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Technology is an optimistic enabler: Sandeep Reddy, Akamai

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Technology is an optimistic enabler: Sandeep Reddy, Akamai

Sandeep Reddy, Country Sales Manager Media at Akamai,

believes that technology is here to simplify things. In an era where technology
seems to be taking over all possible spaces and people considering it in both
positive and negative ways, this sales professional, spoke positively about
technology being an enabler during an interaction with e4m. Excerpts:

What exactly is Akamai?

Content can be anything that is delivered over the internet. I think of ourselves as a courier service. We deliver it without any latency. By latency we mean, without any start or stutter and we enable that. The content being delivered can be a banking transaction, it could be a music download, a video that you’re trying to watch, a software update on your phone or any e-commerce transaction. The internet was not designed to handle such volume of data that is being transferred these days or with this kind of urgency. Users are very impatient now. When you start a videoand it doesn’t load in two seconds, they’ll just close it and move on to something else. With broadcast, it is very simple. It’s one signal being picked up by any number of antennae. But with the internet, it is a one to one connection. It takes a lot to actually get the middle mile which makes the transfer go from the origin server to the end user wherever they are in the world and that is what we do. We enable content delivery from the first mile to the last mile.

What do you foresee for this service five years from now, with technology playing a
major role here?

This is going to be good for the company and the consumer as well. With OTT, you don’t have to wait for your favourite show that plays at 9 p.m. You just have to wait for a mobile device with an internet connection. Now, you can download the shows and watch it without internet too. As a consumer, it is fabulous for me. It is good and inevitable for companies when it comes to technology and content because if you’re going to restrict your users only to the television and living room, your reach won’t be much.

Netflix started as a CD distribution business. With the internet, it has become what it is
now. One can watch whatever they want to watch right now, right here because of
this. All of this is a little overwhelming. There’s a lot of investment going into how a consumer is interacting with the device and with the content. Technology is advancing rapidly but now the interaction of the technology with its user is being made simpler. Simplicity is after all the ultimate sophistication.

Five years down the line, the mobile phone, in its present form, might go away. A wrist device or maybe a projection button might enable you to watch everything come alive. There are many possibilities. People don’t want to be confined to time, place or to the device, especially with entertainment. they want it to be available to them anywhere, any place and on any device, which is what we enable.    

What technology do you use?

It is basically a mathematic algorithm. We have a high-level view of the internet and when we look at each node individually, we know what kind of traffic is coming from which geography and at what time of the day. It is patented to MIT and
exclusively available to Akamai. Our founder was a professor at MIT and that’s
where it all started. This was essentially just an extension of a research project which now has become a successful company.

Who is your biggest competitor? 

Our biggest competitors are the “do it yourself” companies who don’t yet realize the potential and the challenges on the internet. They still think that to deliver content seamlessly to their end user, they require centers in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bengaluru to serve all of India. That, I would say, is still a big chunk. A lot of customers and companies think that it’s cost-efficient.     

You’ve been in Akamai for more than a decade. How has your journey been?

I’ve been at Akamai for 11 years. My earlier role was a sales job in America Online (AOL,) which is an internet company again. I’d like to believe that I pretty much started at Akamai and I’ve been doing sales throughout. I began with selling over the phone for America’s market. I was the regional sales manager. Then I moved to India as a sales representative and managed some of the largest customers here. Then I moved away from sales for three years when I was the Global Account Manager. Now I’ve come back to India as the Country Manager. So, every three years or so, I’ve taken up a new role.

What are the three key learnings from your sales and marketing stints?

The first one would be people. People buy from people. It’s not really about sales or the interaction; it’s about the overall image you create about yourself and your company. The second one would be ‘passion is everything.’ I believe very passionately in what we do. The internet is now truly changing lives. The previous generation is also going online now. People in rural areas are now able to get faster updates about the weather. I’m very passionate about how we are enabling that. The third one is being humble. You see a lot of ups and downs. Our company has gone through ups and downs as well. Then as a salesperson, you have your own good years and bad years. Sales is a profession that teaches you humility, which has not just helped my professional life but also my personal life.


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