IP&TV News talks to Sara Oueslati, Orange’s Content Delivery Product Manager, about Orange’s present and future involvement in OTT and CDNs.
IP&TV News: What distinguishes Orange’s CDN technology?
Sara Oueslati: Orange is running the Akamai Aura Lumen CDN technology, offering the possibility of running CDN and Transparent Caching services over a single platform. Orange CDN strategy is primarily geared towards boosting Orange affiliates’ service profitability (e.g., OTT TV offers) and Enterprise business. Customization and integration requirements reinforce the Group’s decision to go for a licensed CDN technology that is run (except in France and Poland) by a unique operational entity, thus concentrating all required skills and expertise and rationalizing resources and costs.
What are Orange’s ambitions in this area?
Orange international CDN activities primarily aims at promoting CDN technology across the group, as an enabler for enhancing Orange services and fostering revenue growth opportunities (e.g. with local content or cloud services providers). Competing with major CDN providers is not the Group’s priority. Rather, Orange is seeking to establish partnerships with major CDN providers, involving CDN business and technology synergies. As part of this strategy, CDN caches are rolled out in Orange affiliates’ networks and a new wholesale offer was recently launched “Orange Regional Content Delivery” (ORCD), aiming at developing on-net delivery business deals with major CDN providers on Orange’s footprint (32 countries, with a strong presence in Europe and Africa).
Beyond “bulky” video content delivery services, which definitely make sense from a telco perspective, Orange is also seeking to enrich its CDN technology with value added services such as acceleration features, notably for 3G and 4G mobile end-users (Orange has over 180 million mobile subscribers across the world). Options are under study at this juncture.
On the enterprise business segment side, the strategic alliance signed with Akamai in July 2013 perfectly positions OBS (Orange Business Services) for delivering advanced content services to Enterprise customers in France (e.g., web & app acceleration). Yet, it is also our ambition to support such services over the CDN we are running on Orange international footprint.
And what about Orange’s OTT projects in Europe? What were these and how well were they received?
Orange Spain Over-The-Top TV service launched in September 2013 proved a great success! Sales expectations exceeded the target set for end of 2013. More importantly, the service boosted Orange Spain full convergent quadruple-play offer and new subscribers’ acquisition. In Spain, where pay-TV has a strong potential, a key differentiator has been to offer a full featured TV and On-Demand service not only for the big TV screen in homes but also on the whole range of connected devices such as PC, smart phones, tablets (and more to come), making the service available everywhere, at home or on the move.
How has Orange resolved QoS issues relative to OTT content delivery?
Orange operates a tier-1 international backbone, hence QoS issues relative to OTT content delivery are addressed whenever possible through peering agreements with major content providers and other transit peers. With the acquisition of a versatile CDN technology, the group also considered for a while the alternative solution of Transparent Caching for offering a satisfactory and stable QoS to customers. However, with the recently observed rise in https, this option is less and less considered. Instead, OTT traffic (video, software updates, etc) regional delivery business deals with major third-party CDN providers are sought. They imply a simplified form of CDN interconnection, allowing content to be delivered as close as necessary to end users, bypassing thereby IP free peering potential congestion issues.
What further opportunities does Orange see in OTT?
OTT services bring new revenue growth opportunities. For OTT live services such as the one launched by Orange Spain, relying on a CDN, instead of traditional network- adherent technical solutions, has been a pioneering experience within the Group showing the way TV and video services can be more easily delivered in regard to network constraints and device versatility. This success is fuelling many other similar initiatives in European and African Orange affiliates. On the wholesale business segment, OTT traffic termination on behalf of third party CDN providers is seen as another promising opportunity.
Sara Oueslati will appear at this year’s CDN World Summit (collocated with the TV in the Cloud Summit), 1-2 October, 2014, London. For booking and more info go here.