Akamai considers NZ office

Akamai, the largest content provision company in the world, is considering setting up a country office in New Zealand.

Akamai, the largest content provision company in the world, is considering setting up a country office in New Zealand.

Akamai already has a presence here, albeit an automated one with several of its servers located in New Zealand cities.

Vice president for business development Robert Ball says Akamai is looking to expand its markets in the region and is talking to "various people around New Zealand about the potential here".

Any office would most likely be a sales and marketing presence rather than a technical support unit and a decision is still a year away.

"We have a three stage process: first we install our technology in a region, then we spend around 10 months looking at expanding in the region, and finally we implement our decision. We're currently in phase two."

New Zealand is increasingly an important market for Akamai as the user base matures.

"Content provision in New Zealand is roughly 4:1 in favour of international over national so a company like Akamai can add great value for the end users."

Users can access data stored on Akamai servers without realising it is locally based - Akamai houses the QuickTime movie trailer site, for example, so users in New Zealand will connect with the local server at much greater speeds than accessing one hosted in Australia or the US, for example.

"It provides a better experience for surfing."

Other Akamai sites include CNN and Yahoo.

Ball says Akamai can help New Zealand web companies as well using the same principle in reverse.

"If a local e-commerce site wants to boost its offshore sales by using Akamai for hosting it can allow visitors from other countries to see their content more quickly."

Ball says a site needs to load quickly to retain customers as drop-off rates climb quickly if a site hasn't loaded within eight seconds.

"With the Jaguar site we reduced the average load time from 3.5 seconds to only half a second."

New Zealand e-commerce sites also don't need to expend energy and money building a network to cope with potential demand, says Ball - something that can be fraught with difficulty.

"We had a client ask us to match a competitor's price, which we did, but when the site launched they had six times the traffic they were expecting. If they had built their own network they would still have been out of action because of the traffic flows but because our network was already in place they didn't suffer any losses."

Advertising can also be targeted at a region: Ball hopes the days of online adverts aimed at users in another country are limited as more e-commerce ads are loaded from Akamai servers.

Because the servers are based around the world in a variety of locations, Ball says Akamai can boast a 100% uptime record - something it guarantees to its customers.

"We have 12,000 servers globally so there's no single point of failure."

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