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Client spotlight: 1 Mainstream

At Verizon EdgeCast, we work with companies that are redefining innovation in media, e-commerce, and high tech. In this section, we feature our most forward thinking customers and tell their stories of creating superior user experiences and simplifying the digital future.

Solving the OTT distribution challenge – 1 Mainstream

Content owners know it all too well: consumers want to watch what they want, whenever they want – on the device that is most convenient at that moment. Traditional TV and so-called “appointment viewing” is becoming less important by the day.

It is not surprising that online TV consumption across all devices has seen a 246% year-over-year growth, according to Adobe’s Q1 2014 Benchmark report. What’s notable is that IP-based TV and content delivery seems to be finally catching on in living rooms, too.

OTT access points, such as Apple TV, Roku, and game consoles, are increasing their share of total online video consumption. Again looking at the Adobe Benchmark report, there a two numbers that validate this trend:

  • 123% increase in video starts (largest growth of all devices)
  • 539% share growth in TV Everywhere authenticated video

This trend is set to continue. Last year, a PwC study estimated over-the-top TV streaming revenues at $3.3 billion. Fast-forward to 2018, PwC predicts it to be a $10.1 billion segment — too big to be just an afterthought for media companies.

This promise of triple digit growth is where the challenge for content owners lies. It’s the increasing number of OTT formats and devices that consumers can choose from that will make it ever more difficult -and time-consuming- to reach (and monetize) all of them.

Some of the factors that contribute to this challenge are:

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Broadcasting, reinvented

Visit Verizon Digital Media Services at IBC to see how!

From acquisition to encoding, delivery and playback, Verizon Digital Media Services’ cloud-based Broadcast Solution provides the easiest, most cost-effective way to adaptively stream all of your live, linear, and on demand content.

Verizon is a key component in how we deliver our video in this new world of TV Everywhere – Albert Cheng, E.V.P and Chief Product Officer, Digital Media, Disney/ABC Television group.

Contact us now to schedule a demonstration of our Broadcast Solution at this year’s IBC conference in Amsterdam. Our team will be there to show you how deploying a TV Everywhere solution has never been easier with Verizon’s end-to-end, cloud-based solution.

Stop by our stand in Hall 14, Stand G08, or schedule a meeting today: vdmsinfo@verizon.com

Verizon Digital Media Services will also be hosting a panel discussion on the first day of the exhibition:

IBC Panel:  The TV Everywhere Challenge - Reach Your Audience.

Place: Content Everywhere Hall (Center Stage)

Date: Friday, Sept 12

Time: 4:30 to 5:30 pm

Moderated by Colin Dixon, Founder, nScreen Media

Seats will be limited. Be sure to get there early!

For more information on our Broadcast Solution, please visit: www.uplynk.com/overview.html

Behind the scenes of delivering 5% of the global Internet (including the world’s biggest sporting event)

Earlier this summer, we published a post on the viewing trends that we saw from streaming soccer games from Brazil. The key take-away: mobile viewing was the main driver behind the streaming records set by the tournament.

Reliably delivering millions of streams to hundreds of different devices is not an easy task and requires tedious planning and preparation – especially if those streams lead to exploding traffic on social media networks.

We took a look behind the scenes at our Network Operations Center during this summer’s biggest sporting event to explore how our team prepares for streaming large scale events – while keeping over 5% of the global internet fast and secure:

To learn more about Verizon Digital Media Services’ live streaming solution, please visit www.uplynk.com/linear.html

or read our recent blog post on how we remove complexity from live streaming.

Strategies For Winning Millennials’ Loyalty

Millennials are fiercely brand loyal. 70% say they come back to brands they love. But, getting their attention is harder than ever. A generation whose purchasing power will exceed $200 billion in 2017, Millennials are very specific about who they trust and spend their money with; they do their research first before making purchasing decisions.

For e-commerce and fashion brands this raises the question: ho do you build a relationship that makes them want to come back and trust you?

Investing in a great user experience is a first step. Treating them like red-carpet guests, tastemakers, and experts in the fields of fashion and beauty is a close second. That’s according to Anthony Citrano, VP of communications at Verizon Digital Media Services, who recently presented at the Second Annual WWD Digital Forum London.

Speaking to executives from global fashion brands and retailers, Anthony took a close look at the world of Millennials – and provided strategies on how to turn them into happy shoppers, based on data from Verizon Digital Media Services’ Millennial Study.

Watch the video of Anthony’s presentation to learn about the 10 most important thoughts on Millennials’ world:

Anthony’s slides are available for download on Verizon Digital Media Services’ SlideShare.

