Akamai-Plume deal locks in on home-mobile security convergence

Akamai and Plume have struck a partnership that aims to deliver and support unified broadband management and security services that stay present when users are at home or on the go.

Boiled down, it all centers on the stitching together of Plume's in-home and CPE-focused broadband management and security offerings, including parental controls and content filtering, with the network-level services that Akamai provides to carriers around the globe.

The partnership has some near-term and longer-term aspects to it. Near-term, Plume and Akamai will co-sell each other's products. They're also working toward a more integrated product likely to emerge in the second half of the year that both parties will also sell to their respective service provider and carrier customers.

From a product standpoint, part of the agreement will see the combination of Akamai's Security and Personalization Services (SPS) mobile security suite and real-time threat intelligence service with Plume's Consumer Experience Management (CEM) platform for residential Internet control and security.

When combined, security and management policies will remain enforced when the user is on the home Wi-Fi network or connects outside the home on a mobile 4G or 5G network or perhaps some other third-party connection.

The general idea is to deliver seamless, converged security coverage at home and outside of the home, and have those rules extended whether the customer is connected using licensed or unlicensed spectrum, explained John Arledge, the exec in charge of Akamai's carrier portfolio.

"We see the world as a unified cloud," added Tyson Marian, Plume's chief commercial officer.

Sales acceleration

Both companies already sell to carriers and service providers. Plume, for example, has already netted deals with tier 1 providers in various regions of the world, including Comcast and Charter Communications in the US, Liberty Global in parts of Europe, Bell in Canada, and J:COM in Japan. The company believes the Akamai deal will broaden its carrier base and help to accelerate its entry into the small and midsized business sector and tangle with the likes of CommScope's Ruckus unit.

"It helps accelerate our growth around the world," Marian said of the partnership.

Akamai, meanwhile, has been selling network-based services to carriers for years, but has been creeping toward the edge of the network, whether it's the CPE in the home or a mobile device. The deal with Plume helps to complete that connection, Arledge said.

Akamai, which counts Vodafone among its customers, has likewise been shifting its focus toward mobile, encroaching into an area typically covered by companies such as Nokia and Ericsson, he added.

Marian said Plume will continue to handle direct sales where it makes the most sense, but it may also be able to shift to a sales engineer role and have Akamai take the sales lead if it happens to have a better relationship with a service provider. In other cases, Plume will provide sales engineering and support in territories where it might not have a direct sales presence at all, such as Latin America.

Marian estimates that the arrangement with Akamai will help Plume get deals done much faster perhaps in three months rather than a year in some instances.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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