Akamai Launches Open Video Player for HTML5 Toolkit

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-06-10
 
 
 

Akamai, a provider of cloud-based services for optimizing Web and mobile content and applications, online HD video, and secure e-commerce, has released a new Open Video Player for HTML5 developer toolkit to simplify the task of creating flexible HTML5-based video player applications for delivery of HTTP content.

Akamai officials said the goal of the Open Video Player for HTML5  <video> is to provide a foundation to allow customers to quickly implement solutions for cross platform/device/format video applications, providing their users with a consistent experience through Akamai's rich media management, delivery and measurement solutions.

The new Akamai Open Video Player for HTML5 <video> toolkit is available to the public and developer communities at: http://openvideoplayer.sourceforge.net/html5video. Akamai announced the new toolkit on June 10.

The Akamai Open Video Player for HTML5 <video> provides a code library supporting industry best practices and standards such as CSS, JavaScript, HTML/HTML5 and Yahoo! Media RSS 2.0.  As a result, users can reduce the time it takes to create HTML5 <video> based experiences to support Apple iPhone OS Devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and other browsers and devices supporting HTML5 <video>.  Simple implementation focused on strategies for fallback or fall-between HTML5 and other plug-in based runtimes.

This toolkit offers a flexible "strategy" approach to maintain the current video experience, while adding support for browsers and devices that support HTML5.  Developers will also have the option to build an entire video experience using the HTML5 <video> tag, CSS or JavaScript, and have the Framework manage the cross browser/device/format issues by dynamically choosing the right video playback engine (Native HTML5, Adobe Flash, etc). The Open Video Player for HTML5  <video> currently supports HTTP delivery to all major browsers and devices, and also includes support for HD for iPhone, part of Akamai's HD Network, for delivery to Mobile Safari on Apple iPhone OS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and Apple Safari 4.0 on OSX Snow Leopard (10.6).

In a statement describing why this toolkit is important to the industry, an Akamai spokeswoman said:

"The iPhone is unique because it has rapidly become ubiquitous and the iPad is quickly following, with more than 2 million devices already sold. Akamai is working with many of our content owner and broadcasting customers on mobile delivery models. They are finding that when offering live or on-demand content they can quickly expand their available viewership by tens of thousands of global viewers by efficiently and seamlessly developing video experiences designed for these devices. With adaptive bit rate video technology that automatically adjust video quality levels based on a user's connection speed (wifi, 3G, Edge) consistent security and analytics - all part of Akamai's HD Network - content owners can deliver the  highest possible quality video experiences - even 24x7 TV channels - on the portable devices. This toolkit will make it easier for them to create these experiences for the iPad and iPhone and better service their audiences through a portable, 'best possible screen' viewing approach."

The Open Video Player for HTML5 news comes on the same day that Akamai announced its acquisition of all of the assets of Velocitude, a mobile services platform. The acquisition is expected to further Akamai's strategic position in the mobile market - adding mobile content transformation functionality to Akamai's existing line of products and services.

Akamai officials explained that today the majority of Websites are not configured for optimal viewing when accessed by a mobile device, resulting in poor mobile usability. Mobile end users often experience a site that is difficult to navigate, lacking robust functionality that end users have come to expect when accessing the same site on a personal computer. As a result, many companies either support an entirely separate infrastructure for their mobile sites or chase away customers by presenting sub-optimal mobile Web experiences.

By offering a new generation of mobile services, Akamai plans to extend the functionality of its global network by helping enterprises address the complexity of delivering Websites and applications to a broad range of Internet-connected devices, starting with mobile phones. Combining Velocitude's mobile content transformation technology with Akamai's existing ability to optimize the performance of mobile delivery, Akamai is focused on helping enterprises effectively reach their customers, partners and employees on mobile phones in addition to personal computers.

With analysts predicting that the number of global Internet mobile users will surpass global desktop Internet users in the next five years, available market data is forecasting that mobile commerce is expected to grow to $24 billion by 2015. By adding Velocitude's mobile platform to its product portfolio, Akamai plans to deliver content to today's leading mobile phones without requiring the creation of separate Websites or infrastructure dedicated to mobile content.

"To capitalize on the rapidly changing and growing demands of mobile Internet users, enterprises must overcome some specific challenges to ensure both a highly-performing mobile site and a high-quality end user experience," said Paul Sagan, president and CEO of Akamai, in a statement. "We believe Velocitude has developed a powerful set of solutions to enable optimal mobile Internet experiences across a multitude of different devices. By integrating Velocitude into our global network, we will be able to offer customers a way to leverage Akamai cloud-based services for mobile performance, as well as to translate Web sites into specific device-optimized experiences. Our goal is to offer the most capable mobile delivery solution available anywhere that combines the convenience of mobile while offering readability and fast response times."

"Our unique software-as-a-service mobile platform has transformed PC-oriented Websites into viewable mobile sites for some of today's largest retailers and brand-name businesses," said Adam House, founder of Velocitude, also in a statement. "Unlike desktop Web browsing, where you can take time to search through a complex site, the average mobile user is looking to find a limited amount of information quickly. Convenience and speed, rather than breadth of content, define the experience demands of the mobile user. Joining forces with Akamai is a big win for customers, who are increasingly looking to leverage the power of the mobile Internet to drive revenue, increase market share and reach, pass their competition, and maximize the performance of their mobile sites."  

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