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All Places > In the Limelight Blog > 2015 > October
2015

Today we released detailed insights from our second ‘State of the User Experience’ report which explores key trends in how users engage with digital experiences. Key findings include:

 

  • There has been a dramatic surge in time spent online with Baby Boomers, not Millennials, leading the way.
  • Social networking is rapidly becoming the most popular online activity, beating out reading news.
  • For Millennials, video is the most important aspect of their online experience.
  • Performance is still key to a great web experience, but patience is growing.
  • Consumers want a more personalized Web experience.
  • Consumers expect more performance from the mobile Web.

 

The report is based on a survey that collected data from 1,302 consumers chosen at random located in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Singapore, aged 18-69, who spend more than five hours per week online outside of work. A copy of the press release can be found here and here is a link to the full report.

Limelight is enabling enhanced access security to the Control Portal in the form of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on Oct. 27, 2015. Why the change? Security of our systems and customer accounts is a primary concern to us – and adding 2FA is the next logical step in providing an improved and simple to use solution for customers, as well as to keep up with industry best security practices and customer requests to add this additional security layer.

 

Two-Factor Authentication is a common industry practice used to secure important data.  The technology provides identification of users by means of a combination of two different components. In the case of gaining access to the Limelight Control Portal, the user experience the first time after 2FA is enabled is to be presented with the 2FA Get Started screen:

 

                                                            2FA.png

                   

Limelight has chosen the industry best-in-class tool, Google Authenticator, to enable 2FA on smartphones for this purpose. The steps from this point are to download the app appropriate for your mobile device and add a Limelight account following the instructions in the authenticator app. An easy way to do this is to use the scan the barcode option which will automatically add Limelight. Now you just obtain a security code for Control and enter the token in the security code field, click verify, and the login screen will be displayed. Subsequent logins to Control will be just a matter of entering your username and password and then the six-digit token. This is important because only you have your phone and this code to complete the login process – so this is super secure!

 

In addition to responding to customer requests for additional security, we are adding 2FA in preparation for increased customer self-service, making it critical to ensure only authorized users have access to the Limelight Control portal.

This blog is the fourth in a series describing the use cases and business benefits of the Media and Broadcasting Solution phases. Focused on content playback to any of the devices your audience is using,  the playback phase includes the video player, user authentication, and video analytics.

 

Your live or on-demand video content is delivered to the edge of the CDN ready for your audience to request it. You are well aware of some of the challenges inherent in this final phase of reaching your audience. How do you ensure all the devices receive the proper video format, users are properly authenticated to gain access to content, and you will gather the actionable video analytics required for monetization?

 

Happily, Limelight’s video workflow includes the functionality to address these challenges:

                                                                          playback.png                                                         

The Media and Broadcasters Solution Playback phase includes our off-the-shelf player for RTMP and HTTP playback, enabling fast time-to-audience for your content. The player is customizable so you can apply your branding look and feel. Smart device detection happens with the player, so the CDN edge delivers the proper formatted video. The player also gathers key video analytics with detailed reports to help you understand how content is consumed, so you will know what videos are being viewed, for how long, by how many viewers, and more. We preserve all advertising analytics and integrate with Nielson, Comscore, and Omniture. URL tokenization provides multiple methods of blocking unauthorized access including URL start and expiration time and IP address ranges. To ensure delivery sites are always available, DDoS attack interceptor and Web Application Firewall mitigate attacks at all layers.

 

There are solid business benefits for leveraging a CDN and an integrated player to handle video playback. These include increased audience engagement due to the broadcast quality experience, secured content with protected and available delivery sites, with video analytics for monetization.

 

More details about the Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters are available here.        

Calkins Media Incorporated, a broadcasting, publishing, and digital media company sought to maximize their market penetration and engagement and determine the best use video to help them do so. They chose the Limelight Orchestrate Video platform to deliver their increasing use of video which includes 4K and deliver their expanding Over-the-Top (OTT) subscription service for its five newspaper websites.

 

“We need flexible and easy to use solutions. Limelight’s APIs are the most flexible I’ve seen, and this makes a tremendous difference to us and our business. In addition, it’s the most advanced solution that we’ve seen that also provides us with a user interface that is easy to use.” – Jai Vyas, Director of Digital Innovation and Strategy, Calkins Media

 

For more details on Calkins a copy of a press release can be found here and a case study can be found here.

This blog is the third in a four part series describing the use cases and business benefits of the Media and Broadcasting Solution phases. Focused on delivering content to any of the devices your audience is using, the delivery phase includes device detection, cloud storage at the edge, and global scale security.  The final blog in this series will cover video playback.

 

You’ve created compelling live or on-demand video content, and now it’s time to deliver it to your audience. You are well aware of some of the challenges inherent in trying to reach viewers whose expectations are for broadcast quality video on any device, anywhere, anytime. How do you deal with the multiple streaming methods, meeting performance expectations of not just the video but the whole experience of user’s interaction with your site, audience locations that could be global, and managing your content?

 

Happily, Limelight has a delivery video workflow in our CDN with the throughput, global locations, and functionality to deliver your video at broadcast quality:

                                           M and B arch.png

 

The Media and Broadcasters Solution Delivery phase includes intelligent software at the edge to determine the requesting device type before delivering content, automatically converting video to the correct format for each device. Cloud storage integrated with the edge of the network assures requested videos are delivered from a local site if they are not available in cache. A comprehensive suite of security services are available at global scale, including SSL to secure the content, DRM to protect the content, and URL tokenization for access control. DDoS Attack Interceptor keeps your sites available to users.

