Two Transport Takeaways from Telecom Exchange West

March 28, 2014

Posted by Rosemary Cochran
It was snowing in the mile high city of Denver when my flight landed, but the climate was perfect at Telecom Exchange West. I was there earlier this month to moderate the CEO Roundtable, “Burstable Transport: The Challenges and Opportunities“, which featured four industry executives who related their first hand experiences about why transport connections are substantively more than bit pipes. The discussion covered a number of applications, including live broadcasts, streaming video, Internet content delivery, enterprise data transport and cloud connectivity.

Here’s a quick recap of some of the roundtable discussion:

  • Wes Hanemayer, VP Video Services at Hibernia Networks, gave an inside view on the challenges of delivering live Olympic broadcasts from Sochi. He related how an extraordinary level of backup was requested by Canadian broadcasters for the Men’s Ice Hockey gold medal game to ensure that fans would not miss a second of the action between Canada and Sweden. The solution incorporated a Swedish broadcast connection – although ultimately Canada won the game (3-0).
  • Erick Contag, COO of GlobeNet, noted that best practices for transporting live global broadcasts will be fine-tuned based on experiences from the recent Olympics and the previous games in London. Expectations have clearly heightened for viewing live event broadcasts, plus increasingly for on-demand accessibility to related content like streaming video. Erick anticipates that expectations will only get higher for the worldwide broadcasts of the upcoming FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both of which are in Brazil.
  • milehighpicMark Taylor, VP Media & IP Services at Level 3, offered a perspective on how application characteristics dictate the delivery of transport services. Breaking news broadcasts demand near-instant service setup, and the conditions often change quickly as events unfold. Cooperation among transport, broadcast and content providers is essential to making these applications work successfully. In comparison, with the installation of enterprise applications there is more time for a provider to engineer transport services to meet the customer’s specific requirements.
  • Adam Saenger, Vice President of Portfolio Management at tw telecom, described why enterprise transport services will need to be more elastic as companies virtualize their IT applications. Emerging service capabilities for this new environment include the ability for customers to make on-demand adjustments to bandwidth capacity in response to traffic flows, or changes in connectivity to remote data centers or cloud services. Real time network visibility and control are key components for implementing these capabilities.

The two takeaways? First, transport connectivity models are rapidly changing because we want (demand!) access to any type of content – at any time, on any device, and from anywhere in the world. Second, market requirements for flexible, reliable, high performance transport afford abundant opportunities for service innovation.