Bitmovin and Akamai jointly developed a new system to help media organisations with visibility between the video player and CDN to reduce costs of errors and optimise quality of experience.

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Bitmovin and Akamai Technologies are working together in a new partnership supporting media and entertainment companies through a joint solution that takes advantage of Bitmovin’s video streaming infrastructure, and Akamai’s expertise in cloud development and services. Their new system uses Common Media Client Data (CMCD) in order to help companies lower the cost of errors that occur due to the divisions that exist between the functionality of video players and CDNs.

Bitmovin and Akamai’s shared goal is to optimise the quality of experience for audiences. The collaboration achieves this by integrating the Bitmovin Player with Akamai's CDN and DataStream, which supports CMCD – a standardised way of passing client-side data from the player to the CDN.

CMCD defines data that a media streaming client collects and sends to the CDN as a custom header or a custom query parameter, along with each segment or manifest request. The intention is to help the CDN provider increase CDN performance through improved log analysis, QoS monitoring and delivery optimisation. Akamai’s DataStream is a reporting service that supplies real-time logs on application activity such as CDN health, latency, offload, errors and performance.

In this case, the Bitmovin Player sends the key client information and identifiers to the CDN, which in turn enable the CDN to improve delivery performance through pre-fetching and optimised caching. Identifiers sent via either query arguments or request headers – extracted, logged and published through Akamai's DataStream.

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Pre-fetching in the CDN is a key aspect of the joint system. This is made possible by the Bitmovin Player providing the correct CMCD hints, such as predictions from the player's Adaptive Bitrate algorithm, current buffer health, stream format and playback state to enable the CDN to pre-fetch the data which the Player is likely to need at the next request. Content IDs and session IDs sent by the player also help video developers to find the root cause of streaming issues and identify ways to improve the quality of experience for audiences.

Will Law, Chief Architect, The Cloud Technology Group at Akamai Technologies, said, "Combining our CDN with Bitmovin's player has resulted in a valuable proposition for the media industry. Enabling the player to share key client-side metrics with the CDN gives video developers a clearer picture of the end user's viewing experience. It can positively impact a video streaming service's overall performance and, ultimately, business growth."

As further support, Bitmovin Analytics software can identify which playback sessions experienced errors by analysing user session data. Integrating Bitmovin Analytics with the Bitmovin Player and Akamai's CDN and DataStream means video developers can investigate errors by combining the player's logs with CDN logs and understand the root cause. Bitmovin Analytics can also measure the new system’s impact on the QoS by comparing playback quality before and after enabling CMCD, using the software’s Experiment breakdown feature.

Bitmovin and Akamai will be demonstrating the new system at NAB 2023.