Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Bitmovin and the University of Klagenfurt Collaborate on Innovative Video Transmission Technology

Bitmovin, a world leader in online video technology, is teaming up with the University of Klagenfurt and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW) in a multi-million Euro research project to uncover techniques that will enhance the video streaming experiences of the future.
© aau/Waschnig
The joint project establishes a dedicated research team to investigate potential new tools and methodologies for encoding, transport and playback of live and on-demand video using the HTTP Adaptive Streaming protocol that is widely used by online video and TV providers. The resulting findings will help empower the creation of next-generation solutions for higher quality video experiences at lower latency, while also potentially reducing storage and distribution costs.
Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, sees great potential for the future in the development of technologies of this kind: “Video represents 60% of the Internet data volume and, correspondingly, the potential for optimization and resource conservation is enormous. At the same time, the Christian Doppler Laboratory contributes to the development of high-tech in Carinthia, secures jobs and draws qualified personnel to the region. A win-win situation for companies, science and society.”

Fierce competition increases the need for innovation

“The partnership with the University of Klagenfurt allows us to investigate the basic building blocks of video delivery in greater detail. This will help us to remain in pole position in the years ahead”, as Christopher Müller, CTO at Bitmovin states. Christian Timmerer, Associate Professor at the Institute of Information Technology (ITEC) at the University of Klagenfurt and Laboratory Director, goes on to explain: “Increasing competition between online video providers will accelerate the need for innovation. We continuously strive to maintain the optimum balance between cost, quality of user experience and increasing complexity of content.”

Ministry of Economic Affairs provides support through the Christian Doppler Research Association

The Christian Doppler Laboratory ATHENA is jointly funded by Bitmovin and the Christian Doppler Research Association, whose primary public sponsor is the Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs. The budget for 7 years of research is approx. 4.5 million Euros, with the public sector providing roughly 2.7 million of this total. Martin Gerzabek, President of the Christian Doppler Research Association, sees great potential for cooperation between science and industry, as in this case: “ATHENA is our first Christian Doppler Laboratory at the University of Klagenfurt. We are very pleased about the expansion of our funding model, which facilitates cooperation between outstanding science and innovative companies on an equal footing. We congratulate the University of Klagenfurt on this great success and confidently look forward to further CD labs and JR centres in the region.”
According to Oliver Vitouch, Rector of the University of Klagenfurt, “ATHENA offers a fantastic opportunity for further pioneering developments in global leading-edge technologies. Video streaming has permeated our everyday lives; most of us use it on a daily basis. This lab of the future is an ideal blend of research and innovation”. In Klagenfurt, members of the Institute for Information Technology have been working on the development of innovative multimedia technology for around 20 years. Bitmovin, which operates on a global scale and maintains sites on three continents today,
originally began its operations in Klagenfurt: The three founders (Stefan Lederer CEO, Christopher Müller CTO, and Christian Timmerer CIO) first collaborated on the development of the MPEG-DASH video streaming standard during their time at the University of Klagenfurt. This standard is currently used by YouTube, Netflix, ORF-TVThek, Flimmit and many more besides.
© aau/Waschnig

About Bitmovin

Bitmovin was founded in 2013 by Stefan Lederer, Christopher Müller, and Christian Timmerer as a spinoff of the University of Klagenfurt, where they both worked on the standardization of MPEG-DASH, a major standard for video streaming, during their time as students. The start-up company found its first home in the neighbouring Lakeside Science & Technology Park. Today, the company provides the world’s most powerful products for highly efficient video streaming on the Internet. Large, international customers such as the BBC or Hulu Japan rely on solutions developed in Carinthia.
Since participating in the renowned Y Combinator programme in the USA, the official corporate headquarters are located in San Francisco. However, the two locations in Austria remain the centres of excellence for research and development – not least due to the strong ties to the University of Klagenfurt. Over the course of two financing rounds in 2016 and 2018, the company was able to secure over 40 million dollars in venture capital from international investors. Most recently, Bitmovin was granted up to 20 million euros by the European Investment Bank to finance research and development as well as investments in sales and marketing in the coming years. Market-oriented, forward-looking product development and research at the cutting edge earn Bitmovin awards time and again, such as the “Phoenix” start-up prize in 2016, one of the most prestigious start-up prizes in Austria, with which the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) recognise outstanding research achievements and innovative product ideas.