 

The most recent functionality added to the solution is SmartPurge. There are times when despite all the planning leading up to video delivery, human mistakes occur, and an incorrect video file is loaded for delivery. When this happens, it can’t be pulled back fast enough. SmartPurge provides an immediate content purge from even globally cached content in real-time – making content globally inaccessible even as it is being deleted from cache, with the scale required for massive purges. A recent test resulted in 65M objects purged in under 5 seconds! Verification of status and history of purges in provided.

 

There are solid business benefits for leveraging a CDN to handle video delivery. These include a broadcast quality experience for the audience, low buffering and failure rates, anytime, anywhere delivery, and near real-time purging.

 

In the final blog on this series, video playback will be covered.

 

More details about the Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters are available here.        

We are honored to have been selected by Streaming Media as part of its Top 100 Companies That Matter Most in Online Video list!  The list is selected by the magazine’s editorial and publishing team.

“Of all the companies delivering technologies and services in the streaming media industry, these are the 100 that our editorial team determined to be the most innovative, influential, and important.”  - Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, Streaming Media editor

Limelight has been named to this list for five consecutive years – every year since the list has been published. Our press release announcing this can be found here.

 

Additionally, earlier this week, Streaming Media published their annual ‘View from the Top.’  This special issue contains insights from our CEO Bob Lento and other executives on the 2015 Streaming Media 100 list.   Here is the link to Bob Lento’s ‘View from the Top.’

With OTT services gaining popularity, Chili S.p.A (“Chili”), one of the largest OTT distributors of movies, TV series and music, based in Italy, needed high quality, reliable global delivery of their content.   To help them achieve this they turned to the Limelight OrchestrateTM (“Orchestrate”) Platform to deliver video content to their 500,000 customers.

 

 

“At Chili, using state of the art technology for our OTT platform is essential to be able to provide a high-quality viewing experience and grow our business. Working with a reliable partner such as Limelight allows us to offer Ultra HD (UHD) content and reach customers wherever they are, both of which are extremely important to us.”

-        Stefano Flamia, chief technology officer at Chili

 

A copy of the press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

A copy of their case study can be found here.

This blog is the second in a four part series describing the use cases and business benefits of the Media and Broadcasting Solution phases. Focused on converting content into all required formats for consumption on TVs, tablets, smartphones, laptops, game consoles and more, subsequent blogs will cover video delivery, and playback.

 

You’ve created compelling live or on-demand video content, and now you want to publish it to your audience. You are well aware of some of the challenges inherent in trying to reach viewers whose expectations are for broadcast quality video on any device, anywhere, anytime. How do I support the growing proliferation of mobile screens and multiple video streaming formats? Sounds like a complex workflow with lots of manual processes will be required to do this.

 

Happily, Limelight has conversion workflow in our CDN with massive computational resources to turn your content into the required formats on the fly, and you don’t need to pre-transcode your content.

                                                                           convert workflow.png

                               

Limelight has a unified video Live and On-demand workflow with multiple bit rate outputs for HLS, HDS, MSS, DASH, HTTP, and RTMP. Let’s take a look at these formats and what devices support them:

 

 

  • HLS.jpg  HLS stands for HTTP Live Streaming and is Apple’s proprietary streaming format based on MPEG2-TS. It’s popular since it provides the only way to deliver advanced streaming to iOS devices. It often mistakenly gets defined as HTML5 streaming, but is not part of HTML5. This is currently the most popular mobile format. It is also supported by all Android devices as well.
  • HDS.jpg   HDS stands for HTTP Dynamic Streaming and is Adobe’s format to deliver fragmented mp4 files (fMP4). HDS allows for adaptive streaming over HTTP to any device that’s compatible with Adobe Flash or Air. Because of the high market penetration that Flash Player has, HDS is a great choice for streaming to desktop computers. However, the Flash Player is not supported by Android and iOS which makes HDS unsuitable for broadcasting to mobile devices.
  • MSS.jpg  MSS stands for Microsoft Smooth Streaming. It is supported by Silverlight, Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and some TV set-top boxes.
  • mpeg dash.pngMPEG DASH is an industry forum effort to create a standard HTTP chunked video format. The situation in that HLS, HDS, and MSS are 80% the same, but 100% incompatible. At this point in time MPEG DASH is gaining strong traction in the OTT VOD space with Netflex, Hulu, YouTube and others using it. Will DASH become the most popular standard someday? Hard to tell at this point. There remains strong support for HLS. If I had to make a prediction, in the long run it seems we may get down to two standards – HLS and DASH.

 

So, given that for the time being support of multiple video formats will be required, the use of cloud-based services such as the Limelight CDN is a great option for handling video conversion. The key workflow components included in the Media and Broadcasters Solution are:

  • Transcoding - On-the-fly conversion from Live or On-demand MP4 into multiple formats including HLS, HDS, MSS, and MPEG-DASH (on-demand only currently). VOD content will start to publish even before the whole file is converted.  

                                                                Transcode formats.png

 

  • DRM – For content security and protection
  • Ads – Integration of ads into VOD and Live feeds. Support for your ad server and linear video ads (pre, post, and mid-roll), VAST 3.0 and VPAID
  • Closed Captioning – Insertion of CC into video streams
  • Cache – Intelligent cache control and content purging

 

There are solid business benefits for leveraging a CDN to handle video distribution. These include a simplified video workflow and cloud infrastructure, zero time to publish your VOD content, and automatic ad insertion and closed captioning.

 

More details about the Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters are available here.