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Media Consumers Are Pushing The Limits Of Websites And Applications

Today’s media consumers are putting more stress on websites and applications than ever before – viewing more videos and images, streaming more audio and downloading more files.

Here are a few of the major media trends you can expect your websites and applications to encounter this year and how Rackspace can help.

1. Users Are More Mobile Than Ever

It’s been two years since smartphone shipments surpassed PC shipments, and our move toward mobile computing is accelerating. Smartphones, tablets and e-readers were on nearly everyone’s holiday shopping list in 2012. Research shows that these mobile devices are fueling more 24×7 web surfing, particularly after 6 p.m., when tablets and other mobile devices are used more often than computers. There’s no question that mobile users are consuming massive amounts of media content.

Advances in 4G technology have also contributed to mobile users’ appetite for high quality video and audio streaming. Much like the transition to broadband access changed our surfing habits and spawned new innovation (e.g. SaaS), the transition to 4G will do the same. New applications will be created for new use cases and higher quality video/audio streaming will change how we consume entertainment (e.g. TV, games, movies).

2. Users Expect Speed And Reliability

Web sites and apps are using more images, JavaScript and cascading style sheets, which can significantly slow down page load times. In fact, the average web page has experienced a 57 percent increase in size over the last two years. User expectations are increasing as well – research shows that a majority of users expect a website to load in 3 seconds or less. And those expectations vary by device: 89 percent of tablet, 59 percent of smartphone and 83 percent of PC users expect a website to load in 3 seconds or less. Mobile users in particular want faster web pages – 71 percent expect web pages to be as fast or faster on a mobile device than on a desktop.

If you manage an ecommerce or advertising site or a social media app, slow page loads can be a real pain. And even the slightest lag can result in lost revenue (it’s estimated that every second of delay in loading your page can reduce sales conversions by 7 percent).

File downloads, too, need to be fast. Your customers want software downloads and updates, documents and subscription-based content as quickly as possible. Downloads are bandwidth hogs, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of users across the globe simultaneously downloading large files.

3. Users Love Visual Web Media

Video, images and now infographics have become staples in a web-powered world. To put the video revolution into perspective, web users streamed nearly 27 billion videos in August 2012 alone. Advances in social media and mobile device streaming have further fueled the use of videos and pictures. Picture this: Facebook users upload 300 million photos on an average day. At Rackspace, some of our most popular blogs have been infographics on topics ranging from ecommerce to healthcare in the cloud.

What Do These Trends Mean To You?

Consider the following:

  • Almost every website or application has multiple forms of media that need to be delivered to different devices – this puts a burden on the entire web platform.
  • Managing media is a big deal: storing, encoding, delivering, streaming and archiving.
  • Your users demand instant gratification. They want video and audio that streams quickly with no hiccups; images that load swiftly; and downloads that are lightning fast. They won’t settle for less; and neither can you.

In other words, you need to make your media management simple, fast and reliable.

How Can Rackspace Help?

With Rackspace Media Hosting, we offer you the ability to deliver video, images, audio and other file types at blazing speeds. We do this in part by using Rackspace Cloud Files powered by the Akamai Content Delivery Network (CDN), which speeds up web page load times to give you more views, better search engine rankings and more sales conversions, which ultimately translate into more loyal customers.

We know your customers won’t put up with an unreliable site or sluggish media delivery. With Rackspace Media Hosting, you host your media on Cloud Files, which lets you serve it from 213 global Akamai CDN edge locations. This gives your media a stronger chance of staying available during a high traffic event or even a DDoS attack. What’s more? Your files are replicated three times, making media storage more reliable.

We also want to simplify how you deliver media to your customers. With the easy to use Cloud Control Panel and an easy to follow pricing model, it’s a snap to get started. It’s a breeze to upload and manage files through the control panel or the API and it’s easy to estimate what it will cost.

Here’s just a sampling of some of the benefits that our Media Hosting offers:

  • Quick delivery: Position your website’s images, video, audio, basic HTML files, JavaScript and cascading style sheets closer to your end users for super-quick performance.
  • Reliable, scalable storage: Store as many videos, audio clips or documents as you want. Your files are replicated three times, making your media delivery more reliable.
  • Easy-to-use advanced features: Get CDN SSL encryption for security; HTTP compression to save bandwidth; streaming for a better user experience; and edge purge capability to keep your media content fresh.
  • CDN analytics: Gain insight through access to third-party tools that turn your CDN access logs into simple graphics and charts.
  • Simple pricing: Our charges are straightforward and we don’t charge for most extras.

And, of course, Rackspace Media Hosting is backed by our award winning Fanatical Support, which will help you get the most out of your media solution. Whether you have questions or need a solution to a problem, we’re available by phone, chat or ticket 24x7x365.

I love hearing from customers about the exciting results that they are seeing. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Michael Borohovski, President and CTO of Tinfoil Security, and he said “Prior to using Rackspace, the page load times on our company’s website were unacceptable. After we switched to Cloud Files and the Akamai CDN, our website pages now load incredibly fast.”

If you want to test your web site, check out this free tool from Pingdom which will analyze your page load speeds. Kick your media delivery up a notch with Rackspace Media Hosting on the open cloud. Sign up for a Rackspace cloud account if you don’t have one already; and get started hosting your media with Cloud Files powered by the Akamai CDN. You and your customers will be happy you did.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Jerry Schwartz.

Jerry is a Senior Product Marketing Manager focusing on our cloud storage and managed storage portfolios. He joined Rackspace in 2007 and was the Product Manager for our Microsoft applications including SharePoint, Exchange, SQL and the Windows Server operating system. He has worked in the Rackspace Cloud since 2010 shaping many of Rackspace’s cloud offerings including Cloud Files, Cloud Block Storage, Cloud Backup, and Cloud Servers.

Jerry is a loyal Texas Longhorns fan and received his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of Rackspace, you will likely find him on a jet ski at one of the lakes around San Antonio.


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