How changes in the world's web traffic affect your business

This used to be information that could only be seen by our customers but now we have a number of visualisations that are publicly available, and use real time information, to show what is happening on the web: how fast is data moving? Where's the most congestion? What events are causing spikes in web activity?

TRP: Given that Akamai has so many large broadcasting customers, are you able to comment on the growth of live broadcast streaming and how you see this developing in the future?

JD: With every event that we are involved in we see live streaming move forward, not only in terms of quality, or demand from consumers, but in the ways in which broadcasters integrate it into their programming and online presence.

We saw peak event traffic for the Winter Olympics in Sochi reach 3.5 Trillion bits per second (Tbps), during the U.S. vs. Canada Men's Hockey Semifinal. That rate is four times higher than our platform peak during Usain Bolt's 100m dash in the London 2012 Olympics summer games.

The total traffic delivered by the Akamai Intelligent Platform for the Winter Olympics was more than 70% higher than for London 2012.

Second Screen is another great concept that expect to see grow in the future: content streamed to your TV and related content that you can interact with delivered at the same time to the device in your hand.

One of the biggest challenges for broadcasters is going to be 4K, but it is a very demanding task to stream that content to consumers online.

TRP: Following the Winter OIympics, what do you expect to be the next event to attract high numbers of online video traffic?

JD: The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. We keep seeing increasing interest in streaming sporting events to a wide range of devices and expect this event to be another leap forward.

Given the World Cup takes place over the course of a month it is going to be really interesting to see how the traffic patterns change across the group stages.

TRP: We are all using so many different devices these days to connect online. What affect is this having and how real is the 'situational performance problem'?

JD: One case no longer fits all. Previously content would be delivered to a PC screen and it would be optimised for a set screen resolution.

But you can no longer guarantee the device, OS, browser, screen size, connection method or speed. For brand managers the aim is always to deliver a consistent user and brand experience across all channels, but online this has been difficult leading to poor experiences and ultimately lost sales.

The problem can be addressed by solutions that allow a single device agnostic website to be dynamically optimised for every user request based on the device, connection, quality and browser. This helps the IT team and improves conversion rates and delivers and enhanced customer experience.

TRP: Looking back over the last ten years of Akamai, what are the most significant changes to the web that have affected organisations?

JD: In a nutshell cloud computing and ecommerce. If it is implemented correctly, cloud enables the efficiencies necessary to support an agile business, a mobile workforce and a global user base.

There are still concerns about performance and security, but equally, there are significant cost savings and operational efficiencies that are increasingly being recognised by enterprises.

Ecommerce is unrecognisable from ten years ago. It is now an essential tool for commercial businesses of all sizes, anywhere in the world, in order to communicate and sell to customers.

The importance now is that ecommerce has to reflect a company's brand, drive traffic and deliver a good experience. Like cloud computing it will continue to evolve.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.