SVG Europe Sit-Down: Steve Miller-Jones from Limelight discusses low latency and piracy issues
As new digital trends emerge — OTT video delivery, daily software and application updates, and cross-platform distribution strategies — Limelight enables companies to do business online with greater speed, reliability and security than before. Limelight’s CDN architecture can uniquely support both small files and the large files that comprise most content today such as video, software and games. Our Sit Down with Steve Miller-Jones, Senior Director of Product Management, started with a look at the task facing CDNs.
What is the biggest challenge that faces companies in your sector?
The challenge for global CDNs is being able to provide the scale needed to deliver today’s mix of software download, website content, IOT data and video content with high performance, for any device, anywhere. Limelight does this with its global private network and integrated services, and is best positioned to deliver the experience our customers and their end users expect.
With internet usage trends all pointing upwards, the challenge is to be able to innovate and deploy new services to continue to provide the right blend of high performance services and meet the growing demands for online and video content consumption and device and IOT deployment and interaction.
Limelight is in the unique position of having global infrastructure in over 80 locations, with over 29tbps of egress capacity directly in our control, to meet this demand.
How do you see OTT services developing over the next twelve months?
We see a continued and growing interest from consumers having access to premium OTT content libraries — and we think that this trend will continue. It seems that this trend is a challenge to traditional, linear broadcast TV programming and so we also see broadcasters continue to invest in their own OTT offerings in order to protect their market share and also use OTT services to compete in new markets.
People who use OTT services are often mobile viewers who consume content while shopping, travelling, or commuting. OTT services will have to be able to deliver high quality experiences on all devices to be successful. Content needs to be easily accessible and optimised across all connected devices and global networks, if it’s to reach the widest possible audience and provide the best experience.
We also see an increasing demand for, and provision of live programming for OTT delivery, as shown by the 2018 Winter Olympics and likely to be seen during the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
What is special about Limelight Orchestrate?
The Limelight Orchestrate Platform is special because of how the services we provide are integrated into our Global Network. Our investment into the network and our focus on software innovation means that we have optimised the Orchestrate Platform services to deliver end users an experience with the fewest video re-buffers, lowest latency, highest throughput, and superior security. In our work with customers around the world, we have seen great improvements in user experience, with re-buffers being reduced by 19 per cent.
The Limelight Orchestrate Platform is helping customers achieve their most important business objectives by improving the quality of experience they deliver to their viewer.
Can you tell us something about the benefits of your integrated Digital Rights Management (DRM) solution to your Video Delivery Services?
Limelight’s MMD OD (Multi-device Media Delivery On-Demand) service simplifies the creation and distribution of video on demand content by automatically transmuxing MP4 files into streaming media formats. The addition of Multi-DRM On the Fly capabilities to MMD OD makes it easier to secure content without worrying about which browser, device, or platform is being used by the end user.
Unlike other approaches that force customers to act as systems integrators and deploy and maintain their own license servers, Limelight’s Multi-DRM On the Fly includes all the server-based licensing, software, and implementation services needed for quick deployment. The combination of licensing, authentication, and video player capabilities makes it easy to use digital rights management to protect valuable online streaming media content without complex integrations or managing multiple vendors. Customers get a complete DRM solution integrated with Limelight’s Content Delivery Network along with full implementation support.
In addition to this, with Limelight’s Multi-DRM On the Fly service, video on-demand content is stored as a single master file and automatically encoded in HLS or MPEG-DASH format with Google Widevine, Microsoft PlayReady or Apple FairPlay DRM encryption as it’s requested by viewers. Other DRM solutions require content to be pre-encrypted and stored in multiple streaming and DRM formats.
By encoding and encrypting content ‘on the fly’ to match each viewer’s specific device requirements, Limelight reduces costs by eliminating the pre-encryption and storage of different DRMs and video formats.
What is your solution for low latency?
Limelight has a number of solutions to address low latency use cases for live streaming. Our MMD Live service includes features that allow customers to implement customised video segment sizes, so that they can reduce the latency of HLS and DASH streams. A typical HLS stream is at least 30 seconds behind real-time, but with MMD Live we can help reduce this to around four seconds.
Limelight’s Video Acceleration options within our Content Delivery Service help customers who manage the creation of HLS and DASH streams themselves, by providing advanced options for acceleration of manifests and caching and delivery of very short, live video chunks. By applying our Video Acceleration options, we have helped customers reduce their live HLS stream latency to less than 4 seconds and help achieve some consistency across devices.
Limelight is also one of the last CDNs to still support Flash or RTMP streaming services within our global infrastructure, enabling customers with embedded flash applications to continue to take advantage of this legacy, low-latency format.
Finally, Limelight is investing in WebRTC as a future protocol for low latency live streaming. We have run Proof of Concept (POC) with number of our customers and are currently developing our scalable solution for low-latency live streaming.
Just how serious is online piracy? Should sports broadcasters and production companies be concerned?
Piracy is serious for anyone with content rights and investment to protect. There are now many options for how content is published, with some owners choosing to release whole series at the same time, to help avoid spoilers through piracy.
Content protection is still a key element of protection against Piracy and Limelight offers many options to protect content in our Content Delivery services and MMD Live, MMD OD and Multi DRM On-the-Fly services.
Applications and infrastructure must also be protected from attempts to compromise them in order for customer data to be accessed and stolen, applications taken offline and content accessed without permission. Limelight’s range of attack detection and prevention options in our DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attack Interceptor services and Limelight WAF (Web Application Firewall) help to secure our customers applications, infrastructure and data.
Do you have a European case study that illustrates the scope of your work?
Arsenal Football Club is one of the leading football clubs in the world. They use Limelight to boost the performance and quality of experience for fans. More than 100 million fans now get great digital experiences anywhere in the world, wherever they are, on any device.
Our CDN also can handle huge spikes in traffic when fans look for match results. Without prior warning, up to 250,000 unique visitors must be served within a small window of time. Partnering with Limelight, Arsenal has been able to create an on and offline sense of community for its global customers and fan base.