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Akamai preparing for record-breaking streaming surge in coming months

Company predicts 50 million people could concurrently streaming a single live event in the coming months, about double the current record.

Akamai said it expects live streaming to surge in the remaining months of 2020 and into 2021, with the company predicting it could see 50 million people concurrently streaming a single live event in the coming months, about double the current record.

The company said it is updating its platform in order to cope with the unprecedented numbers and created new tools to help developers set up live streaming workflows.

“New Akamai Developer APIs can increase operational efficiency for organisations that need to manage numerous live or linear streams, often simultaneously,” said Alex Balford,  senior product marketing manager, Media and Entertainment at Akami,  in a blog post. “These APIs are designed to simplify the process of provisioning Akamai’s Media Services Live and Adaptive Media Delivery, which are critical components of many customers’ live workflows to ingest streams with high stability and reach global audiences with as little latency as possible.”

Akamai is also beefing up systems to combat fraudulent or shared streams, while building out capacity, The Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform now includes more than 300,000 servers in 4,00 locations and 1,500 networks around the world.

Balford noted that after lockdown and quarantine, stream traffic on Akamai’s platform exceeded 100 terabits per second every day in the second quarter. Traffic topped 100 terabits for the first time in October 2019.

“Many major sports leagues have recently returned, with limited or in some cases no fans in attendance, and for some the audiences tuning in have been an order of magnitude larger than before the pandemic,” Balford said. “Looking ahead, many major international sporting events such as the Olympics, UEFA Euro tournament, and others have deferred their events until late 2020 or 2021, setting up a perfect storm of sorts where many live events are set to take place in tight time windows.”

Between the US election campaigns and the return of sports to TV, “Akamai has seen a significant increase in live streaming,” he said. “We expect this trend to continue.”