Internet Growth Affects Program Distribution

Widescreen TV with streaming video gallery isolated on white reflective background

It’s clear that the pace of change in media and entertainment is increasing rapidly. Alternate forms of program distribution such as streaming, pay-per-view and OTT have become commonplace. What could be delivered to someone’s home over a 500 kbps pipe is nothing compared to what can be delivered over a 50 Mbps pipe, and 100 Mbps pipes are just around the corner.

Rapid change in the distribution of programming will be explored in today’s Super Session “Cisco Presents — Media in a World of Exponential Technology Disruption.”

Marcia Bana Tonetto, senior marketing manager for service provider video solutions at Cisco Systems, helped organized the session. She said it will feature several panelists who have had an inside look at the exponential growth of the Internet and possess a sense of what is likely to come.

One of the panelists is David Ward, senior vice president, engineering CTO and chief architect at Cisco Systems. Ward is responsible for defining strategy and leading research and development. He is known in the industry for his expertise in IP/MPLS routing, network design and systems software.

“It was not long ago that delivering a video over the Internet to a computer was a major technical marvel,” Ward said. “Now people expect to instantly stream quality video to their devices anywhere, without considering the technology working on their behalf. Engineering teams across the industry have shown incredible ingenuity in creating endto- end solutions, scaling services and the network to support consumer demand for video.”

Delivering a video with SD resolution was hard enough, but nearly everyone at NAB Show has a clear recollection of the transition to HD and is now seeing the rapid growth of 4K production and program delivery.

“4K is pushing the industry forward today to what will be considered the norm for people a short time from now,” Ward said.

What will this mean for data on the Internet? Ward pointed out that globally, consumer video traffic will be 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, up from 64 percent in 2014. Mobile video traffic accounted for 55 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2015.

To handle this gargantuan data demand, manufacturers and service providers are in a constant state of upgrade and improvement.

“In the near future, a number of critical ‘intelligent-network’ capabilities will be progressively integrated in fixed and mobile Internet infrastructures by major service providers in order to propagate and deliver popular content just in time,” Ward said. “This paradigm, which goes beyond the current unicast/multicast approach, will allow the Internet to deliver the most popular live television shows at scale across the globe.”

How can all this data get to individuals? Is there enough bandwidth, fiber and coax to take us to the near future?

“We can expect technology to enable ever more services to mobile devices,” Ward said. “Work is progressing on fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks. Wi-Fi technology continues to improve and become more ubiquitous, with some places starting to offer city-wide Wi-Fi. In addition, new disruptive technologies such as Light Fidelity may offer extraordinarily high connectivity rates to devices.”

As alternative pipelines to viewers grow and carry more entertainment and news, consumers are changing the way they view and interact with programming. Keeping on top of the technology behind the Internet is key to crafting content to fit the medium.

This Super Session will be a unique opportunity to hear industry experts discussing the technology advances on the horizon and their potential impact on the media industry, Ward noted — not just the distribution of content, but also in production, new formats and devices that are expected to drive the next major cycle of media disruption and innovation.