A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

boatsWhether a tugboat or luxury yacht, the axiom holds true: “a rising tide lifts all boats.”  Any improvement in an industry will benefit all members within that group — large or small. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how an advancement in applications and services delivered over shared networks might spur the networking industry as a whole (vendors, service providers, consultants, etc.), to leverage the benefits of a new technology to grow their business.

According to a survey from consulting firm, Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., more than half of U.S. homes today are streaming movies and TV programs. And there is plenty of money to be made in this trend, if a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers is accurate. The report predicts that the U.S. streaming market will grow from roughly $3.7 billion in 2012 to $6.7 billion in 2016.

With faster broadband services being delivered to the home, TV content continues to fuel the home video market, and of course, content producers, streaming providers, and cable service providers are reaping the rewards from this lucrative content-driven business.

Even more interestingly, data from the Magid survey estimates that 42% of all U.S. households in 2013 had web-connected TVs. With such a large viewer base, it’s not a stretch to see how streaming media will lift the coffers of content producers and distributors, movie studios, broadcast and cable companies, and others.

Not only are on-demand Internet streaming providers like NetFlix and Hulu doing well, the lines are blurring between previously separate fields like telephony, cable, web, and radio broadcasters. New digital platforms are allowing cloud operators and other service providers to expand into new markets. For example, Telcos are bundling VoIP and digital TV services with their traditional telephone service, and cloud operators are offering a wide array of new network services — WAN optimization as-a-service, for example — without owning or managing the infrastructure .

Let’s face it; users consuming all of this great content and entertainment expect great service delivery. Not only do the sites delivering this media need to support larger volumes of traffic, but this traffic will also have a significant impact on networks. So, I see another group of “boats” being lifted by this rising tide:  WAN optimizers and content delivery networks.