How to Elevate Customer Experiences with Content Delivery Networks

1 July 2019 | Shane Gledhill, Senior Account Director, Specialized Sales, CenturyLink Asia Pacific 
Consumers today want immediate access to their favorite content and web applications in more places, across a wide variety of devices. Content delivery networks (CDNs) are becoming increasingly pivotal for digital businesses, media companies and network service providers to meet these demands. 
The need for high performance in today's on-demand digital economy is greater than ever. With social and mobile connectivity integrated into their everyday lives, consumers expect instant gratification from their online interactions. Whether to stream videos in the highest possible resolution or completing an online purchase, consumers are now less tolerant of slow and frustrating end-user experiences.
In fact, slow loading and application response time are among the chief reasons for users abandoning a website, resulting in potential loss of business.
 

Empowered by their smartphones, a new generation of “mobile-first” consumers have set the bar even higher for seamless customer experiences. Research data from Google revealed that up to 53% of mobile visits are abandoned if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Across Asia Pacific (APAC), many enterprises are waking up to this rapid shift in consumer attitudes. In a 451 Research survey, 44% of businesses in the region indicated improved customer experience as their priority for digital transformation. Increasingly, these organizations are turning to network solutions such as CDN to keep pace with heightened customer expectations.

How CDNs work

A CDN is a network of servers distributed across multiple geographical locations to facilitate faster content delivery. By caching web content on servers located closer to the end-users — hence reducing the time and distance the content needs to travel to reach them — organizations are able to significantly minimize network latency and improve web performance.  

Capitalizing on the rising tide of OTT traffic 

An emerging trend that is further accelerating the adoption of CDN services is the exponential growth in online video consumption. According to Cisco, online video traffic is expected to quadruple and account for 82% of global IP traffic by 2022. CDNs are widely used by broadcasters and media companies to improve the speed and quality of video content delivery—and address audiences’ demand for a high-quality experience across different devices.

Consider the developments taking shape in APAC, one of the world's fastest-growing and most contested subscription OTT markets. Broadcasters and OTT platforms in APAC compete by amassing large libraries of video content and the latest 4K/Ultra HD programming to attract new subscribers. With audiences having access to more entertainment choices and alternative platforms than ever, issues such as buffering or poor video quality may result in subscriber churn and impact revenue growth.

But managing content libraries and delivering a quality viewing experience to diverse audiences can be a challenge without having the right infrastructure in place. By enabling cached content to be delivered from servers located near their customers, CDN can help media companies to route and manage high network traffic in a more efficient manner.  

Tapping the advantages of CDNs

CDNs are increasingly important for enterprises across different industries to accommodate high-volume internet traffic and improve customer experience. Here are several ways CDN technology can become a significant enabler for enterprises:

  • Increased performance, lower latency 

CDNs are primarily used to store content caches in geographically distributed servers (edge servers) located closer to end-users, to reduce latency and improve web performance. Low-latency networks are especially important for industries such as media and gaming, as real-time data streaming is essential to the user experience.

  • Ability to scale globally

CDNs enable businesses to rapidly extend their enterprise network coverage on a global scale through dedicated points of presence located in the different countries and regions they operate. By working with a CDN provider, this global reach can be achieved without additional infrastructure investment or network maintenance.
With the rise of live event streaming and the propensity for popular content to attract large internet audiences, media companies are adopting CDN services to handle peak traffic demands.
 

  • High availability to cope with traffic surges 

Network operators would be familiar with the sheer increase in live streaming traffic during major sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, Olympics Games or eSports tournaments such as the League of Legends World Championship Finals. CDNs offer load balancing capabilities to distribute traffic across multiple servers and prevent network spikes from compromising web performance.  

  • Enhanced network security

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are on the rise and have become a prime security concern among businesses. Today’s highly sophisticated CDN platforms offer DDoS monitoring and mitigation at both the network and application layers, as well as the ability to absorb DDoS traffic by balancing the additional load across multiple servers. 

  • Mitigating the risks of service outage 

With web content stored on edge servers across multiple locations, end-users can be easily routed to the next available server during instances of network congestion or server failure, hence preventing service disruption. A growing trend is for organizations to pursue a multi-CDN strategy to reap the benefits of redundancy, higher performance and enhanced customer experience, along with reduced operational overhead.  

Fostering CDN partnerships with network service providers

CDN platforms have long provided network service providers with multiple competitive advantages. Besides adapting to changing business demands, they are also able to unlock new revenue streams beyond the limitations of their own network capabilities.

By deploying CDN services as part of their own infrastructure, network service providers are able to improve service delivery for globally distributed customers and mitigate unanticipated traffic spikes. Service providers can further expand their product portfolio by adding CDN-enabled services such as video delivery optimization, content security and network analytics.

Network service providers can further capture untapped revenue opportunities by partnering with a CDN provider to resell CDN services to enterprise customers, without incurring additional capital investment. Here, a reliable CDN partner would be able to offer the unique combination of reach, experience and innovative capabilities needed to empower network service providers in their growth aspirations.
With a global CDN reach with Points of Presence (PoPs) in 120 major markets on six continents, CenturyLink has supported some of the world’s largest media, internet and entertainment companies deliver a seamless customer experience and expand into new markets.

Take the case of Mangomolo, an online video platform for broadcasters and video content providers. The company was looking for a CDN partner with a global footprint that could offer high levels of performance, even when faced with large amounts of traffic.

CenturyLink proved equal to the task, providing a reliable and scalable CDN for Mangomolo's customers to deliver a seamless experience to their end-users. This global CDN footprint is directly connected to CenturyLink’s IP backbone, complemented by a wide range of broadcast and internet video delivery solutions. As the platform grew, CenturyLink further provided support and advice to help Mangomolo cope with more complex technical requirements.

Mangomolo expands its video content platform with the right CDN solution

CenturyLink’s value-added CDN capabilities include: 

  • Our global agreement with Streamroot to offer a peer-to-peer networking platform, leveraging a software-based mesh network to more easily manage peak traffic loads. CenturyLink® CDN Mesh Delivery combines our global CDN with the resilience and scalability of a distributed mesh architecture to optimize the delivery of on-demand and live streaming content.
  • Providing geographically diverse origin storage is critical to achieving great user experiences to global audiences. CenturyLink® CDN Object Storage is a global, scalable CDN origin solution for content providers that demand high-speed transfer, high-availability and security of their content.
Collaborating with the right CDN partner is a critical step for network service providers to successfully expand the global reach of their business and overcome infrastructure limitations. Consult with us today to explore how CenturyLink can deliver the expertise and CDN solutions to take your digital business further. 

This blog is provided for informational purposes only and may require additional research and substantiation by the end user. In addition, the information is provided "as is" without any warranty or condition of any kind, either express or implied. Use of this information is at the end user's own risk. CenturyLink does not warrant that the information will meet the end user's requirements or that the implementation or usage of this information will result in the desired outcome of the end user.

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