About Christian Doppler Laboratories

In Christian Doppler Laboratories, application-oriented basic research is carried out at a high level, which involves outstanding scientists cooperating with innovative companies. The Christian Doppler Research Association is internationally regarded as a best-practice example for the promotion of this type of cooperation. Christian Doppler Laboratories are jointly financed by the public sector and the participating companies. The primary public sponsor is the Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW).

About the University of Klagenfurt

Since its foundation in 1970, the University of Klagenfurt has successfully established itself as one of six state universities with a broad range of subjects in Austria. More than 11,600 students pursue their studies and research at the University of Klagenfurt; around 2000 of these are international students. Approximately 1,500 employees strive for top quality in teaching and research. According to the QS World University Rankings (“Top 50 under 50”) the university belongs to the 150 best young universities worldwide. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, which endeavour to rank the top 1,400 universities across the globe, it placed in the 301-350 range. In the discipline of Computer Science, the University of Klagenfurt achieved third place among Austrian universities in the 201-250 range. One of the university’s key research strengths lies in “networked and autonomous systems”.

Monday, February 3, 2020

DCC’20: Fast Multi-Rate Encoding for Adaptive HTTP Streaming

Fast Multi-Rate Encoding for Adaptive HTTP Streaming
Data Compression Conference 2020, March 24 – 27, Cliff Lodge, Snowbird, UT
[PDF] (coming soon)
Hadi Amirpour, Ekrem Çetinkaya (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt), Christian Timmerer (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Bitmovin), and Mohammad Ghanbari (University of Tehran, University of Essex)
Abstract: Adaptive HTTP streaming is the preferred method to deliver multimedia content on the internet. It provides multiple representations of the same content in different qualities (i.e., bit-rates and resolutions) and allows the client to request segments from the available representations in a dynamic, adaptive way depending on its context. The growing number of representations in adaptive HTTP streaming makes encoding of one video segment at different representations a challenging task in terms of encoding time-complexity. In this paper, information of both the highest and lowest quality representations are used to limit Rate-Distortion Optimization (RDO) for each Coding Unit Tree (CTU) in High Efficiency Video Coding. Our proposed method first encodes the highest quality representation and consequently uses it to encode the lowest quality representation. In particular, the block structure and the selected reference frame of both the highest and lowest quality representations are then used to predict and shorten the RDO process of each CTU for intermediate quality representations. Our proposed method introduces a delay of two CTUs thanks to employing parallel processing techniques. Experimental results show a significant reduction in time-complexity over the reference software (38%) and state-of-the-art (10%) is achieved while quality degradation is negligible.
Keywords:  HTTP adaptive streaming, Multi-rate encoding, HEVC, Fast block partitioning

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Technology Scholarships at University of Klagenfurt, Austria

General Information

The positive development of the regional labour market in the ICT sector has resulted in an increasing demand for skilled professionals.

The University of Klagenfurt is responding to this demand by training highly qualified specialists in the ICT sector and awarding the University of Klagenfurt Technology Scholarships, which aim at
  • increasing the number of highly qualified ICT professionals,
  • enhancing diversity in the Federal State of Carinthia and at the University of Klagenfurt,
  • increasing the number of international students at the University of Klagenfurt, and
  • promoting the University of Klagenfurt’s internationalization efforts.
In cooperation with the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Austrian Industries, scholarship holders will be supported in finding a paid internship in the first year of their Master’s degree programme. Scholarship holders shall be enabled to finance the second year of their Master’s degree programme with a paid internship, which is also part of the curriculum.

Based on an agreement with the University of Klagenfurt the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research – OeAD has published the call for applications, will accompany the selection process, award the scholarships and offer its services to the selected scholarship holders before and during their stay in Austria.
(c) tinefoto.com

Target Group

Students who
Area of study:
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science and Business Information Systems
  • Electrical Engineering and Information Engineering

Scholarships

  • Monthly scholarship for the duration of max. 12 months: EUR 650*
  • One-time lump sum for travel costs between EUR 25 and EUR 600
Scholarship holders will be exempted from paying tuition fees for the Master’s degree programme at the University of Klagenfurt.

Scholarship holders will be provided assistance when booking accommodation and applying for student health insurance in Austria

Autority awarding the scholarship: OeAD-GmbH with financial support provided by the University of Klagenfurt.

