UK telco group BT is preparing its network for the expected explosion in 8K video and AR/VR usage.

Which is another way of saying that BT is the flagship customer for a new edge CDN (content delivery network) offering based on the Streaming Video Alliance’s Open Caching technology. The solution itself has been jointly developed by Cisco and edge cloud platform maker Qwilt, and is funded by investment firm and Cisco strategic partner, Digital Alpha.

Open Caching is useful to the likes of BT because it turns existing content delivery infrastructure deployed deep within telco networks into a high-capacity, federated global CDN, with open APIs for content owners. Cisco and Qwilt’s new offering is a solution-as-a-service, requiring no capex on the part of the operator, lowering the cost and time barriers to edge CDN deployment.

“Our mission at BT is to ensure our customers have the best experience every time and with record levels of streaming we needed to disrupt the status quo,” said BT’s chief architect and managing director for architecture and technology strategy, Neil McRae, in a statement. “Qwilt’s pioneering open caching platform together with Cisco’s cloud infrastructure gives BT the first 5G MEC capability in the UK to deliver premium quality video and on-demand services.”

Adding capacity and improving latency is the perennial telco challenge, thanks as ever to consumers’ insatiable appetite for pretty colours that move and make noises. Anything less than HD is considered sub-standard these days, and a growing volume of 4K content is becoming available online. 8K is looming large, as more and more compatible TVs come onto the market.

According to Cisco, video is expected to account for 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2022, up from 73 percent in 2017. And, of course, a growing proportion of that consumption will take place on mobile devices, as 5G uptake accelerates.

“The way we consume video has changed, and content delivery must change with it,” said Alon Maor, co-founder and CEO of Qwilt, in a statement. “Our shared vision is to help service providers enable Open Caching in their networks and leverage edge computing as a fundamental component of their architecture.”

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