Founded in Denmark in 1925, Bang & Olufsen has long set the mark as a global design icon and symbol of audio-visual excellence. Today, the company is world renowned for its distinctive range of quality televisions, music systems and high-performance loudspeakers; products that combine technological excellence with emotional appeal in a sensational design language.
Traditionally, Bang & Olufsen products have been sold mainly through an independent retail network across more than 100 countries. The majority of these retailers are stores, which exclusively sell Bang & Olufsen products.
Recently, the company launched initiatives for global growth, seeking to leverage a robust online presence to serve both mid-level and high-end customers in the world’s fastest growing consumer markets. One of the most appealing of these target markets was China.
According to Lars Hardboe Galsgaard, Managing Director of Bang & Olufsen China “Asia is an important part of the global growth strategy for Bang & Olufsen. Within Asia, there’s no denying that China represents the number one target market for us.”
Bang & Olufsen did experience slow response time on their websites, and in some instances, the website was failing to load.
Core to the Bang & Olufsen growth strategy are the company’s two consumer-oriented websites, http://www.bang-olufsen.com and http://www.beoplay.com/. Hosted at data centers in the UK, both sites experienced too many slow-downs and internet latency to properly serve the desired quality user experience in Asia. So, the IT team tested the use of data centers located in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Despite their proximity to China, the Hong Kong and Singapore data centers failed to meet the Bang & Olufsen goal of creating a strong experience for mainland China consumers.
“The average website user had to wait for a long time for our homepage to download,” according to Michael Soby, Manager of IT Governance and Sourcing, Bang & Olufsen. “The situation was not good either for our installed base of smart TV customers. When we streamed software updates, they would sometimes ‘time out’ before the upload was complete.”
Soby’s team started an extensive search for a solution that would ensure a strong local and global online experience when building a data center was not an option. “We needed a global solution, because we had already launched aggressive market entries into other parts of Asia and Australia,” explains Soby. “It wouldn’t make sense to build infrastructure on a country-by-country basis.”
The Bang & Olufsen IT team determined that a global CDN was needed to optimise both the performance of their websites and software updates across multiple countries and inside the Chinese mainland. Ideally, the CDN could provide the following capabilities:
Following an evaluation of leading CDNs with a global presence, Bang & Olufsen decided on CDNetworks. “CDNetworks had a global presence with local people, expertise and infrastructure inside China,” says Soby. “Once we reviewed the performance test results in China and several other target markets, the choice became obvious.”
In less than three days, CDNetworks served the content and feature-rich homepages of http://www.bang-olufsen.com and http://www.beoplay.com/ to consumers around the globe, including all of Asia. As anticipated, the sites experienced dramatic uptime and performance improvements. Homepage download time could be reduced by up to 90 percent, while 98 percent of consumers completed page downloads over CDNetworks.
Soby calculated that his team needed less than 100 working hours to establish CDNetworks as the infrastructure to stream the software updates to their smart TV consumers in Asia. As a result, customers could more easily leverage their Bang & Olufsen smart TVs for additional experiences. “Using CDNetworks dynamic application acceleration, we eliminated software update timeouts to our smart TV users in China.”
Bang & Olufsen has also gained operational efficiencies by delivering web applications over CDNetworks. Instead of managing two data centers in Europe and one in Asia, the company has consolidated data center operations to just one location in the UK.