Confusion Reigns Supreme When It Comes To P2P Delivery Networks

I got a lot of comments from my recent blog post entitled "List Of P2P Delivery Networks" and the comments only reinforce that delivery networks, especially those who don’t want to be thought of as traditional CDNs, are not making clear to customers what exactly they offer. Like customers, I don’t get it either.

Stevan Arychuk from HP commented that, "BitGravity isn’t a P2P network at all; they are a CDN service (with a twist), but don’t do any P2P delivery." Ok, maybe not, but then what is the twist? Good luck finding out. Their website says their technology is  "the next generation of content distribution" with no info at all on how they deliver content. And I’m not picking on BitGravity, all of the networks that call themselves "next generation" really don’t say what they do.

Move Networks does not use the term P2P on their website, but are classified as a P2P provider by everyone I talk to. Are they really? Only they can say. Their website says their delivery technology is based on "Quantum Streaming" but then don’t define anywhere on their website that I can find how it works.

Grid Networks gives more info than some of the others but then confuses me even more by saying they have a hybrid approach that overcomes the challenges faced by P2P and traditional CDN networks. So if I understand this right, they are saying they are not a hybrid of both but rather of something completely different than the two.

Swarmcast calls their technology "grid-delivery" so I think that is P2P based but the first sentence on their technology page uses the term streaming and then says how their technology allows you to "always achieving the maximum possible download speed." So is it streaming or is it download, or is it both?

Itiva calls their technology "Quantum transport" and says it works "by taking every advantage of proxy and node contribution". Their website says that their Quantum transport technology "is similar to that of a controlled peer to peer model." So then it’s not P2P?

Also, each one of the value propositions of the P2P (or non-P2P providers) has the exact same message on their websites which makes it hard to distinguish providers offerings:

– Move Networks: Highest Quality, Scalability, Low Cost, Reliable
– BitGravity: Performance, Reliability, Service, Price
– Grid Networks: Highest Quality, Performance, Scalable, Cost
– Swarmcast: High Quality, Reliable, Faster, Low Cost
– Itiva: High Quality, Low cost

Is anyone as confused as I am here? Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that there are new companies in the space who are looking to improve the user-experience for video based on a different way of delivering content, but if I can’t understand it, how are customers expected to? It’s not your technology that you are selling but rather the value you can show in the technology, translated in terms that are valuable to the customer.

Delivery networks needs to do a better job of education the market and customers on exactly what you do and don’t support. How do you deliver content? What forms do you deliver it in? What formats can you deliver? Can you support live or just on-demand? These are the types of questions customers are asking.

Vendors,you need to help customers cut through the confusion. Make it simple. Deliver a clear message. Give them the information they need to make informed and educated decisions. Because if it stays this confusing in the market, it will not be adopted in the volume you want.