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20 October 2020

Cisco and Qwilt offer operators a bigger part in the content value chain

Cisco and Qwilt have collaborated on a new content delivery network (CDN) model that aims to give operators and ISPs an enhanced stake in the content value chain. Built on Open Caching architecture, the offering is deployed at the edge of a service provider’s network and connects to both content publishers and other service providers via open APIs.

The main selling points are network offload, savings and potential monetization for the ISP, while publishers have increased delivery capacity and lower operational costs.

Naturally, Qwilt is branding the project as the future of content delivery, and has said that it has seen a strong indication of market demand, with UK-based BT being its first publicly announced customer.

Qwilt’s Open Edge Cloud is already used by operators such as Verizon and Telecom Italia, and the vendor confirmed that the Open Caching service offering has already been extended to existing customers.

The impetus for this product is the ever-growing capacity demands of CDNs, as content is increasingly delivered in 4K, with 8K not far around the corner. The edge assets of service providers are new territory for content delivery, and therefore provide fresh pastures for the growing herds of video exabytes to graze upon.

The most recent report from Wireless Watch’s sister service, Rethink TV, which foucsed on CDNs and WebRTC, found that video traffic as a percentage of total Internet traffic is set to grow from 69.44% this year to 75.84% in 2025. These percentages and growth rate become even more defined if you zoom into consumer Internet traffic, which Qwilt argues will be 82% of all video traffic by 2022.

Open Caching is an open architecture that has been developed by the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA), of which Qwilt is a founding member, over the past five years. Essentially, it takes the internal content delivery infrastructure from individual service provider networks, and using open APIs, turns it into a global CDN. It means that service providers can easily deploy an edge CDN footprint, and therefore gives them more control over content flows. The service provider maintains control over the operation of the Open Caching service.

Open Caching has two benefits for service providers. Not only do they ease capacity on their networks, but they can become important actors within content delivery. This lowers the cost of using external CDNs, while also creating opportunities for new revenue streams.

Looking at the forecasted revenue growth for both public and private CDNs in the coming years, it’s easy to see how this is an attractive offer for ISPs. Rethink TV found that between 2020 and 2025, public CDN revenues are set grow from just over $2bn to $8.6bn, while private CDN revenues will grow from $6.4bn to $20.8bn.