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Industry cycles

DomRobinsonSo as summer drifts in, and the conference cycle for me comes to an end for another year, I am minded how over the July and August period each year, over here in the UK at least, tactical efforts in companies are often too difficult to manage around decision makers’ and key participants’ annual leave breaks.

Strategic efforts that span quarters continue unabated, and if anything the lack of focus on short-term project progression means that when folks do focus they are focusing on big picture things more so the strategies accelerate a fraction at this time of year. However, the tactical progression that fuels the strategies can run short and so the strategic aims also stall around the end of July too.

And in September then comes IBC to kick off the year (just as the family gets back to school), and we all return super-charged for another year of new strategies.

So coming back to now, that means we have three months to complete 2017/18 and then about two weeks to resync and decide, once IBC has been and gone, what it is we are going to focus on for the year, only to realise that we now promised a lot of things to folks at IBC and they will all need to be attended too as a priority.

And the focus they drawn will shape the autumn strategy, reactively, for the next few months, not really allowing us to draw breath to properly define any strategy until January (when we all work furiously to catch-up, while pretending to be taking a long winter break).

This last year was quite ‘do’ and everyone seemed busy. However, it was also a bit ‘meh’ in terms of exciting new technology innovation in the streaming space. It was more a period of mass adoption – lucrative but less interesting. For the first time high-street journalists were reporting on cord cutting and OTT entered the common vernacular. It was only three years ago that the term started reaching industry vernacular. And it is still as misappropriated as the term ‘drone’ is. We all get what an OTT Strategy is for a broadcaster. But hardly anyone can tell you why OTT is called OTT.

I'll leave you guessing. But I'll also leave you a clue; it has nothing to do with live, linear, streaming, TV or any of those things…

Looking ahead to the next year, there are some very interesting changes about to happen in the Telco and IT sector. A lot of what has been conceptualized, brainstormed, pontificated, invented and innovated in the past few years has fermented well, and the first corks are about to come out as all the layers line up with their new innovation. 5G will help that. Virtualization will be central. Orchestration will make the difference. And good ideas will come and go faster and faster.

The topic-du-jour, Latency, is something the CDNs are working around within the restraints of their existing infrastructure, but even as they launch a swathe of competing products they haven’t orchestrated for this type of change in their business lines from the outset and so their service velocity is slow.

Smaller players operating in IaaS clouds are already making in-roads on the small, (but valuable) market that really needs reliable low latency (in ITU terms <250ms). In fact the skill to do that is proliferating so fast that pretty soon such cloud models will be run by each publisher / enterprise themselves, directly using the cloud (or in due course the Telco ‘FOG’) of IaaS to do what they need when they want to, and simply pay as they go for all the network and compute capacity they use.

At which point the CDNs may have to add some significant value to maintain their outsourced role of managing that network and compute cost.

That much being fairly evident (to me at least) helps one keep focus when the sun is out and you are thinking about strategy over the summer.


Dom Robinson – Chair of Content Delivery World

Co-Founder, Director and Creative Firestarter @

Virtualised, Orchestrated and Automated Video Workflows

For Carriers, Broadcasters and Enterprise IP Network Operators

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