Quota: maximum 20 scholarships will be awarded for the academic year 2020/2021

Closing date for applications: 01.03.2020 for scholarship holders starting their studies in the winter semester 2020/21 (October 2020)

Application: Exclusively online at https://grants.at
*supplementary grant, own funds are required

Application and Selection Procedure

The following documents have to be uploaded with the online application:
  • Completed application form for admission to one of the Master´s degree programmes listed above
  • For applicants from non-EU countries/regions:
  • Proof of admission to their selected programme of study at a state or state-recognised university in their home country/regions – „eligibility letter“ (does not apply to Master’s degree in Game Studies and Engineering)
  • Bachelor Certificate* and Transcript of Records of Bachelor’s degree programme
  • Complete Bachelor Thesis (copy of original)
  • Abstract of Bachelor Thesis in German or English
  • Proof of English skills**: Level B2 or C1, depending on the desired study programme (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CEFR) – C1 level is required for the Master’s degree in Game Studies and Engineering
  • Scan of passport (data page with name and photo)
  • Two letters of recommendation by university lecturers from the university at which the Bachelor’s degree is being pursued/was earned (stamped by faculty/department).
*In the case that applicants haven’t completed their Bachelor’s degree at the time of application, a Trascript of Records will suffice.

**Information for applicants from Syria: The Austrian Embassy in Damascus indicates that some language tests (TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge) might not be currently available in Syria but only in the neighboring countries.

Please note: Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

The selection process consists of the following stages:
  1. Examination of the formal requirements
  2. Assessment and evaluation of the application by experts (including a Skype interview)
  3. Final decision by the University of Klagenfurt
Please note: The principle of competition applies to all scholarships, i.e. there is no legal entitlement to a scholarship even if all formal application requirements are fulfilled.

Further Information

OeAD scholarship holders will be able to book accommodation in a dormitory with the OeAD Housing Office. The monthly costs for accommodation in Klagenfurt are:
  • monthly rent: approx. EUR 250 to 360*
  • monthly administrative fee: EUR 18*
OeAD scholarship holders need to have health insurance that is accepted by the Austrian authorities for the duration of their stay in Austria. OeAD can support scholarship holders in taking out student insurance with the locally competent Gebietskrankenkasse after entering Austria and enrolling at the higher education institution. The monthly insurance premium is 61,43 Euro*. Scholarship holders have to pay for the costs for accommodation and insurance themselves.

Applicants from third countries/regions (non-EU/EEA countries/regions or Switzerland) may need to provide proof of additional funds to the Austrian residence authority when applying for a “residence permit – student”. The required amount may vary depending on the applicant’s age, individual costs for rent, health insurance and other liabilities.

Please note that scholarship holders are not allowed to take up paid work in Austria while receiving an OeAD scholarship. Paid internships are permitted, as long as they are part of the curriculum and approved by the head of the degree programme and OeAD.

* as of 2020, subject to change without notice

Contact Information

Contact at the OeAD-GmbH: Katharina Engel (e-mail: katharina [dot] engel [at] oead [dot] at)
Contact at the University of Klagenfurt: International Office (e-mail: technology [dot] grants [at] aau [dot] at)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Fourth International Workshop on Quality of Experience Management (QoE- Management 2020) collocated with NetSoft 2020 in Ghent, Belgium

Fourth International Workshop on Quality of Experience Management (QoE-Management)

28th and 29th of June 2020
conjunction with the IEEE Conference on Network Softwarization 2020 (NetSoft 2020)
Gent, Belgium

Recent technological advances have enabled a constant proliferation of novel immersive and interactive services that pose ever-increasing demands to our communication ecosystem. While service and application management has typically been centered around a set of Quality of Service parameters (e.g., packet loss, delay, jitter), there is a clear need to understand and model the impact of management decisions on Quality of Experience (QoE) metrics as perceived by the end-user. To date, a significant amount of research has been devoted to understanding, measuring, and modeling QoE for a variety of media services. The next step is to explore methods that actively exploit such knowledge to improve and manage the quality of multimedia services, while at the same time ensuring efficient and cost-effective network operations. Moreover, with many different players involved in the end-to-end service delivery chain, identifying the root causes of QoE impairments and finding effective solutions for meeting the end-users' requirements and expectations in terms of service quality is a challenging and complex problem.

QoE-Management 2020 aims at providing an international forum for researchers addressing emerging concepts and challenges related to managing QoE for networked services. The workshop addresses QoE management in the context of ongoing developments, such as the move to 5G and virtualized networks; the exploitation of big data analytics and machine learning in the domains of QoE modeling and monitoring; and solutions targeting emerging complex, interactive, and immersive service scenarios. In order to encourage collaboration, the workshop is distributed in two days: seminar and workshop paper presentations.

