We are at an inflection point. From here on video begins to be the dominant form of Internet traffic. Video represents over half of all consumer Internet traffic today and Cisco predicts that by 2014 91% of all Internet traffic will be some form of online video. More and more of this traffic is out of the browser and into an app, packaged by services such as Netflix, Hulu, Google.TV. The growth of online video has led to the development of content management tools (such as Ensemble Video) for ingest, cataloguing, transcoding and publishing of online video in a variety of forms for browsers, apps, tablets, and players. The infrastructure for delivering online video to users is the ubiquitous Content Delivery Network (CDN), from which there are over 50 to choose. There are also CDN optimization services (such as Namecast) which will send your packets via the optimal (fastest, best, cheapest) CDN at the moment and avoid congested routes. So the download path is very well represented.
Despite the commodization of CDN, there are very few symmetrical solutions for getting large video files uploaded into the network. Protocols like FTP do not work well when there is latency and/or packet loss, so uploading and transporting large files can be very time consuming. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of bandwidth, the protocol can’t use it. This problem is already critical inside content creation organizations (broadcasters, studios, post production houses, game design and animation houses, ad agencies) where file-based workflows are displacing the old ways of doing things at a rapid pace. To make matters worse, in these environments, the content often can not be compressed until the very last stage of the process.
There are several solutions for this content ingest problem, depending upon the exact requirements. Software and appliance solutions can be deployed at the endpoints to replace the FTP protocol with a faster protocol. This allows all of the available bandwidth to be utilized for upload or transport, but requires a capital expense to purchase the endpoint appliances or software. A more elegant approach is to put the acceleration capabilities into the network itself, as Attend has done.
The beauty of this approach is that there is no capital expense, no hardware or software, no license to maintain, AND no change to the workflow. Because the latency between the customer and the nearest Attend point of presence is negligible, FTP works great. Between Attend PoPs (for example Los Angeles to New York or London to LA) the file is transmitted over a private high-speed infrastructure with no packet loss. Thus the file transfer can operate at maximum speed from end to end.
Today, top speeds of 100Megabytes per second are not unheard of. At this speed, the contents of an entire DVD (6 Gigabytes) can be uploaded or transferred in just over 1 minute, a Blu-ray (56 Gigabytes) in about 10 minutes and a full-resolution uncompressed feature (a Terabyte) in under 3 hours. Having special software or appliances on each end of the ingest / transfer can enable real-time streaming of uncompressed HD or 2K content, and file ingest/transfer up to 4-5 times faster, but requires capital equipment and changes to the workflow. The beauty of the Content Ingest Network is that it is available on-demand, to anyone with high-performance Internet access with no up front investment or change to the workflow required. Naturally this approach is not just applicable to video, but to any large file that needs to be uploaded or transported securely, reliably and quickly.