Continuing its attack on the value added end of the CDN marketplace, Cotendo (news) unveiled a Mobile Acceleration Suite aimed at the burgeoning wireless content arena. Handling wireless data loads is quickly becoming the most vexing problem of the technology industry for both wireless network operators, who are seeking to align the economics of customer usage and infrastructure build-outs, and content providers, who fight over eyeballs that are quickly lost when things slow down.
About two years ago when telcos globally were all sniffing excitedly at the door of the CDN world, a friend of mine in the industry said the real story would start with Mobile CDNs and not before. My response was incredulous: if you're not putting servers on towers, a CDN is a CDN and mobile is just another endpoint, right? Well, Cotendo is in the process of trying to finally put my ambivalence out of its misery.
One of their main points is that mobile network data connections are much different than landline broadband ones, in that the quality, latency, and throughput of the connection can vary greatly in real time. Caching and content delivery networks built for the fixed world just aren't designed to dynamically adapt to those conditions in an optimal manner, and adding a few more edge nodes doesn't change that much. So Cotendo started from the ground up, adding in things like the new SPDY TCP protocol, adaptive image compression, and of course the Cloudlet effort they unveiled back in April. That lets them target the way data is delivered, as opposed to where it is delivered from.
Cotendo's new mobile offensive comes alongside some new and sharp financial teeth. The company has raised an additional $17M in funding from both its existing venture capital backers and two new strategic investors: Citrix Systems and Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR, news, filings). Those two will join several other big partners, such as AT&T, Google, RedHat, and Sumitomo. Cotendo will use the new funds both to power the next generation of mobile CDN technology and to expand their global footprint. Additional nodes to be added in 2011 include several each in South America, India, and China.
However it all shakes out, it seems clear that the last mile will always be the weakest link of the wireless data economy, and thus finding ways to optimize its use should prove to be a hot topic for a long time to come. Others in the sector also have their eye on mobile content delivery of course, and I expect Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM, news, filings) has plenty going on beyond their alliance with Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC, news, filings) earlier this year. One area that Cotendo's new technology doesn't really take on is streaming, the optimization of which will also be a big deal in the wireless world.