Edgeware Takes On Flash Rivals in US
Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR) and SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC), two incumbent VoD players, have incorporated Flash into their product lineups. Verivue Inc. , a startup that counts Comcast Interactive Capital and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) among its partners, just came out of stealth mode with an all-Flash video switch and $65 million in funding. (See Concurrent Bows Flash Gear, Verivue Surfaces With Comcast Backing , and SeaChange Flashes Server Growth .)
Among that group, Verivue's technology appears to match up the closest to Edgeware's. But Roos disagrees with that notion, holding that Verivue's "big iron box" is designed for more central regions of CDNs, rather than at their edges. Verivue, however, has stressed that the MDX 9000 is just the first product in a series, so a smaller footprint device could be in the making.
"But I would be surprised if we see a pizza box from those guys," Roos says of Verivue.
Edgeware has a deal with ZillionTV in the bag, but that's it so far when it comes to U.S. contracts. Appleman acknowledges that Edgeware has yet to score any additional deployments or field trials here, though some lab work is underway. He says Edgeware is in discussions with major operators as well as members of the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) .
"We are here to take this market seriously," Roos says.
Although Edgeware appears to be entering the U.S. market at an opportune time, industry analysts believe the vendor faces an uphill climb, particularly among cable operators and major telcos.
"All the cable operators are kicking the tires on this next-generation on-demand architecture. They're all looking at Verivue and all looking to Edgeware to a certain extent," says Jeff Heynan, directing analyst, broadband and video, at Infonetics Research Inc.
Although breaking into the cable market will be a tough task for Edgeware, the company may find smoother sailing with smaller telcos. "I think they've got a real opportunity with Tier 2 and Tier 3 IOCs [independent operating companies]. I think that's a great market for them," Heynan says.
Larger MSOs and operators may be afraid to take a big risk on Edgeware. Although it has Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens as partners, Edgeware's "lack of size could be a problem," says Heavy Reading senior analyst Alan Breznick. Edgeware could run into trouble getting traction with large customers or stealing market share away from established VoD players, "unless their technology really is particularly innovative and offers a real edge," he adds.
But Edgeware thinks it's up to the challenge.
"We have Tier 1 installs," CEO Roos says. "We think we know what we're up against in dealing with a major operator."
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News
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