Prakash Advani, Co-Founder and CEO, PicoNets

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Prakash Advani is the Co-Founder and CEO of PicoNets. Alongside other achievements, the notable personality has played the demanding role of a jury member at the NASSCOM Product Conclave, IIT E-Summit and Dewang Mehta IT Awards and mentored at the Reliance GenNext Hub. Prakash has left his mark as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD and has over 20 years of experience in the IT Industry in areas of Business Development, Marketing, Sales, Alliances and Social Media Marketing. His wide exposure to IoT, Cloud, Operating Systems, Linux, Open Source, Web, and Networking makes him a learned business associate in this field. Prakash has also acted as the Regional Director for Canonical, where he helped set up the Ubuntu business across Cloud, PC, and IoT in India and South-East Asia. He has helped many new age companies to set up and expanded their business in the Asia Pacific.

In this fast-moving world of consumerism where everything is just a click away, content consumption has become an invariable part of human life. We are no longer a generation that can associate with minutes of buffering; the demand is for everything to be delivered at the speed of lightning. Thus, businesses have now started adapting to this trend and addressing ways in which content can be delivered at the fastest pace to attract and retain a larger pool of consumers. To catalyze the process of data delivery further and help benefit businesses through consumer satisfaction, companies like PicoNets have emerged into the context. PicoNets provide a Hyper-Local Content Delivery Network that improves customer experience and reduces bandwidth costs for demanding content such video, VR, and AR. ICE Business Times converses with Prakash Advani, CEO, and Co-Founder, PicoNets to find out how Content Delivery Network (CDN) is playing a major role for businesses in the field of data. 

Could you detail the operations of PicoNets and how it adheres to the needs of a fast-paced generation?
Previously people used to watch videos on YouTube, however now a large amount of video content consumption has shifted to video platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos, and social media such as Facebook and Whatsapp. We provide a solution to improve internet speeds by deploying a large number of Point of Presence (PoPs). These PoPs are deployed at Edge locations, which are close to the users. Such PoPs improve any content flow and is highly useful for social media as today most of our content consumption takes place on that platform.

What changes have you observed in the consumer behavior in regards to the online platform?
We can observe that there has been an increase in penetration of “smart” devices over the years. These devices consume data all the time as they are always connected and switched on. For instance, the CCTVs are now being replaced by IP Cameras, in which case you can monitor the camera from anywhere over the internet. Similarly, the apps are demanding more data, and the customers are continuing to consume more data as well. Moreover, we can also see that the users are engaging more with the mobile devices for financial services such as banking, taxi booking, and bill payment, alongside socializing. Thus, the demand for data continues to grow. While the telecom networks are catching up and upgrading their services to 4G and beyond, infrastructure is just not being able to keep pace with the constant data demand; this is where Content Delivery Network (CDN) bridges this gap.

In today’s world where data security breach and dysfunctionality of devices have become a major issue, how important is it to be able to provide the customers with reduced cloud hosting cost?
PicoNets try to adhere to this problem by providing an additional layer of security alongside reducing the cost of cloud-hosting cost. We do this by placing our infrastructural support as a firewall in front of the customers’, and thus, act as the first level of the defense. Devices that are sending data directly to the cloud first send data to our edge node which can then forward this data to the cloud. Any device being used to attack the cloud infrastructure can be isolated easily through this feature.
Since the content is first served by our CDN, the number of requests coming in is also reduced. For heavy content sites, this would mean 90% of their customer requests are served by our CDN. This saves on the cloud hosting costs largely.

With our CDN infrastructure, the most demanding media content can be delivered at a much faster speed now. As mentioned earlier the content is mainly delivered from the edge nodes, which are closer to the users, producing a much faster speed than usual.

Considering the shift to Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) content, how are you providing content solutions in this context and addressing this market shift?
In case of AR and VR, the file size is much larger compared to video content. It will not be long that the 3G/4G networks will start to struggle as a large number of people will start consuming VR/AR and mixed reality content. To address this issue, we have built a Content Delivery Network scalable and capable of handling the most demanding content. With our CDN infrastructure, the most demanding media content can be delivered at a much faster speed now. As mentioned earlier the content is mainly delivered from the edge nodes, which are closer to the users, producing a much faster speed than usual. This also saves on bandwidth as the number of requests going to core infrastructure gets reduces.

Could you detail how you help companies “re-architect” their structure regarding content?
We provide a seamless solution for the customers of our clients as they can get access to the content using our network, without the need to change anything. Our customer onboarding process is very simple and easy to process. It typically takes less than 24 hours for the content to get published on our CDN, then our client’s customers can be served through our network. A simple DNS change, allows us to start delivering content from our CDN, which usually takes a few hours. DNS replication, on the other hand, can take up to 24 hours but happens at a much faster rate. This helps us to redesign the ways using which companies have been delivering contents previously.

What benefits can the content providers achieve by using a service such as Real-Time Analytics provided by PicoNets?
We can structure our CDN design not only at the core to handle different types of services and media but also at the edge, for example, we assist Over-the-Top (OTT) video channels to deliver quickly with our hyper-local CDN solution even in patchy wireless regions such as villages. As part of our solution, we also offer Real-time Analytics that refers to the data, which can be accessed as they come into a system. This tool is used to predict patterns that provide meaning to the data coming flowing into a business. In our case, our clients can get more granular details concerning the time of traffic, which content is most requested and what types of devices and operating system people are using more frequently. It helps them be more efficient in delivering the most desired content to their customers within a short period.

PRAKASH’S TAKE ON THE CDN EDGE: 
Keeping up in the Races. Research shows that the attention span for an average consumer while watching a video is approximately 8 seconds. The content delivery network enables data to be delivered from the edge nodes, which are located closer to the users. This produces a much faster speed than usual this is particularly useful for content such as video. Thus, large organizations can benefit from this increased speed to attract and retain more consumers.

PROTECTION IS A PRIORITY
CDN is particularly useful if your site gets Distributed Denial of Services (DDOS) attacks, which are attempts in which many different computer systems attack a target, such as a website, server or various other network resources. This attack is likely to bring down your website immediately by causing a denial of service for users of the targeted resource. The flood of incoming connection requests, messages, or malformed packets to the target system forcibly slows it down or even makes it crash and shut down. Thus, denying service to authenticate users or systems. As the CDN is the first point of contact for the customers, they are also the initial point of attack. Most CDNs have a distributed architecture and can combat a DDOS attack.

THE FINANCIAL INCENTIVE
CDNs not only help to improve delivery of these media but also reduce data center/cloud hosting cost. Since the amount of data that goes to your core infrastructure is reduced, the cost also gets reduced.

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