Microsoft has introduced media tools for broadcasters, network operators and content-focused businesses to its Windows Azure platform-as-a-service cloud.
The Windows Azure Media Services technology package was announced by Microsoft on Monday at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas. The technology will be used by Akamai and Deltatre at the 2012 Olympic Games in London to help stream video.
The technology can be used for the on-demand streaming, live streaming, digital rights management, encoding and format conversion of content. It can provide content to a variety of devices that use the Windows, Windows Phone, Mac OS, iOS, Android and Xbox operating systems.
"Not everyone has the expertise or capital required to build a media infrastructure, so Windows Azure Media Services enables companies everywhere to build custom media solutions that easily scale and adapt to meet consumers' needs, wherever or however they consume it," Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of Windows Azure, said in a statement. "Our internal research shows that more than one-third of today's internet traffic is devoted to video consumption, and we expect that to grow to 80 percent by the end of 2015."
The service is initially available as a preview. It is nominally free, though customers will have to pay standard charges for mainstay Azure features like storage, data egress and the use of a content distribution network (CDN) for high-performance streaming video.