Highwinds Empowers Rich Media Design Firms

Posted on Tue, Aug, 26, 2008 @ 12:08 PM

Highwinds Empowers Rich Media Design Firms
Unique Channel Program Enables Creative Agencies to Resell Highwinds' CDN Technologies and Services to their Content Provider Customers

WINTER PARK, Fla. - Aug. 26, 2008 - Highwinds Network Group, Inc., a multi-platform IP services and content distribution provider, announced that it is gaining considerable traction in the rich media design market, as an increasing number of technical and creative agencies are finding value in reselling Highwinds' content delivery services to their customers. In addition to offering direct access to their leading CDN technologies, Highwinds' gives its channel partners the ability to control their own billing and pricing structures, provision new customer accounts within seconds and private-label Highwinds' StrikeTracker™ dashboard. For rich media design firms like 9mmedia, i5labs, One Pica and VirtuPoint, selecting Highwinds as their CDN partner was a natural choice because of the business and technological gains.

Mark Snyder, COO of VirtuPoint, a Los Angeles-based rich media development firm has been working with CDNs for nearly a decade. Their client list includes many of the Forbes 100, and includes agencies looking to augment their creative direction with captivating interactive web applications. VirtuPoint has been using the Highwinds CDN for the broadcast of live events, on-demand video and static content distribution to reliably deliver client data. VirtuPoint's footprint includes locations in Europe and Asia, locations that are so geographically dispersed that serving content has been difficult in the past with other CDNs. The company is utilizing the reach of the Highwinds CDN to expand their client base and maximize revenue streams.

"We did a great amount of due diligence before we chose Highwinds as our CDN partner. We were impressed with Highwinds for their technology and massive infrastructure and, equally so, for their competence and longevity as a business," said Snyder. "Highwinds has done a great job of acquiring good talent, and their teams have an obvious passion for what they do - both from a technology perspective and a company-wide commitment to customer service. Our customers' videos stream better, faster and more reliably now, Highwinds has been quick to accommodate our requests, and the next-to-real-time establishing of accounts is unprecedented in the industry."

Jason Wong, CEO of i5labs, a web application development firm in San Francisco, agrees that customer account provisioning and complete content control afforded to them as a Highwinds reseller is second-to-none in the industry. "We can set up a new customer account within 30 seconds, which enables us to increase our sales cycle velocity by closing business faster," said Wong. Moreover, Wong indicated that i5labs is using the Highwinds CDN as a secondary revenue stream for the company. The real-time analytics, substantial bandwidth capacity and StrikeTracker re-branding opportunities that Highwinds offers its channel partners are well-positioning i5labs as an end-to-end provider of rich media development-to-delivery services.

"I am certainly impressed with Highwinds' technological advancements," said Wong. "And while their technology rivals that of any other CDN, granting resellers complete control over customer accounts, pricing and billing, and the ability to re-brand the best CDN interface I've ever seen, is what sets Highwinds apart from its competitors. We are private-labeling the CDN and StrikeTracker as 'i5labs CDN by Highwinds,' and customers are responding well to it. In the end, though, business comes down to people, and I trust Highwinds as a business partner."

Elizabeth Wallace, opportunity developer at One Pica, a strategy and experience firm in Boston, believes that video is "one of today's greatest channels of online distribution." One Pica melds strategic vision with rich media to help their clients achieve their marketing and operational goals. The company recently launched a client's training program, which integrates a diverse set of videos and Adobe Flash elements into one robust online platform. Using personalized and secure log-in credentials, users can view the various training modules. The training program, which is available on-demand over the Highwinds CDN, saves One Pica's client from having to invest in training staff and enables them to train users faster. One Pica has also found the real-time analytics features in StrikeTracker to be value-added tools, as true metrics are vital for their clients' campaigns. Wallace indicated that, historically, the availability of video delivery metrics has been slim, and Highwinds' StrikeTracker provides a wealth of metrics that customers need.

"Our clients often come to us somewhat intimidated by video, so we always start with a strategy and uncover ways to meet strategic goals and solve business problems. We often use video in innovative ways, whether it be as part of a social media marketing campaign, a content-driven web application or a corporate web site," said Wallace. "Because we present ourselves as a one-stop solution provider, having a good CDN partner is really important to us. We want to make the entire process as easy as possible for our clients, and we want video and content delivery to be affordable for them. With Highwinds, we get complete control of what appears to be a commodity, and we're even using Highwinds as a catalyst to pitch new business."

Competitive pricing is also important to Morgan Lang, CEO of 9mmedia, a New York-based firm that builds web and iPhone applications. Over the past five years working with CDNs, Lang has found that his customers can get "crushed" by confusing, tiered pricing commitments as well as full, year-long contracts, as "there isn't really a try before you buy option" from the big CDNs. Now, as a Highwinds reseller, 9mmedia is in complete control of what they charge and how they bill their customers. "We can get a client up and running on the CDN with very little risk and no long-term commitment, which really lowers the barrier to entry for all types of companies and allows them to deliver their content fast and reliably." Lang and his team are rolling out three iPhone applications over the Highwinds CDN in the next month, which will potentially distribute hundreds of thousands of images and videos to iPhones around the world.

"We work with a lot of funded startup companies who want to differentiate themselves by using bleeding-edge technologies to get in front of their audience in fun, usable and creative ways," said Lang. "We needed a CDN partner who could deliver client content quickly, reliably and affordably, while taking a load off our servers. Utilizing the Highwinds API has also allowed us to integrate Highwinds into our software and has been critical in streamlining backend and admin processes. The ability for us to command and control every aspect of account management, content management and streaming schedules - and to be able to do all this with Highwinds serving content in an invisible capacity - is the ultimate benefit of being a Highwinds partner."

"The common thread we're seeing in the rich media design industry, and the critical advantage we're delivering to these companies, is the ability for them to call the shots when it comes to their own customers," said Mark Hayes, vice president of marketing and business development for Highwinds. "We're pleased to be cultivating this niche and arming these firms with tools that position them for success. The resounding enthusiasm heard by 9mmedia, i5labs, One Pica, VirtuPoint and others about our technology, and the glowing remarks about our talented and dedicated team, are a true testament to our ability to excel at servicing this market."

About Highwinds Network Group, Inc.
Highwinds is a leader in multi-platform IP services, file replication, and content delivery software and services. Since 2002, Highwinds has provided for the advancement of a variety of technologies - including messaging bus architecture, network management, distributed file systems and content routing methods. The Highwinds CDN leverages the company's high-performance RollingThunder™ network and user-friendly StrikeTracker™ media manager and reporting dashboard to globally deliver content, videos, live events and other media. It sets the pace among content delivery networks by offering advantages in data center peering, real-time analytics, instant account provisioning, complete content control and massive scalability. Highwinds is headquartered in Winter Park, Fla., and maintains 23 data centers throughout North America and Europe. For more information, please visit www.highwinds.com.

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RollingThunder and StrikeTracker are trademarks of Highwinds Network Group, Inc.

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