Content delivery networks, a concept and technology that’s been around since the 1990s, have evolved right alongside the dynamic dramatic changes to the internet and the way people use the web. Fueled by new technologies, innovations, and widespread adoption of internet-capable devices, content delivery networks (CDN) are uniquely positioned for growth in the coming years.
In a recent MicroMarketMonitor’s report, it was noted that the North American content delivery network market is expected to grow from $1.95 billion in 2013 to $7.83 billion in 2019. Another report, by MarketsandMarkets, is even more optimistic, estimating the CDN market to be worth $12.16 billion by 2019.
Whatever the number, it is clear CDNs are on an upward trajectory. What’s driving this exponential growth? Let’s take a look at how the internet has changed over the past 10 years to begin to get an understanding of the increasing need and market for CDNs.
1. Expanded Internet Usage and Reach
Over the course of the last decade, the number of internet users worldwide has tripled from 1 billion in 2005 to 3 billion in 2015.
Not only is the number of internet users increasing by the second, the means by which users access the web is more diverse than ever. The Pew Research Center found that more than two-thirds of American adults have a smartphone. Worldwide, smartphones will make up roughly 50 percent of mobile phone users by 2017, an eMarketer study found.
With an expanding user base and global audience, websites need to ensure content is available no matter the amount of traffic or distance from the origin website servers. The distributed network of servers that make up a CDN can decrease loading time, website latency and handle traffic spikes. In the new age of the internet, traditional solutions, like an accelerated WAN, can’t keep up with the pace of change and the amount of dynamic content and diverse access points.
As mentioned previously, more than two-thirds of American adults have a smartphone. On a global scale, statista.comis forecasting more than one-third of the world’s population will have a smartphone by 2018. By comparison, in 2011, this percentage hovered at about 10 percent.
As users become more sophisticated – and 3G and 4G networks more prevalent – expectations for website speed and performance, no matter the device, are higher. Mobile users expect similar experiences on their mobile devices as they do at their desktop computer. Websites can’t be fast enough. According to Kissmetrics data, mobile users aren’t too patient with a slow loading website: 19 percent of mobile users will abandon a website that takes longer than 5 seconds to load.
Users aren’t the only ones expecting a mobile-friendly experience, Google recently rolled out its mobile-friendly designation for searches performed on mobile devices. A mobile-optimized website – in design, performance and speed – could offer a competitive advantage in search results.
A dynamic CDN optimized for mobile content delivery assists in providing users with a smooth and speedy interaction with a website.
3. Online Video
The first video was uploaded to YouTube on April 23, 2005. Today, more than 6 billion videos are viewed on YouTube’s platform each day. Now, across all demographics, internet users are watching online videos every day.
Earlier this year, Facebook reported its users watch about 4 billion videos every day, 75 percent of them on a mobile phone.
Users are looking to watch videos online without pauses for buffering. A CDN reduces latency for high bandwidth content like streaming video. As internet users consume more video content, a website will be increasingly judged on its ability to deliver latency-free video content.
4. Global Ecommerce
According to statista.com, by 2016, global B2C ecommerce sales are expected to reach $1.92 trillion U.S. dollars. In the first quarter of 2015, retail ecommerce sites had more than $80 billion in sales, compared to $26.5 billion in the first quarter of 2006, according to U.S. Census reports.
In 2014, Cyber Monday set new ecommerce records – sales increased by 8.5 percent year over year.
A website with a CDN can better handle sharp spikes in traffic, like those during sales or big events like Cyber Monday, by distributing and directing traffic over its available servers.
CDNetworks takes it one step further with its Dynamic Web Acceleration service, a proprietary language that compresses round trips between the user’s interface and origin servers. This middle mile acceleration streamlines communication between edge servers around the world and the website’s servers preventing bottlenecks or other latency issues caused during the payment process.
5. Internet Security
Whenever customers type in their credit card numbers to make a purchase online, they are placing their trust in that business. High profile data breaches at Target, Home Depot (and more) haven’t increased customer confidence.
Nearly two-thirds of online buyers in a recent survey by BizRate Insights believed web retailers aren’t doing enough to protect customer’s credit card and personal information.
And internet shoppers have a right to be concerned. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has records of 4,537 data breaches that involved more than 827 million records containing sensitive personal information.
DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks are also on the rise. A recent analysis of CDNetworks’ clients found a 29 percent increase in DDoS attack frequency in 2014.
A cloud security enabled content delivery networks, for ecommerce websites and other outlets that handle sensitive data, adds another layer of security. CDNetworks blends the latest in cloud security (SSL, PCI compliance and digital rights management), as well as a layer of DDoS protection.
Content delivery networks can provide the support websites need to compete and flourish in the new age of internet consumption. With accelerated speed and performance, as well as added security features, it comes as no surprise the CDN market is well positioned for growth over the next five years.
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