Ericsson is soon set to make its Unified Delivery Network (UDN) an independent operating company, which will further leverage the computerized edge facilities of Tier 1 network service providers around the world to support “the functionalities essential to meeting the requirements of a next-generation OTT video and IoT ecosystem”.
Ericsson announced its UDN initiative two years ago to help make the Internet “the next communications satellite” for the video industry, and has since signed on 84 of the largest network service providers (NSPs), providing it with the global footprint required to allow it to truly compete as a next-gen CDN. In a recent press announcement, Marcus Bergstrom, general manager of Ericsson UDN said, “CDNs as we know them are coming to an end. Implementation of compute at the edge is a total game changer.”
The build-out of mini datacenters at network edge locations has rapidly accelerated over the last couple of years. The datacenters have advanced processing capabilities, which offer NSPs the capability to support multiple functionalities for multiscreen delivery of advanced media services, such as transcoding and just-in-time packaging. They also offer advanced advertising support.
Working in tandem over the last couple of years and also speeding things along, the Open Networking Foundation has been orchestrating an industry-wide collaboration on a more systematic architectural approach to facilitating virtualization of functionalities across the core, edge and deeper points of intelligence. Its offshoots have also been aiding in rapid growth in the area, including CORD, the Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center, which has been facilitating aggregation of residential, enterprise and mobile services onto a solo platform.
Ericsson now wants to tap into the revenue potential that could be realized by taking these computerized edge networks to operate holistically as “a next-gen CDN reaching far beyond the confines of each NSP’s footprint”.
“We see there’s a market for deeply deployed compute capabilities, but trust and incentive is the issue impeding NSPs’ ability to capitalize on that market,” Bergstrom explains. “Right now, NSPs, whether fixed or mobile, invest in network expansion that’s generating revenue for third parties that’s not shared with them.”
“This is an unsustainable, unbalanced value chain,” he continues. “So we need to rethink how to incentivize NSPs. That’s what we’ve done by creating a one-stop shop for content and applications providers that generates a shared revenue pool for NSPs. We’re not selling something when we go to NSPs. We’re giving them an opportunity to share in the value chain, which is why we’re getting a strong buy-in from NSPs all over the world.”
The move into the CDN arena is ultimately aimed not just at the M&E market, but the IoT segment as well. Ericsson’s vision for its UDN is to create a computerized global edge infrastructure that can support all the functionalities in the UDN software stack that are built on open standards and implemented as Kubernetes containers on datacenter hardware. These include analytics, caching, transcoding, just-in-time-packaging support for advanced advertising and personalization of UX.
According to Ericsson documents, the company has developed partnerships with global Internet interconnection and datacenter provider Equinix for co-location in 22 centers across Asia, America and Europe aimed at facilitating interconnections within the UDN NSP group and beyond.
Bergstrom’s recent keynote at the Content Delivery Summit 2018 can be watched here.