  • 28/06/2020: Seminar. Researchers with expertise in different areas of QoE research will sit together to brainstorm on different topics.
  • 29/06/2020: Workshop papers presentation. Original full and short paper presentations and a motivating keynote will thoroughly explore this challenging topic.

Topics of interest: SDN, NFV, and QoE; QoE-aware network and application management; Characterization and modeling of QoE; QoE monitoring and measurement, QoE oriented coding; Quality management applied to different business sectors and use cases; Experimental approaches for QoE management. In addition, we encourage the submission of novel, provocative ideas or late-breaking results that have the potential to generate lively debate and new perspectives as short papers or Seminar topics.

Important dates:
  • Paper submission deadline: February 15, 2020; March 2nd (extension)
  • Acceptance notification: March 23, 2020
  • Camera-ready papers: April 6, 2020
For the Seminar topics:

  • Topic submission deadline: May 15, 2020
  • Acceptance notification: June 1, 2020

Authors should submit their papers and seminar topics electronically via the EDAS online submission system.

For more information, you can visit the QoE-Management workshop website and the NetSoft conference website.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top-10 Blog Posts of 2019

Here's my top-10 list of blog posts of 2019 starting with a figure showing the overview of the number of views in 2019.

Overview of the number of views in 2019.
Interestingly, almost all blog posts have been published in 2019 except one but see below...

1. Post-Doctoral Research Positions in "Adaptive Streaming over HTTP and Emerging Networked Multimedia Services"

In this blog post, I was searching for post-docs as part of the ATHENA project, which actually started in October 2019. I'm very happy with the responses I've received but at the moment I'm no longer searching for post-docs. However, feel free to check the web site of the ATHENA project for updates.

2. ACMMM'19 Tutorial: A Journey towards Fully Immersive Media Access

The blog post related to my tutorial (together with Ali Begen) at ACM Multimedia 2019 provides an overview, link to the PDF summary as archived in the ACM digital library, and the slides. I hope you all find it useful and I'm happy receiving your comments, feedback, and suggestions for future tutorials in this research area.

3. Mobile data traffic report and forecast 2017-2022

This blog post is about the mobile data traffic report and forecast which basically confirms the trend that video traffic is also rising on mobile networks. It also reveals that Quality of Experience (QoE) is becoming more and more relevant to stakeholders in this area.

4. Doctoral Student Positions in "Adaptive Streaming over HTTP and Emerging Networked Multimedia Services"

Similar to the blog post with the highest number of views, this blog post was about doctoral students for the ATHENA project. I'm organizing a summer school in 2020, which could be relevant to some of you...

5. Open Source Scalable Video Coding (SVC) Software

This is a blog post from more than 10 years ago, which provides an overview of SVC open source projects. I believe that the reference software is still the most reliable source here but readers might be also interested in HEVC Scalability Extension (SHVC) which comes also with a reference software.

6. ACM NOSSDAV'19: Bandwidth Prediction in Low-Latency Chunked Streaming

In this blog post, I provide an overview of our NOSSDAV 2019 paper about our low-latency HAS approach using DASH and CMAF. It comprises the abstract, the link to the PDF in the ACM digital library, and the slides. Low-latency has been identified as a major issue in OTT/HAS, which is also highlighted in Bitmovin's video developer report.

7. QoMEX'19: Tile-based Streaming of 8K Omnidirectional Video: Subjective and Objective QoE Evaluation

This blog post is about our QoMEX 2019 paper and provides the abstract, the link to the PDF, and the slides. It targets tile-based streaming of 8K 360-degree videos and presents results from both objective and subjective evaluations. VR and specifically 360-degree videos are highly relevant application domains both in academia and industry and, thus, such evaluations are helpful when designing and developing these applications and services.

8. DASH-IF awarded Best PhD Dissertation on Algorithms and Protocols for Adaptive Content Delivery over the Internet

This blog post is the actual press release of the first DASH-IF  best PhD dissertation award and I can highly recommend reading all theses of all three winners which are (1) Enabling Optimizations of Video Delivery in HTTP Adaptive Streaming, (2) Low-Latency Delivery of Adaptive Video Streaming Services, and (3) Achieving High Performance Content Streaming with Adaptive Chunklets and Active Queue Management. Further details about DASH-IF's academic track can be found here and it is expected that ACM MMSys 2020 will come up with a DASH-IF award.

