Will Virtual Reality Disrupt CDN, Streaming, Sports Programming, eCommerce, and Medical Business Models


A couple of weeks ago, an executive told me that CDNs would cease to exist in a few years. I took that as no more Akamai, no Limelight, no CloudFront. This executive is highly accomplished, and has decades of experience working for the leading tech companies. I was floored, and couldn’t respond properly in that moment of time. Did he know something I didn’t? After a couple of weeks of dwelling on that question, I found the answer. And more importantly, I found out that he is probably a Futurist, just like me. A Futurist is a person that consumes vast of amounts of information, puts the dots together, and tries to predict the things likely to occur in the future, with regards to technology.

CDNs will never cease to exist, because CDNs don’t only include the pure-play CDNs, but network operators, mobile operators, cable companies, satellite TV providers, and everyone else involved in the ingest and delivery of content. However, the CDN business model will be turned upside down in seven years or less. The IoT will change the world we live in, by making every device known to man a living and breathing thing. However, the IoT is going to look like a baby compared to Virtual Reality Streaming “VRS”. For now, we’ll bundle virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D, telepresence, and the like into the same group. VRS is likely destroy the current business models in the areas of video streaming, eCommerce, Sports Programming, Medical, and many more industries. With this insight, we must prepare to re-invent ourselves.

The Matrix, Total Recall, and the special effects we’ve seen in many movies is now a reality, as Microsoft works on Halolens,  Facebook on Virtual Reality , Google on Augmented Reality, Samsung on Streaming Virtual Reality, GoPro on Virtual Reality and Drones, and so on. A whole new industry has popped up that is focused on disrupting the status quo, and its mind blogging. How will current business models be impacted?

 Current Business Models vs New

  • Video Streaming (Current): HLS, HDS, Encoding, Transcoding, Repackaging, 4k, 8k, H.264, H.265, Content Exchange, Publishing Points, RTMP, Multiple Renditions, etc.
    • New Model: Virtual Reality Camera ingest a live stream, and delivers it as a light-weight, real time, format-less hologram or VR stream, where the video stream is delivered as a background shadow or light of some sort
  • Sports Programming (Current): In Football, Futbol, Basketball, Tennis, Hockey, World Cup, and Olympic games, the number of seats are limited
    • New Model: With VR Cameras, anyone in the world can be right next to Messi, Maradona, Ronaldo, Tom Brady, Manning, and Lebron in the same spot on the field or court for a small fee
  • eCommerce (Current): Dynamic site acceleration, protocol optimization, SSL, caching, DSA, ADN, PCI Compliance, transactional, and so on
    • New: Put on VR glasses, and shop in a virtual world. Shop at Amazon, try cloths on virtually, buy products without using a mouse.
  • Medical (Current): Go to a doctor’s office and get an X-Ray to find the symptom of pain and discomfort
    • New: Walk into doctors office, doctor puts on VR glasses, which gives him Superman vision, and the ability to see all internal organs, and body functions, from the heart to the brain. Thus, the X-Ray, MRI and all medical device functionality will be in the glasses 
  • Travel (Current): Go to tripadvisor and do research, book trip on expedia, prepare luggage, spend 12 hours going to / from destination, and pay for hotels
    • New: Put on VR glasses, and be transported to any destination in the world, real time, and experience it as you were there, then pay Google or Facebook $10 for the three hour trip
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