Akamai CEO: We're entering 'Instant Internet' phase

Akamai's CEO predicts online video demand will grow 100-fold over the next decade.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Businesses are facing a new digital challenge as we move from the Internet as a novelty to a place where we "win or lose," according to Akamai CEO Paul Sagan while speaking at GigaOm Structure 2012 on Wednesday afternoon.

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In a fireside chat with GigaOm founder and senior writer Om Malik, Sagan asserted most companies are defined by whether or not they are competitive online.

"We're about to enter a phase where we talk about the instant Internet," said Sagan, explaining we started with being extremely patient (on dial-up connectivity) with successive improvements over time.

If you want to be competitive, Sagan warned, basically you must deliver on this concept or your business doesn't have a chance.

"It creates big thresholds of challenge for us to deliver that experience," Sagan acknowledged. "We are promising our customers that we will deliver any content anywhere, anytime."

Sagan added security is the other catch here as "the bad guys are moving in."

He also predicted that video demand will grow 100-fold over the next decade. Thus, Sagan argued that network capacity has to grow dramatically and the architectures supporting them must change to keep up with user demand in both quality and quantity.

Right now, Akamai's network sees almost 2 trillion requests per day with 300,000 hours of content every minute continuously throughout the day worldwide.

But in mobile, expectations have actually lowered as Sagan commented to some laughter from the audience that we've gone from expecting our phones to always work to expecting the call to drop at any time.

"But people are trying to push far more into mobility," Sagan added. "It's overtaking the wired web, PC-browser web."