9. ACMMM'19: Towards 6DoF HTTP Adaptive Streaming Through Point Cloud Compression

In this blog post, I provide an overview of our ACM Multimedia 2019 full paper related to HAS for video-based PCC which comprises the abstract, the link to the paper in the ACM digital library, and the slides. Point cloud compression is a new MPEG standard and in this paper, we investigated the dynamic adaptive streaming thereof including extensive evaluations of various heuristics.

10. ACM MMSys 2020 Research Track - Call for Papers

The last blog post (in the 2019 top-10 list) is about the call for papers for ACM MMSys 2020. I can only highly recommend you to attend this event and there are many opportunities for submitting papers (i.e., research track, demo and industry track, open dataset and software, workshops, challenges). I hope to see you all next year at MMSys'20 in Instanbul!

Finally, I'd like to provide a screenshot of my all-time top-10 blog posts, mostly about HAS and DASH (hmm, interestingly but also unsurprising;). By the way, in my recent MPEG report, there's a status update about DASH.

All-time top-10 blog posts.

... and with this, I wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2020 with a list of events in 2020 that are highly relevant for this blog:

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Overview of predictions for media, entertainment, and video delivery in 2020

As we're approaching the end of 2019 one may have noticed various articles describing predictions for media, entertainment, and video delivery in 2020. The goal of this article is providing a collection of such articles rather than yet another set of predictions. Hopefully, this leads to a broader picture of what to expect in 2020. Please feel free providing additional articles as comments ...

Sep 23, 2019: 8 Entertainment Tech Trends (CES.tech)
  1. Subscription streaming video services continue to grow
  2. Streaming media players unit sales are catching up to traditional set-top boxes
  3. Streaming device sales have replaced disc players, but disc legacy remains
  4. Smart TVs continue to grow
  5. 4K is beginning to get big
  6. Gaming is bigger than you think
  7. 5G is about to land
  8. VR and AR may finally realize their potential

Dec 9, 2019: Top 10 Predictions For Media & Tech In 2020 (Forbes)
  1. “The Great Streaming Wars” and global subscription video on demand (SVOD) land grab are finally fully “on” after years of anticipation.
  2. As cords continue to cut amidst these SVOD wars (or never connect in the first place), advertisers scramble for new ways to reach and effectively engage with audiences on and off TV screens.
  3. Mega media-tech M&A comes to a crawl (for now) in the wake of Viacom’s acquisition of CBS.
  4. Once maligned streaming again drives double-digit growth for the music industry.
  5. 2020 finally gives vision to augmented reality (AR) and its ultimate mass commercial appeal.
  6. 5G networks launch in earnest and 5G compatible smartphones (including Apple’s next iPhone) enter the market.
  7. Warnings grow about an eSports bubble, but smart money plays the long e-game as 5G fueled cross-platform and cloud-based mobile gaming accelerate.
  8. Artificial Intelligence (AI) accelerates its game-changing ways in the world of media and entertainment.
  9. Real, not virtual, live “experiences” also increasingly find their way into multi-platform media strategies, driven by a growing counter-movement to digital’s frequently heads down isolation.
  10. “Fake news” (including AI-driven “deepfakes”) overrun 2020’s U.S. elections and cause unprecedented societal disruption.
  1. 5G for media delivery
  2. AI spreads across the workflow
  3. Live streaming at scale in real-time
  4. Hybrid delivery: Get the best from broadcast and OTT for an improved QoE
  5. 8K content streaming
  1. OTT Rising
  2. Live Streaming Still Social Media Turf
  3. Mobile Is Now the Preferred Channel
  4. Extended Business Applications
  5. Fragmentation of OTT Content
  6. Music Streaming Displaces Radio
  7. Streaming Trends by Industry
  8. IOT Video Streaming
  1. Bringing AI to the device: Edge AI chips come into their own
  2. Robots on the move: Professional service robots set for double-digit growth
  3. Private 5G networks: Enterprise untethered
  4. High speed from low orbit: A broadband revolution or a bunch of space junk?
  5. The smartphone multiplier: Toward a trillion-dollar economy
  6. My antennae are tingling: Terrestrial TV’s surprising staying power
  7. Coming to a CDN near you: Videos, games, and much, much more
  8. Ad-supported video: Will the United States follow Asia’s lead?
  9. The ears have it: The rise of audiobooks and podcasting
  10. Cycling’s technological transformation: Making bicycling faster, easier, and safer
Dec 23, 2019: Video Borat's КазакФликс 2020 predictions, click on the Twitter thread below for further details... ;)

          Wednesday, November 27, 2019

          MPEG news: a report from the 128th meeting, Geneva, Switzerland

          The original blog post can be found at the Bitmovin Techblog and has been modified/updated here to focus on and highlight research aspects. Additionally, this version of the blog post will be also posted at ACM SIGMM Records.

