3 Benefits of Using Content Delivery Network at the Edge

31 October 2019 | Ricky Chau, Vice President, Enterprise, Asia Pacific

The digital future requires a secure, scalable and high-performance network to support application workloads and drive a positive customer experience. Here’s how your digital business can realize these three key benefits with a robust content delivery network (CDN) platform at the edge.

Over the past few years, we have seen the rapid ascendancy of online gaming in Asia Pacific (APAC), amassing an esports audience of more than 98.6 million people. Southeast Asia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing markets for esports, expanding to reach over 31.9 million gaming enthusiasts in 20191.

The esports industry is part of the growth trajectory in Southeast Asia's US$100 billion Internet economy2, with the region’s top gaming companies like Razer and Garena starting to compete with their global counterparts.

With the rise of esports, the demand for network speed and connectivity will rise to unprecedented levels.
 
But operating a successful online gaming network presents unique challenges. Today’s online gaming experience has become more global, interactive and immersive. This puts increased network demands on gaming companies to keep up with customer expectations.

The proliferation of cloud-based gaming platforms such as Google Stadia will further tip the scale in the favor of companies who can best leverage cloud and edge computing capabilities to enable low-latency gaming experiences. China's Tencent looks set to spearhead cloud gaming in Southeast Asia3, for instance, with ambitious plans to enable avid gamers to alternate seamlessly between live streaming and gaming4.         

The same trends are taking shape in the media and entertainment sector. Consumer viewing habits are changing. With the push towards video streaming through platforms such as Netflix, savvy consumers now expect nothing less than immediate access to their favorite content anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Did you know?
The popular online game Fortnite has around 250 million registered players worldwide5, reaching a record concurrent player count of 10.8 million in early 2019.

This year, the entry of new OTT streaming platforms from Disney and Apple will further drive up competition in the region’s fast-growing video market—with online video revenue in APAC expected to increase by 24% in 20196.

Faced with OTT disruption, media companies understand better than other industries on the importance of tapping new technology platforms and adaptive networking solutions to deliver enriched experiences.

Evolution of CDN edge platforms 

With the advent of edge computing bringing cloud capabilities and processing power ever closer to users and devices at the network edge, enterprises can depend on a more resilient platform to mitigate latency issues, while ensuring efficient use of resources.

Consider the advantages that CDNs bring for companies having to deploy additional server resources in market regions where they have a significant customer base. By combining CDN edge compute capabilities with the scalability of cloud infrastructure, enterprises can now scale up their business quickly, without being hampered by the cost and complexity of maintaining data centers in a myriad of locations.

Here are three ways to unlock the capabilities of CDN edge platforms: 

1. Delivering enriched user experiences

In the gaming industry, low latency remains one of the critical factors for enabling an immersive, multi-player gaming experience. Gaming companies simply cannot afford any lag during an online battle. In fact, in 2016, online gamers were twice as likely to abandon a game when they experienced a network delay of 500 additional milliseconds.7

Live video streaming is another integral part of the modern gaming experience. Popular esports tournaments can attract millions of live-streaming audiences. Last year's League of Legends World Championship became the most watched esports event, reaching a peak audience of more than 200 million concurrent viewers8.

A high-performing CDN edge platform can help address these latency demands, enabling gaming content and applications to traverse the minimum distance to reach end users.

With distributed servers located around the world, CDNs are designed to cache media files on a server closest to consumers.
 

Find out how digital businesses are delivering their video, applications and more using CenturyLink’s reliable, secure high-performance network now.

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Broadcasters and OTT players have similarly depended on CDNs to deliver exceptional viewing experiences. Increasingly, they need to cope with higher streaming volumes and unpredictable traffic surges due to live streaming-which can lead to network congestion if the infrastructure requirements are not properly managed.

An innovative approach is to add peer-to-peer (P2P) capabilities to traditional CDN platforms, thereby leveraging viewers as “peers” for video distribution to improve quality of experience.

The P2P CDN model enables user devices to participate in the serving of content through a secure and private mesh delivery. This relieves the pressure that OTT content has placed on carrier networks and enables rapid scalability for streaming live sporting events for OTT delivery.

Gaming and media companies alike cannot afford to overlook the importance of security in delivering an enriched user experience. On top of leveraging CDN edge servers to mitigate volumetric distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the industry’s leading CDN service providers can offer multi-layered security services to combat an array of threats.  

