Home Computing MainStreaming Q&A – Living on the Edge

MainStreaming Q&A – Living on the Edge

Broadband TV News speaks to MainStreaming CEO Antonio Corrado about how the company is using Edge Computing to deliver live streamed content at scale.

Broadband TV News: How did it all start for MainStreaming?

Antonio Corrado: The idea for MainStreaming came out of my personal experience with streaming issues during a live sports event in the United States back in 2016. The issues prevented me from really feeling the emotions that sport can give you: the strike on goal that comes out of nowhere, or pulling ahead in the final lap of a Formula 1 race.

From that moment, I realised that the end user is at the heart of the entire ecosystem and that the rights holders should guarantee a Quality of Experience. As the streaming issues persisted, we launched MainStreaming. We’re now on a mission to redefine how on demand and live video streaming are delivered at scale, enabling high-performance KPIs.

BTN: What is your Unique Selling Point?

AC: We focus purely on delivering video to the consumer. Our Edge Video Delivery Network goes beyond merely caching content to reduce telco network loads or accelerate content delivery. It addresses and solves a specific challenge: delivering broadcast quality live video streaming at scale.

This is unlike traditional CDNs, which were built to deliver all forms of data. Legacy CDN architecture is not designed for delivering high-quality live video streaming to millions of concurrent viewers simultaneously, nor can it handle the growing demand from consumers who prefer to consume video content via IP.

BTN: How is Edge Computing used in video streaming?

AC: When video streaming began, file downloads from a central video storage location were played from a local device-based file storage system. It’s what became known as Video on Demand. As consumption grew, the delivery infrastructure evolved to create more local caches that could store files closer to consumers and stream them rather than download them.
This has gradually evolved from just delivering files to supporting rich media services. Much of the required functionality can now be achieved through Edge computing with MainStreaming for Media Delivery functions like content watermarking, security, origin shielding, content repackaging, transcoding, encoding and advertising insertion.

BTN: So it’s not just the sports event that gets delivered, but those extra features, like being able to wind back for that major play or getting a piece of targeted advertising?

AC: Edge computing in Media is not just about media delivery. It is about delivering the whole Media Service. So we’re now enabling Media Service Access functions to run at the Edge instead of in the Cloud or on the Device. These functions include features of the core Media Service such as recommendation services, user interface rendering, and artificial intelligence inference offloading.

BTN: Why are streaming providers interested in moving to Edge Computing?

AC: There are several reasons to focus on Edge Computing, that create or protect revenues and that improve operational efficiency.

First, using Edge Computing can improve the quality of new App releases through more realistic, scalable testing that is more representative of the real-world system load from consumers.

Second, moving to a more distributed Edge environment efficiently increases resilience of the many tens of Media Service functions that are currently running in centralised Cloud environments.

Third, the performance of the Media Service can also be improved by reducing the latency between the consumer and where the Media Service function is running, like advertising insertion, taking out those irritating pauses.

BTN: Can Edge Computing provide delivery of content at scale in the way a transmitter on a hill can?

AC: Edge is a key enabler for transferring large TV audiences from satellite, cable, and terrestrial TV networks to IP-based streaming networks. In infrastructure terms, it has a similar concept to traditional broadcasting networks that are able to very efficiently deliver live video to entire populations. The Video Edge is about distributing the point of Media Delivery as widely as possible in order to scale and personalize for very large audiences, but this time we working within the telecoms networks that deliver our broadband and mobile services.

In September 2023, Forrester published a report entitled Product Security At The Four Edges. Forrester described the Provider edge domain as a base platform on which Telcos provide physical connectivity and hosting space for all other forms of Edge Computing. Enterprise, Operations and Engagement edge domains progressively fan out from large enterprises towards consumers. Video streaming is part of the Engagement edge.

BTN: How is the Media Industry adapting to Edge Services?

AC: Leveraging new Edge architectures is supported by new business models that use compute capacity at the Edge during off-peak times and bundle media processing into Media Delivery deals.

The increasing demand for Media Delivery requires the expansion of streaming delivery system capacity, which includes more memory, compute, and storage resources. At the same time, compute consumption for VOD file preparation remains relatively consistent according to the number of unique videos produced, published, and delivered.

The over-supply of compute capacity due to streaming capacity expansion growth creates an opportunity to better utilise the distributed compute capacity at the Edge for the delivery of Media Services.



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