To learn more about Verizon Digital Media Services’ e-commerce solution, please visit: www.edgecast.com/solutions/ecommerce/

Product Spotlight: Verizon EdgeCast’s DNS –proven to be the world’s fastest DNS service–

When we launched our DNS service last October, we introduced it as the world’s fastest DNS product.

And what we proved back then with internal testing has now been confirmed by outside third parties. Just last week, SolveDNS published their July 2014 DNS Speed Comparison Report – ranking the Verizon EdgeCast DNS as the #1 “fastest managed DNS service across the world.”

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Graphic by SolveDNS

What’s the secret behind the performance of Verizon EdgeCast’s DNS service? Our massive global IP Anycast network that consists of POPs in most major metros across four continents and low-latency proximity to almost every broadband user in the world.

The Verizon EdgeCast network is vastly over-provisioned relative to traffic volume and capable of large numbers of queries. It is also highly reliable – ensuring resolution of DNS queries 100% of the time.

Paired with superior performance, Verizon EdgeCast’s DNS allows customers to:

  • Manage their DNS zones
  • Verify a server’s capability to fulfill requests through worldwide health checks
  • Load balance application traffic
  • Establish a failover system that prevents interruptions to their web applications and site infrastructure
  • Prevent cache poisoning attacks
  • Mitigate distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on their servers by leveraging Verizon EdgeCast’s distributed DNS network and technologies

For more information on Verizon EdgeCast’s DNS service, please visit: www.edgecast.com/services/route-managed-dns/

For more information on Verizon EdgeCast’s security solutions, please visit:  www.edgecast.com/services/security/

Product Focus: Introduction to Verizon EdgeCast’s WAF

At the beginning of June 2014, we announced the beta launch of our cloud-based Web Application Firewall (WAF), a security product designed to monitor web traffic in order to detect and prevent attacks against web applications.

Our WAF simplifies how customers can block and fend off attackers by offering more controls and tools than other cloud alternatives. Early press and analyst coverage has been positive, such as this piece by Dan Rayburn of Streaming Media, who said “[…] they have a whole lot more rules available in their first version of their WAF product than other vendors do.”

Another critical feature of Verizon EdgeCast’s WAF is the minimized reaction time to attacks. Updates can be pushed out in less than five minutes to all Verizon EdgeCast servers on a worldwide basis – up to 900 percent faster than competitive offerings.

In these three short videos, recorded at Velocity 2014 in Santa Clara, Hayes Kim, Director of Product Management, walks through the key features of our WAF and explains its command-and-control plane:

Simple four step set up

Easy Management 

Real time dashboard and event log

To learn more about the Verizon EdgeCast Security offering, please visit http://www.edgecast.com/services/security/

Client spotlight: Nexmo

At Verizon EdgeCast, we work with companies that are driving innovation in media, ecommerce, and high tech. In this section, we feature our most forward-thinking customers and tell their stories of creating superior user experiences and powering the digital future.

Nexmo: Enabling business critical phone and messaging communication, globally

For online businesses and apps, two-factor authentication has quickly become a critical step along the way to rapid growth. With acquisition costs of up to $10 per user, companies need to make sure that account verification happen quickly and seamlessly; a failed message or phone call usually means losing a potential (or existing) customer.

That’s the challenge Nexmo, a 2014 CNBC Top 50 Disruptor and Gartner Cool Vendor, sets out to solve. Companies such as Snapchat and AirBnB trust Nexmo’s SMS and voice APIs to connect to phones globally to authenticate their users.

In an article about the company, GigaOM outlined the gap that Nexmo is closing for its customers:

There’s a fundamental disconnect between the networks built by telecom operators, which traffic in […] protocols like SS7 and SIP, and the IP-and web-centric world of app developers.

Nexmo’s cloud APIs act as translator between those two worlds - enabling developers, online providers, and enterprises to embed messaging and voice services into their applications.

In most cases, this is a business critical process, one that should happen securely and in near real-time. Verizon EdgeCast allows Nexmo to scale globally while protecting its cloud from potential DDoS attacks, both on the application and network layers.

