Akamai set to stream Olympics coverage across Europe

Content delivery firm Akamai has signed deals with 15 European providers to stream live content and on-demand footage of the London 2012 Olympics

Akamai has signed deals with 15 European broadcasters to stream live footage of the London 2012 Olympic Games across its network.

The company will use its existing content delivery cloud platform to provide both live and on-demand videos for viewers who, in addition to TV coverage of the Olympics, are expected to seek content via their mobiles, tablets, laptops and PCs.

The growing adoption rates of mobile devices mean these Olympic Games could be the most viewed in history, due to the ability to watch them wherever the viewer may be. However, this puts extra pressure on Akamai, which has to provide the best experience for the broadcasters' users.  

“Consumers are much more discerning now, and expect an experience online that matches that of traditional TV,” said a company spokeswoman. “This means the content should be viewable in HD [high definition], free of buffering, viewed in full screen regardless of the device, available across multiple screens, and have interactive features such as the ability to pause a live broadcast.

“There’s much technical wizardry that goes into accomplishing this, which is where Akamai comes in.”

Akamai has an existing network of more than 108,000 servers in 80 countries dependent on more than 1,100 networks. At peak times, this network delivers 8TB of data per second and handles two trillion interactions every day.

This hefty back-end, along with extensive forward planning, should enable the firm to provide a seamless viewing experience, keeping both viewers and the broadcasters happy.

It has also worked with the partner broadcasters over the past year to plan for the number of users and test the technologies enabling the scale and security for viewers to access the content.

“We’ve been working with our broadcast customers to ensure that they are fully prepared – including hardware, software, security and delivery to devices and more – to support the expected one billion online viewers who will want to be able to access the content 100% of the time,” said Stuart Cleary, media product director for Akamai in EMEA.

As of next week, the preparation will be put into practice, and broadcasters, including RTVE in Spain, will be making heavier use of the network than ever before.

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