25 October 2016
Akamai's David Habben says content providers must ensure the transmission of their video content is smooth and stable. Photo:
Akamai's David Habben says content providers must ensure the transmission of their video content is smooth and stable. Photo:

Video streaming services to see rising demand, Akamai says

Video streaming services will see rising global demand amid robust growth in the number of online viewers who prefer high-quality videos, according to Akamai Technologies, a cloud service provider.

The surge in online traffic and demand for high-resolution video streaming services has been creating a scale challenge to content providers in recent years, David Habben, chief media strategist for Asia-Pacific and Japan at Akamai Technologies, told EJ Insight in a phone interview.

The big trend is that the size of the audience who tend to watch videos online is growing so fast while many of them demand high-resolution videos such as in 4K resolution, or even 8K resolution, Habben said.

Content providers should ensure that the transmission of their video content is smooth and stable. Some viewers may not come back if they find the pictures problematic, he said.

Akamai, which literally means smart and intelligent in Hawaiian language, has a global network of over 170,000 servers deployed in more than 100 countries. Its servers gather real-time information about traffic, congestion, and trouble spots and transmit the content to end-users.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company’s current customers include, BBC and Apple Inc. 

Global events help boost online traffic and have been creating new opportunities to Akamai over the past few years, Habben said. 

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, about half a billion of people were streaming the games through the internet, he said. The figures doubled to one billion in the 2012 London Olympics, with 5 percent of the viewers using tablets. 

Last year’s Winter Olympics in Russia and the Fifa World Cup in Brazil also helped boost demand for video streaming services, he said. 

A recent study by Facebook showed that video consumption by users of the dominant social networking platform has grown exponentially in Hong Kong thanks to a surge in online posts and growing number of mobile smart-device users.

On average, people in Hong Kong use three connected devices each. The city is also one of the top three countries/regions with average connection speeds above the 15 Mbps “4K readiness” threshold.

This means that overall online video streaming demand for both quantity and quality will continue to surge in Hong Kong.

Apart from the scale challenge, content providers may also find problems when transmitting their videos with a specific format to various devices such as smart watches and game consoles, Habben said, adding that Akamai’s solutions can help resolve these issues.

Akamai is currently operating in China through a partnership with China Telecom. It has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. 

Habben said the company sees a rising potential in second-tier and third-tier cities, where people prefer watching videos through mobile devices. 

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EJ Insight writer

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