease of use required to adapt as your needs change.
  • Services: A storage solution that actually improves response time for video & media retrieval, but meets your need to upload and store content around the world is not just a promise - it's a reality in Orchestrate 3.0's Storage service.  Streaming video to multiple screen types with single format ingest is part of 3.0's updated and improved Video service.  Both services will significantly enhance publishers' ability to reach gamers with timely content on multiple screens. For more on both of these, watch for my upcoming post on Gaming as a Service.

 

So stay tuned - Orchestrate 3.0 delivers a great video and gaming experience experience for all your gamers!

Before rolling out the red carpet, New York Festivals World's Best TV & Filmsâ„  needed to provide judges with broadcast quality entries that are viewable on any device, anywhere in the world.  To up the ante, the competition honors programming from over 50 countries. Additionally, all content must be delivered securely to the panel of judges.  When NYF’s need for content distribution grew they began working with Limelight Orchestrate Content Delivery, Video, and Cloud Storage services, all of which are integrated within every aspect of NYF’s TV & Film Awards competition platform.  The World’s Best TV & Filmsâ„  2015 winner’s showcase and Gala highlights will also be powered by Limelight Orchestrate, for easy access to broadcast quality award-winning programs and highlights of award winners in the spotlight.

 

Want to learn more?  Read New York Festival’s press release here.

As part of the Orchestrate 3.0 release, Limelight has made some significant updates and improvements to our customer documentation, making it easier for you to get the most out of your Limelight solution.  If you’re a Limelight customer and are not familiar with the Limelight Control customer portal, take a look now at all the new material that can improve your product experience.

 

Just some of the updates and improvements include:

  • New Orchestrate Performance User Guide
  • New DDoS Attack Interceptor Guide
  • New MMD Live Guide                                                               
  • Updated Cloud Storage API Guide
  • Release Notes for all new products
  • Control User Guide, featuring recent Configuration enhancements
  • Updated MediaVault User Guide and HTTP Caching and Purging - Best Practices User Guide

 

 

And stay tuned for even more new and updated material coming in the next months!

The demand for global distribution of media assets is rising rapidly. Opsomai, a leading provider of Media Asset Management platforms based in Paris France, turned to Limelight’s Orchestrate Delivery platform for a solution for their growing business.

 

“We are seeing significant growth in the use of video by our corporate clients for both internal communication, on their Intranet, and external communication through corporate and event websites. With this type of traffic doubling each year, Limelight makes it easy for us to expand our delivery around the globe,” said David Clemenceau, Opsomai founder and CEO. “Limelight’s expertise in streaming media, coupled with their global delivery capabilities, is helping us grow our business.”

 

Read our press release here to learn more.

 

To view a case study on Opsomai click here.

Online digital engagement has become integral to almost every aspect of our lives – from social interactions to business dealings, from learning to entertainment. The way in which we perceive, and interact with, the world increasingly takes place in the digital realm.

 

Yet the rapid evolution of this new digital frontier makes it increasingly difficult for organizations to deliver the kind of online experience audiences have come to expect. Content is more complex as images are increasingly superseded by video, static web pages make way for personalized experiences, and standard definition shifts to high definition (and even to ultra-high definition). There has been an explosion in the number and diversity of devices we use to consume this content and the places we want to consume it. And our increasing reliance on online digital content exposes organizations and online users to greater risk, as daily news reports of cyber crime and hacktivism attest.

 

In the face of all this, the question for organizations becomes how do we deliver rich digital content rapidly, reliably, securely and with high quality of experience (QoE) to global audiences anywhere, on any device?

 

That is precisely the challenge that Limelight Networks empowers organizations to address with our Limelight Orchestrate Platform.

 

Today, Limelight announced the release of Limelight Orchestrate V3.0 – one of the most significant product announcements in the company’s history. V3.0 includes wide-ranging product additions and enhancements that go a long way to enabling better QoE on the digital frontier in which we now live.

 

The Orchestrate V3.0 announcement covers several areas of new and improved functionality:

  • Security. The addition of a new DDoS protection product provides DDoS attack detection and mitigation in the cloud, offloading this burden from organizations delivering content online. The solution protects against the largest and most complex DDoS attacks at high performance, with rapid time to mitigation.
  • Video. V3.0 extends Limelight’s Multi-device Media Delivery (MMD) capabilities to include live video streams and video on-demand, simplifying video streaming to a wide variety of devices.
  • Storage. Limelight Orchestrate Storage, a cloud origin service designed to increase content availability and delivery speed, is already a performance leader. With V3.0, Orchestrate Storage provides even more flexibility when integrating into customer workflows, faster migration of content to the CDN, and improved response times.
  • Management and Control. V3.0 introduces several new capabilities:
    • SmartPurge is a new, near real-time purge capability that also provides feedback through validation and reporting.
    • A self-service capability has been added to the Control management portal so that customers can enter their own configurations in a matter of minutes, with global changes taking effect within 30 minutes.
    • New real-time reports provide up-to-the-minute summaries of traffic, network cache efficiency, status codes showing how the Limelight CDN and customer origin are responding to user requests, and geographical insight as to where traffic is originating.

 

In addition, Limelight has continued to invest heavily in our global network, increasing both reach and capacity, bolstering our place as a leading global CDN.

 

Discover how the Orchestrate Platform and Orchestrate Services can improve content delivery for you. In addition, stay tuned to this blog as we continue to discuss several areas of this announcement in more detail over the coming days!

Burgeoning DDoS attacks are major concern and brand reputation risk according to our new research.  The research shows that nearly half (46 percent) of respondents are most concerned with the impact of DDoS attacks on their delivery of digital content. More than half (54 percent) believe their CDN provider is the best positioned to help them detect and mitigate DDoS attacks.  Read our press release here

 

What’s your primary concern if your business experiences a cyberattack?

Want to learn to play guitar?  Limelight is thrilled to be working with Coach Guitar to help deliver downloadable video tutorials teaching how to play songs on the guitar. Coach Guitar, a Manomaya SAS company based in France, provides millions of customers of any skill level with a unique method of learning to play songs on the guitar through downloaded video tutorials. Established in 2012, they have already had over 2.6 million downloads of their app. The company will use the Orchestrate platform to power more than 3,000 customer downloads every day, enabling fast and reliable delivery of content to a growing global customer base.

 

”We chose Limelight Networks because we believe they have the expertise, the technology, and the team that is best suited to help us improve the way our customers access and experience our content both today and in the future.”

-        Antoine Mercier, Chief Product Officer, Coach Guitar

 

Read our press release here to learn more.