CDNs ability to sense the availability of servers and accordingly divert content, helps online assets to be distributed across diverse regions. The result obtained is minimized latency, enhanced user experience, and hence, customer satisfaction.
Over the years, the journey of content delivery network (CDN) from legacy systems to the cloud has massively improved the efficiency of content delivery and service capabilities of web applications and storage. The global CDN market, estimated at USD 5 billion today, is anticipated to be more than USD 10 billion by 2019. Due to its ability to sense the availability of servers and accordingly divert contents, CDNs help online assets to be distributed across diverse regions. The result obtained is minimized latency, enhanced user experience, and hence, customer satisfaction.
CDNs can offer instant user redirection, they can assure 100 percent server availability even in the event of power failures or when there are any network and hardware issues associated with the system. The popularity gained by CDN over the years is unarguably justified.
However, a primary challenge faced by vendors with respect to CDN solutions is the high prices associated with it. These solutions are available via third-party vendors, who charge more than a nominal fee for the services they offer.
Many content delivery providers claim to offer the fastest delivery speeds, among which some are valid while others being little more than marketing hype. To target the local market, some might find them to be ineffective. Sometimes, hosting services including VPS and dedicated servers are not designed for faster delivery of static content. Still, as CDNs ensure best possible speedy delivery of static content across different geographical areas, their flair of transferring data locally cannot be overlooked.
A key trend followed by larger players of CDNs focuses importantly on two things: enhanced geographical presence and expansion of the customer base. They do it by entering into strategic partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions, which also help them improve broadband infrastructure while offering an increased consumption rate of rich media content. The other new trends and ideas that can be expected in the future with regard to CDNs would be: storage, scalability of dynamic content, deployment of market mechanisms, the mobility of content delivery, and much more.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing that is majorly scalable and adjustable on-demand and already a massive industry. It hosts software, hardware, servers, storage, and other infrastructure components for its clients and allows organizations to reduce IT costs and burdens massively. A large handful of IaaS components are also in the league to beat the latency problem of future CDN solutions.
In the present online environment, CDN vendors are left with just two choices –either keep up with the market competition or take a walk out.
Coping with Changes
Within a past couple of years, CDN has undergone through some series of improvement and changes. There is no such limit when it comes to flexible changes and modern innovations. So, even in the future, users might come across some wide changes and uses through CDN.
As the industry enters the new applications or DevOps-driven world, the developers will drive the next-gen CDN consumption. Dynamic micro services, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) and, of course, performance and security remain paramount.
The growth of video. As the CDNs attempt to deliver overfed pages, the type of content has shifted. The demand for video, live streaming, and dynamic application content continues to grow. Video is expected to grow four times by 2020, Cisco predicts 82 percent of all IP traffic will be video. Video consumption during busy-hour internet traffic is expected to grow nearly fivefold. A dynamic content and bandwidth peak is the new CDN game, away from static cached content.
Mobile consumption increases. By 2020, 30 percent of traffic is expected to come from smartphones. The average load time for mobile sites is much worse — 19 seconds over 3G connections. In a September 2016, The Need for Mobile Speed study, Google observes that 53 percent of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than three seconds to load. The data, based on analysis of more than 10,000 mobile Web domains, suggests that mobile sites that load in five seconds earn up to two times more mobile ad revenue than those which load in 19 seconds. So publishers are motivated to drive for speed.
Viewer experience driving disruption. Although disruption is often couched in terms of cord cutting and the move to digital channels, a host of other large-scale changes in viewing are happening. First, the screen is evolving. In addition to traditional large-screen TVs, audiences are consuming volumes of content on mobile and smaller hand-held screens. Second, the content itself is adapting. Traditional 30- and 60-minute television shows are giving way to new program lengths and formats in recognition of shortening attention spans and viewing windows. Third, the experience is changing. Audiences now binge-watch entire seasons in a compressed timeframe. The amount of video content will continue to explode, and viewers will continue to disrupt how they want to consume it.
Evolving content curation. With a host of new delivery mechanisms, the content delivery ecosystem is increasingly fragmented. As this trend continues, the landscape for content curators undoubtedly will change as well. Content curation of the future might include an extension of the current Pay-TV environment, emerging over-the-top (OTT) providers that expand their platforms and some totally new aggregators. The current platforms could be bypassed in the future by a wider world of personal digital assistants seeking content for people from multiple sources based on their own preferences.
Changing revenue models. With the content delivery ecosystem changing so rapidly, revenue models for content must also change. Low-priced or advertising-based subscription models have the potential to cannibalize historical revenue streams. These heavily subsidized models cannot last forever. Over the long term, audiences may actually see rates rise as existing television channels are re-bundled or merged with online and mobile channels. Even as payment models transform, advertising will need to be completely reinvented to be more targeted, relevant, and complementary to the viewing experience.
Such technological changes are forcing CDNs to improve speed, while dealing with dynamic content. Optimizing traffic routes over diverse network pathways, ISP, 3G, mobile, balancing load, peak demand, and ensuring security is now expected of CDNs. While legacy CDNs are slow to react, several upstarts are tackling traffic optimization, next-gen WAF, and DevOps-friendly CDNs.
The business case for content delivery is a compelling one. The ability to deliver targeted advertising is something that service providers will relish, with the potential for smart TVs or smart boxes with local storage to use inventories that can be dynamically inserted based on user preference, or demographic information such as zip codes. There is a strong awareness of the potential benefits of the combination of broadcast and broadband and the robust interactive functionality between the two.
The challenge for network service providers is that it typically takes time for a new technology to be distributed over their satellite or cable networks. If a service provider sticks to only those means of distributing content, it is difficult for them to be at the leading edge of HDR and other new technologies.
There is also the challenge posed by consumers that are either slow on the uptake of newer technologies, or simply unaware of their potential. It will be crucial in the short term to ensure that consumers who have TVs that work only with SDR video do not get left behind as broadcasters migrate to HDR, an approach which Technicolor has developed to help can create a unified SDR/HDR experience. Awareness is also crucial – many consumers are not aware of what is available over-the-air – but this is an easier case for service providers to solve with education. This aspect of the integrated offering will be seen from the companies rolling this technology out.