The Vantrix Chair

The field of digital video is exploding. IP and mobile service providers rely on a number of video applications to increase their revenue: video streaming, video conferencing and mobile collaborative applications, video messaging, mobile TV, sharing of video clips captured from mobile terminals, etc. According to the firm Infonetics Research, revenue from mobile video services more than doubled from 2005 to 2006 to reach $200 million, and tripled in 2007. The number of subscribers to mobile video services has also increased globally at the same pace, and exceeded 46 million in 2010.

Several major technological challenges must be overcome to ensure the success of these applications. For example, the quality of videos received under stringent mobile conditions (low reliability, low and variable rates) must be greatly improved. Also, the current computational requirements for video encoding at the server are not sustainable, and must be significantly reduced in order to serve all interested users. These problems are of great interest to Vantrix, a Canadian company and world leader in video optimization and delivery solutions.

Goals

The objectives of the proposed research program are to:

  • Develop new technologies for encoding / transcoding to maximize quality while minimizing calculation effort.
  • Develop efficient algorithms to enhance video quality (to eliminate the blocking artifacts, and to perform super-resolution for presentation on a PC or TV).
  • Maintain a constant technology watch of the most promising platforms for video processing, and to develop algorithms to make an efficient use of those platforms.
  • Develop new technologies for efficient dynamic use of the networks used for video transport.


Benefits

It is expected that the project results will allow Vantrix to strengthen its leadership position as a provider of multimedia delivery solutions. While its market and products were initially targeted for mobile messaging applications (Multimedia Messaging Service), Vantrix has expanded its activities to include digital video applications: streaming video, IPTV, video sharing, etc.

The technologies developed by the research program will be used for all these applications. Reducing complexity and improving the quality of the algorithms developed, especially for H.264, will make Vantrix's solutions more cost-effective and more attractive to customers. Although several competitors are addressing the issues of complexity, few of them are working on improving quality, and it is quality that will be an important differentiator in the marketplace.

Finally, research on video transport will be of great importance for Vantrix, in terms of providing "turnkey" solutions for various video applications (not only multimedia encoding and transcoding). Several other companies offer standards-based solutions which are not very innovative. Video transport is another area that has a great influence on the user's experience, and where Vantrix will be able to differentiate itself still further.