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Service Providers and CDNs: Why Now?

One clear trend, here at the close of 2010, is the rise in importance of Content Distribution Networks, or CDNs, to cable service providers.

Here at Cisco, CDNs are similarly front-of-mind.

In this video, I outline three drivers for the growth of Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) in service provider networks: 

  • To more easily reach video-capable, IP-connectable end points, with more types of video assets
  • To centralize movie and video asset distribution, instead of manually  populating hundreds of distributed video on demand servers
  • To attract new revenue sources, such as wholesale content distribution.

Our ongoing work with British Telecom, for instance, helped them establish an important and new business model: Extending BT’s quality of service (QoS-)enabled CDN to their broadcasting and media partners, within the YouView [Canvas] initiative.

Plus, as service providers prepare competitive video offerings to serve screens beyond the television – an undeniable trend across our customer base – CDNs provide a great mechanism to scale streaming video.

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When that Video Absolutely, Positively Has to Get Through

Let’s face it – dancing cats are cute and apocalyptic visions of the future without IPv6 can be entertaining, but a glitch or two…or a “video not available” won’t violate any service level agreements. But what happens if the FIFA World Cup broadcast goes down? Or the “Auburn-Alabama” football game? Or the amazing live video feed of those copper miners in Chile being rescued? Millions will know immediately, and if it’s a paid event – millions of dollars of advertising or pay-per- revenue could be lost.

As it happened previously with voice, video transport is now moving from TDM to IP and this brings many benefits in terms of flexibility, the potential for application integration, and the opportunity to reach new customers watching on mobile and computing devices. However, this creates a new set of challenges for today’s operators – to not just carry a diverse set of video formats, but also to more endpoints while still ensuring a uniform high quality of experience.

Meeting these challenges will allow service providers and broadcasters to provide premium video experiences to customers.  Cisco is pleased to announce its latest innovations for the video broadcast and distribution market – the Cisco IP NGN Video Optimized Transport solution, the foundation for the next-generation of lossless video delivery. It includes:

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Cisco CLUE Part 2: Home is where the heart (and broadband) are…

Yesterday , we introduced the top-level Cisco Connected Life User Experience (CLUE) Index findings. Today, we’ll focus on the “At Home” or residential services category of our CLUE research.

The At Home portion of the CLUE Index grew 7.56 points, from the baseline 100 index points value (based on 2008 global service adoption data) to 107.56 index (based on 2009 global service adoption data).  “That’s great, you may be saying, but what does this really mean, Webster, besides a fun field trip with index numbers?” you may be asking…and good question.  The bottom line is that for all the attention on the residential market, this segment demonstrated the smallest growth (compared to At Work [+14.17] and On the Move [+19.45]). As global consumers have collectively tightened their belts during the global economic recession, we believe this comparatively modest increase reflects residential consumers’ careful spending of their disposable household incomes. Here’s a graphic summary of residential services global growth:

graphic summary of residential services global growth

We tracked global penetration of the following residential services as part of our CLUE research:

  • Consumer instant messaging: fixed-line instant messaging for consumers
  • Consumer VoIP: including both Internet VoIP (e.g., Skype), and dedicated VoIP subscriptions from a broadband service provider or an independent VoIP service provider (e.g., Vonage)
  • Online gaming: games either downloaded from or played over the Internet, including Internet-connected console gaming
  • Online music:  songs or music tracks downloaded from or streamed over the Internet
  • Online video: video downloaded from or streamed over the Internet
  • Social media: social networking (e.g., Facebook or MySpace) and blogging
  • Next-generation TV: multichannel television including cable TV, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), satellite TV, and paid digital terrestrial TV.
  • Time-delayed TV: personal video recorders (PVRs) or digital video recorders (DVRs) that allow recording of TV content to be viewed at a user’s discretion, using a next-generation TV service
  • VoD: on-demand video programming that is streamed or downloaded through a TV set-top box, using a next-generation TV service

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Cisco IBSG Study – By 2013, Public Cloud Computing Services Revenue Will Reach Nearly US$44 Billion

Cloud computing has raised a lot of questions with service providers (SPs) and enterprises alike. Because the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) is in the business of answering questions, we talked to IT decision makers across several verticals in the United States, the European Union, and India to see what companies are thinking.

We found that cloud is happening faster than most people imagine. Almost everyone we interviewed is in the process of evaluating cloud computing. We estimate that by 2013, public cloud computing services revenue will reach nearly US$44 billion, and more than 12 percent of enterprise workloads will be running in the public cloud. A trend toward convergence of the IT and networking departments will ease this transition.

Companies are not jumping wholesale into a cloudy future – decisions are being made on an application-by-application basis. The factors driving enterprises to the cloud include variable workloads (tax season for financial firms comes to mind), and the ability to quickly set up and get running. Also, some apps just run better in the cloud, such as data entry or process interfaces to partners or suppliers.

Inhibiting cloud are the usual suspects: security, legacy architectures, and sunk costs.

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Announcing the Cisco Connected Life User Experience (CLUE) Index Update

As the winter solstice (December 21) approaches for the northern hemisphere, many of us are experiencing shorter days and longer nights (and that familiar chill in the air). But even in these conditions, anticipation is growing and a sense of excitement is upon us.  Sure, some are focused on the Holiday season…but for us at SP360, we’re focused on…wait for it…wait for it…advanced services adoption.

Today, we’re pleased to release an update to another one of our research platforms – the Cisco Connected Life User Experience (or CLUE) Index. Focused on regional adoption of various network based services through a user’s Connected Life – At Home, At Work, or On the Move, the CLUE Index is an unweighted index, similar to a market capitalization stock index. In our methodology, services with the highest adoption relative to the addressable market have the highest values in the individual category indexes.   This shows us how fast services are growing relative to one another within a region or category, as well as  provides a comparative summary of how global regions rank relative to each other.

Cisco Connected Life User Experience

Last March, we established the baseline CLUE Index value (100 index points) for this research project (based on calendar year 2008 service adoption data from various independent analyst sources). The current report represents the first update to our baseline findings and describes the regional-level and service-level changes based on calendar year 2009 service adoption data. Here’s a summary of some of our top-level findings:

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