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SME 2018: Streaming Video Alliance's Jason Thibeault Talks Machine Learning and Content Delivery
Streaming Media Contributing Editor Tim Siglin interviews Streaming Video Alliance's Jason Thibeault at Streaming Media East 2018

Learn more about the future of content delivery at Streaming Media's next event.

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to Streaming Media East 2018. I'm Tim Siglin, contributing editor with Streaming Media Magazine and Founding Executive Director of the not-for-profit Help Me! Stream. Today, I've got with me Jason Thibeault, although we call him JT, who's the Executive Director of the Streaming Video Alliance. Bring us up to speed on what's gone on in the last couple months with you all.

Jason Thibeault: We're just continuing to move down our charter. We've developed a new mission. The mission is formed on three prongs. The first prong is education, so we want to educate the market about critical challenges in the industry.

The second prong is about collaboration, so we want to bring everybody across the video ecosystem together to collaborate and work on solving those challenges.

The third thing is what we call specification of definition, which is really about defining a solution to the challenges, so creating specs and standards and what not.

Tim Siglin: And if I remember correctly, you all aren't a standards body but you work with standards bodies.

Jason Thibeault: That's exactly correct. And the problem is that standards take a long time to ratify. They're just very bureaucratic. We wanted to keep nimble and agile and flexible along with the streaming video industry so that we could solve those challenges as we move forward rather than trying to solve something that's going to be old news by the time it gets published.

Tim Siglin: Did you work with the Streaming Media Conference, yesterday, for the Content Delivery Summit?

Jason Thibeault: I did. I was the conference chairman, so was a unique and interesting experience. My first time. But I had a great experience. It was a really fantastic one-day event. We had lots of great presentations, lots of good conversations, people networking. It was kind of really everything that I hoped it was going to be.

Tim Siglin: Nice. And how did you handle the CDN pricing? Or did you side-step that one diplomatically?

Jason Thibeault: I did a little of both. So I gave a recap. I gave a nod to Dan. I mean, it's great work, right?

Tim Siglin: Sure.

Jason Thibeault: So that pricing stuff was incredible, and I just said, "I'm not going to even try to do that. I'm just going to give you my JT recap of the CDN market." Which is, there are lots of CDNs. Some are big. Some are small. Some of them charge a lot of money. Some of them don't charge much at all. If you deliver a lot of traffic, you can get a pretty cheap price. And that's my summary.

Tim Siglin: Awesome. Tell me, what are some of the trends in content delivery that people should be paying attention to?

Jason Thibeault: Two of the biggest trends right now are AI and machine learning. So how can we apply those technologies to content delivery? Can we make content delivery smarter, faster, more efficient? And then the second thing is moving from distributed cloud, so really centralize cloud to the edge. We're seeing those two trends starting to bubble up and people really talking about them. And again, really early on.

Tim Siglin: And how does that affect the billing models for CDNs? Because I know 95th percentile's been with us way longer than we expected.

Jason Thibeault: I think the edge is really going to redefine the way we deliver content. It's going to have to refine the pricing models. I just have no idea what that's going to be.

Tim Siglin: And time frames? Two, three years? Eight, nine years? I mean, CDNs seemed to stay the same year after year.

Jason Thibeault: I'm conservative about predictions, so I would probably side with that eight, nine, ten years down. Because we really got to see the testing first, right? People are just experimenting now. And as they start to experiment with business models on top of technologies, it's complicated. So I would say five, seven, eight years away.

Tim Siglin: All right. JT, thank you for your time.

Jason Thibeault: Thank you, Tim.

Tim Siglin: And we'll be right back.

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