Embracing the Edge of the network
IBC is just around the corner, and on our booth this year (5.H34) we’ll be demo-ing both the technological and something far less tangible. From a tech-perspective, front and centre will be the unique nature of our iMDP (intelligent Media Delivery Platform) which drives the heart of our Video Delivery Network through Smart Synapses: leveraging adaptive AI tools to not only anticipate data traffic across the whole network in order to find the most efficient delivery path, but also move services directly to the Edge – providing a more reactive, flexible, economical, energy efficient and environmentally friendly approach to video delivery. And of course we’ll be showcasing how we’ve deployed that for major streaming operators both in Europe and across the Atlantic.
But what we’ll really be demonstrating at IBC is something much harder to put your finger on. Something you can’t replicate through lines of code, bits and bytes, or wires and transistors. We’ll be showing our mindset.
Mindset is everything. The key to success is taking elements that seem burdensome, and instead recognising the inherent advantages held within them.
As a recent report by Gartner recognises, it can be easy for companies to view the network demands associated with video delivery as a burden; a cost to be minimised, pushed aside, offset or eliminated where possible. But video is far more than a number of pixels making up a moving image: it’s a value asset. Digital media developers increasingly need to offer more to their audiences in relation to the way they access content; be it speed, reliability, quality, content diversity, location-independence, personalisation or interactivity, the way in which media is delivered to end users makes as much difference as the nature of the content contained therein.
And this means that far from a cost and a burden, the way your content delivery system is structured becomes a strategic asset, not an encumbrance. It’s all a matter of change in mindset.
Where’s our mindset?
At MainStreaming, we often say our mindset exists on the (cutting) edge. And by that we mean two things.
Firstly, in a more general sense it speaks to being progressive and forward-thinking in the way we think about technology – pushing the boundaries of how things work. Whilst other CDNs have been dependent on the use of legacy systems to deliver increasingly complex and heavy data loads across global networks, we recognised right from the start the need to rethink things from the ground up, recognising the specific needs of video data and building a flexible delivery network geared directly towards them.
But on a more direct level, our on-the-edge mindset is technological: it’s about embracing the actual Edge – the Edge of the network. We’ve written about what that means on a deeper level here, but in essence, it’s about creating a network structure that moves the hard work out to the ‘last mile’, easing pressure on the network backbone and making for a more responsive, tailored way of delivering video to audiences.
And this on-the-cutting-edge mindset and on-the-technological-edge practice has allowed us to develop a solution that is ahead of the game. Industry reports have recognised the centrality that the Edge will play in technological delivery across almost every sector, citing in some cases estimates that services at the edge will reach nearly $19.3 billion in 2024. But they also recognise that within this growth period, there will be teething problems for both users and providers who are just dipping their first toe in the water (and even bigger problems for those that dive right in blindly). Knowing how to properly utilise the Edge – both strategically and securely – is something that calls for both experience and knowledge: both of which we’ve been able to develop as we have implemented Video Delivery Networks for some of Europe’s biggest live sports streaming services.
A mindset metaphor
We hold the metaphor of a climber. Climbers have immense strength. And certainly, that strength comes right from the core, and is built into every major muscle. But if there isn’t any strength in the hands, the fingers, the wrist – there’s no way to transfer that strength into movement. And even with strong hands, without the knowledge of how to properly navigate a sheer rockface, that physical skill will be useless. You can work out every day for a year in the gym and hone your body to perfection, but it doesn’t mean you can tackle a looming 60 metre wall. Both gym-goer and climber are amazing athletes in peak shape – but only the climber is optimised for the task in hand, in both body and mindset.
Other CDNs – some bigger than MainStreaming – are those gym bunnies, and we certainly admire their muscles. But we’re the climber. And that’s why we’re on top.
A mindset of people above technology
There’s one other aspect of our mindset that’s worth sharing: the prioritisation of people. In a world of screens and keyboards, it can be easy to forget that people always lay at the heart of every technological choice. Technology doesn’t exist for technology’s sake – it’s for the people it services.
This means firstly that we know that the number one priority for our clients is their final audience, serving the human desire which lies at the heart of our engagement with video; emotion, excitement, entertainment and shared experience. So the technologies we deploy on their behalf serve one ultimate purpose; improving that experience – either through raising quality and reliability, reducing OpEx costs, or adding benefits, such as reduced environmental footprint.
And that’s what makes us so excited to be back at IBC this year. We’ve spent too long away from the people that matter to us; our friends, industry peers and customers – both current and potential. We’re keen to talk again with them about what matters: because we’re about connection in more than just the technical sense.