Change streamed worldwide during inauguration

To witness President Barack Obama complete his historic ascent to the White House, the world tuned in via video streaming in record numbers.

Akamai Technologies Inc. reported the largest surge it has witnessed in live streaming traffic during Obama's inauguration. Akamai reported serving more than 7 million simultaneous streams shortly after noon on Tuesday as Obama was being sworn in and delivering his inaugural speech. Previous peaks were typically less than 1 million simultaneous streams.

Akamai operates a content-delivery network consisting of more than 30,000 servers distributed across the Internet. The network intelligently distributes content across the globe in order to serve it to end users faster and more efficiently. The video streaming surge pushed traffic on Akamai’s network to 2 terabits -- or as many as 12 million Web requests -- per second.

Akamai attributed the surge not only to the global interest in the historic election, but also because the festivities occurred on a workday for many. Those that did not have the day off could tune in from their desktop PCs or even handheld personal digital assistants to the numerous news Web sites that were hosting video streams of the event.

All of the major new sources -- including CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, the Washington Post and Yahoo -- delivered streaming video of the day’s events. Some news agencies had the live video embedded on their Web site’s home page. Some sites had multiple camera angles showing different views of the proceedings, while others had other features such as satellite photos of the Mall where the events were occurring.

CNN’s Web site contained a 3-D view of the moment when Obama raised his right hand to take the presidential oath, courtesy of more than 11,000 photos taken almost simultaneously and sent in by people attending the event, and compiled by Microsoft's "photosynth" technology. A view of the composite photo, which allows the viewer to change camera angles or zoom in or out, is available here.

About the Author

Dan Campbell is a freelance writer with Government Computer News and the president of Millennia Systems Inc.

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