Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Partner? Edgeware and MediaMelon

As I've been working through partnerships between various professional transcoding and live encoding manufacturers, so that two companies can provide a joint testing solution for both areas of our comparative testing, I've been struck by the continued uptick in joint solutions.

One such joint solution, which I wrote about today for is a combination of edge caching devices and deterministic middleware, with the two partners being Edgeware AB and MediaMelon, Inc., respectively.

You can read the technical descriptions of the joint solution at, but here's a brief overview of the two companies:

Edgeware was formed about 4 years ago by networking and video professionals, who wanted to solve the challenge of addressing next-wave internet traffic. They felt much of the traffic going forward would be video, and they chose to design an appliance with caching ability. Since this first-generation 1U server used solid-state memory and had an FPGA for programming, IPTV was a natural target market. Edgeware's appliance had a Linux derivative with their own home-grown UDP stack and  file systems, and Nokia, Alcatel, Siemens all sell the appliance as solutions to large telecoms who want to offer walled-garden IPTV services. 

MediaMelon is backed by founder and chairman of Macrovision, with its main office in San Francisco and primary R&D in India. The company's deterministic algorithms, backed by significant viewer experience data, allows MediaMelon to offer its customers - many of which overlap the Edgeware customer base - a set of differentiated service including quality of service for UDP, TCP. MediaMelon, whether through its MediaMelonDirect, for media customers, or its MediaCloud SaaS / hosted solution for telecoms, ISPs and MSOs, leverages real-time viewing quality information and then serves up chunks of streams from a variety of locations across a CDN.

So when Edgeware wanted to move beyond walled-garden IPTV appliances and into the realm of TCP delivery of "web TV" on second-generation appliance, using RTSP and chunks of adaptive bitrate content, the two companies had complementary technologies. 

Yet, why did the Edgeware-MediaMelon joint solution make sense for customers and integrators, especially since both companies had a slightly different approach to addressing the joint solution? 

"From Edgeware's perspective," said Jon Haley, Edgeware's VP of  business development for WebTV and Over the top (OTT)," our VARs and system integrators are seeing huge demand for building out CDNs in local service provider markets and then adding in OTT services. The MediaMelon federated model really is unique, based on the quality metrics from a user's perspective (QoE), and matches nicely with our quality philosophy of pushing content further out into the network via our boxes."

In other words, for markets like Europe, which are highly fragmented due to language and/or incumbent state-run service providers, the joint selling of a federated model couldn't be accomplished just by Edgeware.

"It really is a natural partnership," said Kumar Subramanian, founder and CEO of Media Melon, "making it easier to jointly provide value to service providers who can quickly deploy a full solution of Edgeware boxes along with our SaaS hosted middleware. The value proposition of offering a large footprint due to the federated model is a significant solution to a significant problem."

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