Last week the content delivery industry gathered at the Hilton in NYC for the Content Delivery Summit to learn what’s new in media delivery infrastructure. This one-day conference, developed and chaired by Dan Rayburn, brings together carriers, telcos, ISPs, and premium content owners for a detailed look at the technology and platforms being used to deliver and accelerate web content. 

So what were the hot topics on the minds of attendees? Three key-trends popped out of every presentation, Quality of Experience (QoE), Analytics and Security.

Quality of Experience: As the only communications vendor on the agenda, Ciena’s Glenn Calafati was on trend with his presentation, How the Network is Key to Delivering Quality of Experience. Historically, the industry was focused on quality of service (QoS) but this measurement is no longer valid for today’s user. “QoS is the view from the network.  SLAs may be met but users could still have a poor experience,” he said.  “QoE is delivering service from the user’s perspective. Legacy networks with their lack of control and agility need to be upgraded based on new application requirements that deliver what the user wants.”

Analytics: The focus on QoE means that CDNs are measuring quality, and measurement requires analytics. Having a methodology for understanding data and what is acceptable to the user and the impact of quality on revenue was the second key trend.   The more bits being pushed faster, the more CDNs need analytics to measure and predict how much traffic users will need and the quality of their experience.

Security: Hackers holding Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean for ransom and the WannaCry ransomeware attack were top of mind for this content delivery audience. A vision of Tony Soprano locking Captain Jack Sparrow in the closet came to mind as one speaker after another discussed cyber threats inside the content delivery network. Watching out for cyber hitmen, having a layered defense against bad actors with multiple detection methods and response types was noted as key to avoiding network and application security threats.

Dan Rayburn summed up the day with his observations on web performance, DIY and CDN pricing trends. What stood out to me was his view that media is a commodity service. And, those who accept this and sell an end-to-end ecosystem from ingestion to delivery will be successful for the long term.