Carrier Evolution

Akamai Technologies has launched “Aura Network Solutions,” a line of managed and licensed content delivery network (CDN) offerings to support both fixed line and mobile network operators.

What’s new here is that Akamai will enable service providers to build their own CDNs, using their own servers, running Akamai software, or will manage those networks. Where in the past Akamai had been a service, Aura will essentially become a product, software that allows service providers to build their own CDN.

Akamai’s offerings currently include Managed CDN with a Licensed CDN (LCDN) model in development. The former is a turnkey CDN with dedicated capacity to an operator’s business that is managed by Akamai on behalf of the operator.

The LCDN offering will include edge-server software licensed to the operator, allowing it to build and manage its own CDN capacity inside its network. The software will be designed to be deployed on standalone servers or be integrated with third-party network elements.

Such offerings illustrate one clear way the Internet has changed potential business strategies and “products.” In the case of the business phone system, IP telephony has changed a product into a service.

In the case of Aura, a service has been turned into a product. In the case of IP telephony, the end user acquisition model shifts from “own” to “rent.”

With Aura, the model shifts from “rent” to “own.” That very flexibility also shows how and why business models for products and services have changed in the Internet era. When a commercial offering can be either a product or a service, there is more room for both innovation and competition.

In Akamai’s case, offering a product now enables its potential customers to compete with, or displace Akamai as a service provider. But Akamai also gains a new software license customer.