Content delivery provider Akamai Technologies Inc. is offering enterprise users with e-commerce and Web sites a new service that lets them get personal with their customers.
Akamai's EdgeScape service gives network professionals a way to determine in real time the location of the network and the types of network users who are accessing their Web site. In doing so, what content users would see is tweaked for their region - without forcing them to fill out the lengthy forms some sites require to customize content. Akamai says the service has already attracted CNN, Namezero.com and style365.com.
Network managers can also deliver content to end users based on the type of network they are accessing a site from. That means end users who hop on the Internet using broadband services such as cable modems or DSLs can get high-bandwidth content, while those using traditional dial-up don't get choked.
Reynold Harbin, director of product management at Akamai, says the ability to customize content based on the geographic region and type of network will become increasingly important as companies use the Web to do business globally.
For example, a retail store might want to customize clothing by country or region based on what is most popular there. News outlets might choose to automatically have content delivered that is relevant to a region or country, rather than a generic one-size-fits-all approach. That customization, Harbin says, keeps end users coming back to a site because they can retrieve information quickly.
Akamai isn't the only company tackling the issue of customization for e-commerce and Web sites. Switch maker ArrowPoint announced a few weeks ago that its WebNS switch software, due out this week, will have a new proximity-based feature that lets network professionals identify where a request for content is coming from and route it to the closest network device or server for better response time. WebNS 4.0 can run on all ArrowPoint content switches, including the CS-50, CS-100, CS-150 and CS-800.
ArrowPoint's proximity feature works by storing a requester's location after the first visit to a site so that subsequent requests follow a mapped path that has the best response time.
New algorithms in WebNS 4.0 establish the best route and check during off-peak times to ensure that route remains the fastest path for end users.
Akamai's EdgeScape service is a managed service, meaning network executives who use it decide which content goes to a region or country, and Akamai does the rest using its network to deliver content to end users. Akamai is getting support from Loudcloud, which will resell the EdgeScape service to its customers.
EdgeScape services are now available.