CAMBRIDGE, MA —Akamai Technologies Inc., a high-speed network solutions provider based here, reports that faster download speeds are being achieved in managing more than eight terabytes of monthly traffic on Ecast’s network. In 2006, Ecast Inc. (San Francisco) tapped Akamai to boost delivery speeds of its digital music catalog and rich-media advertising to 10,000-plus digital jukeboxes, eliminating uncertainties about peak bandwidth demands.
Akamai specializes in providing managed online services that power rich media, dynamic transactions and enterprise applications. The company pioneered the content delivery market a decade ago, and numerous companies worldwide have adopted its services as an alternative to centralized Web infrastructure. It maintains a global network of tens of thousands of distributed servers that provide the scale, reliability, insight and performance to handle the online demands of a wide variety of industries.
Ecast’s need to service a variety of audiences with different usage patterns – consumers, advertisers and jukebox operators, as well as its own network operations staff – prompted the move to employ Akamai’s backbone system two years ago. The system enabled a “reliable” push of rich-media content across varying peak usage times.
“Akamai represents another one of Ecast’s competitive advantages,” said Ecast vice-president of products Dave Schmidt. “Our ability to quickly and accurately distribute new releases of software, music catalogs and promotional content, including full-screen video, to all of our 10,000 locations at once is a huge benefit to our customers and partners.”
Explaining the need for increasing the power of its network, Ecast instanced a usage spike that occurred on December 21, 2007, when the San Francisco music provider experienced the highest single-day usage in its history. Happening at a normally busy time of year, the spike also fell on a Friday, which is typically the busiest day for jukebox usage. According to Ecast, one-day music consumption exceeded daily averages by 36%.
“With other providers,” Schmidt noted, “Ecast would have exceeded its bandwidth ceiling and incurred thousands of dollars in overage charges. Even worse, we would have simply failed to meet consumer demand. But with Akamai in place, Ecast was able to effortlessly handle this spike in usage without taking a hit to the checkbook or in anyway impacting the consumer experience.”
Prior to implementing Akamai’s solution, Ecast employed a time- and labor-intensive process to manage peak bandwidth, often requiring five to eight hours to release large content bundles.
According to Akamai vice-president of marketing Brad Rinklin, the media consumption habits of younger audiences are rapidly changing, which has applied increased pressure on advertising and the music industries to reach them in “more engaging and compelling” ways. “The ability to provide a more immersive and interactive experience allows Ecast to continuously drive revenue, engage a captive audience and create a dynamic environment for music enthusiasts,” he said.
Adobe, Audi AG, Clear Channel, Fox Interactive, MySpace, the NBA and Verizon Wireless are among the many clients that use Akamai’s solutions to manage their online media assets. The company claims to deliver between 10% and 20% of all Web traffic and can achieve file transfer speeds of more than 650 gigabits per second at times.