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On Transitions, CDN Interconnects, and Why You Should Not Miss Scott Puopolo’s Keynote at CDN World Summit

This is my last blog. Well, last blog as a guy focused on the video service provider segment. A few weeks ago, I accepted a role within Cisco to lead our Service Provider Mobility marketing efforts for our rapidly growing mobility business.

Almost immediately upon telling people of my move, the ribbing began: “Challenge junkie!” “You just can’t get enough, can you?” And so on.

I suppose it’s true. I spent the last four years helping to craft a vision and product portfolio for IP video. First, we called it “3rd wave of Video”, knowing we were onto something big.

When we finally got our arms and our engineering resources around it, we gave birth to something magical that we call “Videoscape.” It’s an umbrella term for everything that’s required to successfully transition to IP video – from Media Data Centers, to CDNs, to gateways, and everything in between.

Last week, in fact, we strengthened that portfolio even more with our acquisition of BNI Video – a group of entrenched cable veterans who will significantly augment our ability to provide CDN analytics, as well as session and process management for end points seeking IP video.

So, it’s an exciting time to be transitioning, and I remain fully and enthusiastically committed to those budding realities.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about my colleague Scott Puopolo, who will present at the CDN World Summit in London. In his keynote, Scott will give a detailed look at a first-ever pilot of an open CDN federation trial that British Telecom, KDDI, Orange, SFR and Telecom Italia participated; we anticipate more service providers to join the effort within the coming weeks and months.

Meanwhile, and along the same lines, our own François Le Faucheur took the initiative to volunteer his time and efforts as co-chair of a new IETF working group, the CDN Interconnect (CDNI), to flesh out the critical technology components and direction for federated CDNs. (Well done, Francois!). You can find a recent post by Francois on his IETF standards work here.

Federated CDNs optimized for video are important because of the explosion in IP devices capable of displaying video, and the corresponding tsunami of video traffic flowing into those devices. Service provider CDNs fulfill a unique role in enabling a high QoE for rich media services on a global footprint , but they’ll not go far enough if they’re not interconnected.

This is all about creating a market, and it’s happening. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the critical enabler in all of this -- our Cisco CDS, as part of the Videoscape portfolio, which is comprised of both a business and technology architecture for IP video to flourish. In other words, it’s not just a product play.

This is why you won’t want to miss that keynote. It’s an exciting (understatement) and important milestone in the migration to all-IP, in general, and IP video, in specific. For me, it’s a validation of the work we’ve done for so long to advance the B2B2C promise of Videoscape. Happy trails!

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Why I’m So Jazzed About CDNI

By Francois Le Faucheur, System Architect, Cisco Systems

With the CDN World Summit coming up this week in London (Oct 26-28), it seems a good time to describe something that’s been a working passion of mine: CDNI, where the “I” stands for “Interconnect.”

What’s CDNI? It’s a new working group within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), co-chaired by myself and my colleague Rich Woundy, Senior VP/Software and Applications for Comcast. The working group mission is to develop standards for the interconnection of CDNs run by different operators, so they can inter-operate and collectively provide a multi-footprint CDN — thereby pooling resources that are owned and operated by multiple operators.

It’s all about how to link up the world’s CDNs, so that they can exchange information and work collectively. Just like the Internet was about linking up the world’s IP networks.

Read More »

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RFID: Context Aware and Location – a Brief History & Introduction

March 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm PST

My distant relative - Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger (Royal Air Force) and his DH82A Gipsy Moth - did the forerunner of RFID save him from being shot down?

Some of the best technological advances are made during times of conflict. Sad that it should be so, but the silver lining is that many of the advances are focused on defending, protecting and shielding people. Active RFID, the kind of solution provided by Cisco and AeroScout, in many ways started out that way.

Looking back decades to WWII, radar was already being developed in ernest by the British in the run-up to the second world war. Many countries were developing radar at that time, but most folks agree that Robert Watson Watt, later Sir Robert, was the prime mover-and-shaker.  It took US marketing (in the form of the US Navy) to coin the term RADAR, for radio detection and ranging.

So where does Context Aware Location RFID come in? Well, whilst radar itself was useful, the  British needed to know whether those planes coming over the English Channel were returning Spitfires and allied bombers, or attacking Luftwaffe aircraft. It was the same Watson-Watt that helped produce the ‘Identification friend or foe’ (IFF) system that  used a transponder on the allied aircraft that was ‘excited’ by the radar system and actively sent back a signal to the base saying friend. My own cousin, Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger, Officer Trainer RAF, was grateful for that!

Now fast forward decades to today. The technology for today’s RFID is a little different, but the concept is the same. So let’s keep the aeronautical theme going and talk about Boeing and its use of RFID.      Read More »

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Making Money in Internet Video

If you are a service provider, the title of this blog probably has you shaking your head. SPs know only too well that Internet video is costing them money because of the expense of maintaining an infrastructure capable of delivering high-quality online video. The good news is that there is a way to monetize that demanding video traffic.

In 10 to 15 years, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) estimates that consumers will be watching Internet video as much as 50 percent of their video-watching time. Rather than panicking at the thought of supporting that magnitude of video traffic, SPs should be thinking about how to turn it into profits.

SPs have a strategic advantage over current content delivery network (CDN) providers; traditional CDN services allow content providers to bypass Internet congestion points, but do not allow them to bypass potential congestion points within the SP network that provides Internet access to consumers. CDN services delivered via the SP’s network are delivered by CDN caches placed much closer to the final viewer, reducing the probability of having congestion issues over the delivery path.

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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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