With the acquisition of P2P video delivery innovator Steamroot, CenturyLink© CDN Mesh Delivery combines a global CDN with the resilience and scalability of a distributed mesh architecture to enable high-quality viewing experiences—even within hard-to-reach markets.

2. Future-proofing for the next wave of technology advancements

4K Ultra High-Definition (UHD) content is certainly becoming more pervasive in the media and entertainment sector, with 8K UHD-2 resolution next on the horizon. Looking ahead, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies are poised to transform gaming and video experiences.

The global AR and VR market is forecast to reach USUS$814.7 billion by 20259, growing at a CAGR of 63.01% between 2019 and 2025. Much of this growth will be catalyzed by AR/VR adoption in the gaming and entertainment industry, as evidenced by the phenomenal success of Pokémon Go worldwide.

While gaming and entertainment is the primary focus, the next generation of AR/VR technology holds untapped opportunities for other enterprise use cases such as in retail, healthcare and construction.    

AR and VR applications tend to be bandwidth-intensive and require fast response times. CDN platforms can be tapped to allow for low-latency data processing at the network edge-and to future-proof the network for next-generation AR and VR experiences.

39%
of retailers are using technology like AR to build the digital retail store of the future10

3. Unlocking agility at the network edge in the application economy

Distributed edge computing applications are gaining traction across industries. Gartner predicts that 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created or processed outside a centralized data center or cloud by 2025, up from less than 20% today11.

When decisions need to be made in real time for business-critical applications, enterprises cannot afford to send data back to a centralized cloud.

The distributed infrastructure of CDNs provides a strong foundation for digital businesses to instantaneously process vast amounts of data generated by IoT devices at the edge. An example is how CDNs can enable future autonomous vehicles to rapidly process data gathered from billions of IoT sensors and the cloud to improve traffic safety.

Gaining control at the edge:

With more than 60 PoPs in over 40 locations globally, CenturyLink CDN Edge Compute provides a high-speed, global edge platform.
IoT use cases such as video surveillance and smart control systems benefit from having edge servers located close to the IoT devices. With around 10 billion IoT devices worldwide by 202012, CDN edge platforms will evolve to help enterprises meet the demands of low-latency data processing for a much broader range of IoT applications.

The right CDN platform to move closer to the edge 

As CDNs evolve beyond content caching to become a strategic enabler for enterprises to ramp up their edge capabilities, many digital businesses trust CenturyLink to provide:
 

  • Scalability 
    The extensive reach and reliability of our global IP network, including CDN points of presence (PoPs) in 120 locations, can help you grow your customer base and scale your edge applications rapidly.
  • Security
    Our CDN edge platforms are bundled with security services such as DDoS protection and firewalls to protect your assets and your customers.
  • Performance
    Whether for live event broadcasting or content library management, we provide a broad range of broadcast and CDN Object Storage solutions to support you in delivering an exceptional user experience.

CenturyLink Network Map

Get in touch with our CDN experts to discuss how CenturyLink can help to deliver your content to global customers and achieve your digital business vision. 

1 Fox Sports, Southeast Asia’s Esports Scene will take off in 2019, predicts research firm, Jan 2019
2 Google & Temasek/Bain, e-Conomy SEA 2019 report 
3 Tencent eyes Southeast Asia for cloud gaming platform, Aug 2019
4 China's twitch to publish games, Aug 2019
5 Engadget, Epic Games has 250 million 'Fortnite' players and a lot of plans, Mar 2019  
 Media Partners Asia, Asia Pacific online video opportunity to scale up to USUS$50 billion by 2024, Sep 2019
VentureBeat, How latency is killing online gaming, Apr 2016
8 Wikipedia, League of Legends World Championship 
9 Zion Market Research, Global Augmented and Virtual Reality Market Will Reach USD 814.7 Billion By 2025, Feb 2019
10 451 Research, Retail Enterprise Digital Transformation Strategies
11 Gartner, What Edge Computing Means for Infrastructure and Operations Leaders, Oct 2018
12 IoT Analytics, State of the IoT and short-term outlook 2018, Aug 2018 

 

This blog is provided for informational purposes only and may require additional research and substantiation by the end user. In addition, the information is provided "as is" without any warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied. Use of this information is at the end user's own risk. CenturyLink does not warrant that the information will meet the end user's requirements or that the implementation or usage of this information will result in the desired outcome of the end user.

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