Coming onstream

Streaming media was all the rage in the commercial sector a couple of years ago, and now government agencies are getting in the flow.

"It's new for government in a lot of cases," said Keith Johnson, vice president of the public sector at Akamai Technologies Inc. He compares streaming media's government progress to the delayed acceptance of enterprise resource planning software. That technology was huge in the early 1990s in the private sector, but didn't take off in government until later that decade. Government agencies use streaming media for e-learning, town meetings and news video, among other applications, industry and government executives reported. The episodic nature of some streaming products — digital video of a military operation in Iraq or Afghanistan, for example — lends itself to the bandwidth-on-demand capability of a content delivery network, service providers said. Executives believe their networks are ideal for handling sudden spikes in activity.

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