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Changing the economics of the Internet: BT’s Open Caching CDN hailed as game-changer

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Cisco, Qwilt and Digital Alpha (DA) claim they are disrupting the commercial Content Delivery Network (CDN) market with a new as-a-service offering based on Open Caching, with the UK telco BT as the flagship customer. BT has deployed this solution to add multiple terabytes of capacity and provide cost-effective, high-quality streaming video to meet its growing demand in 2020 and beyond. The solution features Digital Alpha as the investing partner that provides a unique funding solution that underpins a zero CapEx, outcome-based model. Qwilt provides an innovative content delivery platform based on Open Caching. Cisco contributes its edge compute and networking infrastructure to deliver the solution as-a-service to service providers of any size, globally.

BT says its decision to make the transition to Open Caching is based on a number of requirements: the need to deliver the highest-quality streaming experience across its entire network; the opportunity to drive new revenue by becoming an active part of the content delivery value chain; a desire to reduce content delivery costs by deploying CDN capabilities inside its network; a drive to eliminate deployment costs using the innovative CapEx-free model; and the wish to support an open architecture endorsed by the Streaming Video Alliance.

The Streaming Video Alliance developed and endorses Open Caching, a platform that federates content delivery infrastructure deployed deep inside service provider networks into a global CDN with open APIs for content publishers. It is designed to help service providers easily deploy an edge CDN footprint, offering them more control over content flows. It also caters to the needs of global and regional content providers for more capacity, consistency in content delivery and performance assurance. Support for Open Caching is growing, with over 50 global service providers, technology vendors and content publishers actively involved in moving the content delivery industry in this direction.

“Our mission is to ensure our customers have the best experience every time they use us, and with record levels of streaming we needed to disrupt the status quo,” says Neil McRae, Chief Architect, Managing Director for Architecture and Technology Strategy at BT. “Qwilt’s pioneering open caching platform together with Cisco’s cloud infrastructure gives BT the first 5G MEC [Mobile Edge Computing] capability in the UK to deliver premium quality video and on-demand services.”

Jonathan Davidson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mass Scale Infrastructure Group, at Cisco, comments: “Streaming video may be the killer app for the Internet, but it doesn’t have to kill the Internet. With streaming video expected to represent more than 80% of traffic flowing through service provider networks in the coming years, content delivery is the first of potentially many services they can deploy from within to monetize their edge footprint in the 5G era.  Working with Qwilt and Digital Alpha to enable edge cloud services for service providers, we can change the economics of the Internet for the future, partnering with customers like BT to help them manage video traffic more effectively.”

The demands of video on the Internet are steadily increasing, including 4K and eventually 8K, AR and VR. According to Qwilt, DA and Cisco, the resulting performance requirements are  accelerating the shift away from traditional content delivery models, opening up the opportunity for service providers to use their edge assets to deploy their own distributed CDN capabilities and become more active participants in the streaming media delivery value chain.

“The way we consume video has changed, and content delivery must change with it,” says Alon Maor, CEO and Co-founder of Qwilt. “Our shared vision is to help service providers enable Open Caching in their networks and leverage edge computing as a fundamental component of their architecture. Together, we are helping many customers to accelerate their digital transformation and establish a content delivery platform that will serve as a foundation for today’s applications and new experiences coming in the future.”

Explaining his company’s role, Rick Shroti, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Digital Alpha, says: “We are a trusted business partner, actively working with leading technology companies to support their market needs and growth opportunities with unique funding solutions. Our domain background and expertise lets us structure this innovative, outcome-based model to support global service providers deploying their own CDNs with zero capex and limited risk. Working with our partners in conjunction with the leading content providers, we are committed to scaling this platform to service providers globally in the months ahead.”

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