In this video, Tony Jamous, Nexmo’s founder and CEO, describes his company’s leading cloud technology - and how Verizon EdgeCast helps reduce latency by up to 70% for millions of API calls each day:

Mobile viewing biggest driver behind soccer streaming record, our data shows

Sitting in the living room was certainly one way to watch the 2014 soccer games in Brazil. In the changing media environment, it was just one of many options.
The tournament quickly became the most streamed live sporting event in the U.S., as Americans tuned in to this year’s tournament on their smartphones, tablets and computers in record numbers. 
The question of whether or not streaming big television events is worthwhile is officially over. This summer’s biggest tournament epitomizes the shift in the media business. Live video distribution on web and mobile is an inextricable part of the TV business model. 
Viewers - and advertisers - now have baseline expectations that live TV programming also will be available on multiple devices, in beautiful broadcast quality. 
Looking at our customer base and multiple soccer matches from the tournament, we collected a sample of data to reveal how digital fans in the U.S. chose to tune in to all the action:
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TVTechnology published a great write-up on our findings, stating that 
[…] the majority of that so-called second-screen viewing was mobile, with the iPhone being the dominant mobile viewing device. Android devices pulled in 28 percent of second-screen viewing, while the iPad snagged 11 percent. 
It’s safe to assume that fans on mobile devices will experience connectivity issue at one point or the other - underlining the importance of using bit-rate adaptive streaming technology for live events.
For more information on our Broadcast and Live Streaming solution, please visit www.uplynk.com/

Mobile A/B testing and what retailers can learn from Uber– the latest UI/UX trends in ecommerce

Interview with Randy Osborn of DailyLook

Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed the rise of mobile computing and the early signs of its future significance. Smartphones and tablets represent a rapidly-increasing share of our online activities. Anyone who sells anything on the Internet must design their shopping experiences from a mobile-first perspective. This is especially true in light of research that shows mobile shoppers spend more than desktop shoppers.

To talk about these new design priorities in the ecommerce world, we interviewed Randy Osborn, product management consultant at DailyLook and formerly head of mobile product at JustFab.

Regarding your product and UX, what’s changed, what’s new, what’s exciting? 

I don’t know if this is directly product related, but the ease of A/B testing these days is incredibly important. ‘Always be testing’, I think that’s a huge factor. We use Optimizely at DailyLook, and now they’re starting a new native mobile version. The importance of these SaaS companies that make it easy to go in and test simple things along the way is huge. They make it really easy. 

What kind of mistakes do you think people are still making today? 

People are still porting everything they have on their desktop version to their mobile version. One specific example is form fields. Form fields on desktop are not nearly as big a pain point as on mobile.

Obviously, mobile is huge. It’s going to overtake desktop, and it already has in some markets. If you have 10 form fields that you require people to fill out, you’re going to lose them. Every form field is a chance for people to jump off (which is also true on desktop, but the numbers aren’t nearly as drastic). 

I think a lot of organizations aren’t considering that they need a mobile optimized version of their site. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an app all the time. Product people must take into consideration the viewport, or the medium, that users are consuming through.  We see that all the time. I know it costs money to build a mobile-optimized version, but you’re probably losing a lot more money by not creating a good user experience. 

What have you seen that you think has been done right recently?  

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Removing the complexity from live streaming: how to get your video to your viewers across a diverse range of devices

By Paul Heitlinger, Product Manager, Live Streaming

If you want to stream video to multiple devices today, which format do you use?

One of the biggest problems we hear from companies is how to reliably reach the myriad of connected devices available today - without adding to the cost and complexity of transcoding multiple times and into multiple formats.

The streaming industry today relies on different formats from different vendors to reach different devices. Those prevalent formats include:

  • Apple’s HLS for iOS devices
  • Adobe RTMP and HDS for desktop (with Flash) and Android
  • Microsoft Smooth Streaming for desktop (with Silverlight) players

On top of that, MPEG-DASH and HEVC are looming on the horizon as emerging codecs.

Traditionally, if your viewers use multiple devices such as desktop PCs and Macs, iOS, Android, and CE devices such as Roku and Xbox, you need to transcode in at least two formats.  

With more and more viewers watching video on mobile devices, you’d also have to create between four to seven (we’ve seen requests for ten!) bit rate streams and resolutions to ensure that video can be viewed under all sorts of conditions (and varying connection speeds).

This would require investment in transcoders, licenses, hardware, network capacity (don’t forget you’d duplicate outputs for each format) and associated operational expense in supporting all that hardware and software:

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Then you hoped that everything just worked. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t. The following quote, taken from an article on Pando.com, sums up what unfortunately still happens way too often:

We paid for the […] service, bought the $500 […] box to encode the stream, and proceeded to spend countless hours wrestling with said equipment when everything failed. The stream would crash; the audio would stop working; or a chunk of the program would play in an endless loop. There was a handy comment section, so we could track how pissed off all our viewers were and watch the numbers tick down as people stopped watching.

That shouldn’t be the experience.

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