          The 128th MPEG meeting concluded on October 11, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland with the following topics:
          • Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding (LCEVC) Promoted to Committee Draft
          • 2nd Edition of Omnidirectional Media Format (OMAF) has reached the first milestone
          • Genomic Information Representation – Part 4 Reference Software and Part 5 Conformance Promoted to Draft International Standard
          The corresponding press release of the 128th MPEG meeting can be found here: https://mpeg.chiariglione.org/meetings/128.
          In this report we will focus on video coding aspects (i.e., LCEVC) and immersive media applications (i.e., OMAF). At the end, we will provide an update related to adaptive streaming (i.e., DASH and CMAF).

          Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding

          Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding (LCEVC) has been promoted to committee draft (CD) which is the first milestone in the ISO/IEC standardization process. LCEVC is part two of MPEG-5 or ISO/IEC 23094-2 if you prefer the always easy-to-remember ISO codes. We introduced MPEG-5 already in previous posts and LCEVC is about a standardized video coding solution that leverages other video codecs in a manner that improves video compression efficiency while maintaining or lowering the overall encoding and decoding complexity.
          The LCEVC standard uses a lightweight video codec to add up to two layers of encoded residuals. The aim of these layers is correcting artefacts produced by the base video codec and adding detail and sharpness for the final output video.
          The target of this standard comprises software or hardware codecs with extra processing capabilities, e.g., mobile devices, set top boxes (STBs), and personal computer based decoders. Additional benefits are the reduction in implementation complexity or a corresponding expansion in spatial resolution.
          LCEVC is based on existing codecs which allows for backwards-compatibility with existing deployments. Supporting LCEVC enables “softwareized” video coding allowing for release and deployment options known from software-based solutions which are well understood by software companies and, thus, opens new opportunities in improving and optimizing video-based services and applications.
          Research aspects: in video coding, research efforts are mainly related to coding efficiency and complexity (as usual). However, as MPEG-5 basically adds a software layer on top of what is typically implemented in hardware, all kind of aspects related to software engineering could become an active area of research.

          Omnidirectional Media Format

          The scope of the Omnidirectional Media Format (OMAF) is about 360° video, images, audio and associated timed text and specifies (i) a coordinate system, (ii) projection and rectangular region-wise packing methods, (iii) storage of omnidirectional media and the associated metadata using ISOBMFF, (iv) encapsulation, signaling and streaming of omnidirectional media in DASH and MMT, and (v) media profiles and presentation profiles.
          At this meeting, the second edition of OMAF (ISO/IEC 23090-2) has been promoted to committee draft (CD) which includes
          • support of improved overlay of graphics or textual data on top of video,
          • efficient signaling of videos structured in multiple sub parts,
          • enabling more than one viewpoint, and
          • new profiles supporting dynamic bitstream generation according to the viewport.
          As for the first edition, OMAF includes encapsulation and signaling in ISOBMFF as well as streaming of omnidirectional media (DASH and MMT). It will reach its final milestone by the end of 2020.
          360° video is certainly a vital use case towards a fully immersive media experience. Devices to capture and consume such content are becoming increasingly available and will probably contribute to the dissemination of this type of content. However, it is also understood that the complexity increases significantly, specifically with respect to large-scale, scalable deployments due to increased content volume/complexity, timing constraints (latency), and quality of experience issues.
          Research aspects: understanding the increased complexity of 360° video or immersive media in general is certainly an important aspect to be addressed towards enabling applications and services in this domain. We may even start thinking that 360° video actually works (e.g., it's possible to capture, upload to YouTube and consume it on many devices) but the devil is in the detail in order to handle this complexity in an efficient way to enable seamless and high quality of experience.

          DASH and CMAF

          The 4th edition of DASH (ISO/IEC 23009-1) will be published soon and MPEG is currently working towards a first amendment which will be about (i) CMAF support and (ii) event processing model. An overview of all DASH standards is depicted in the figure below, notably part one of MPEG-DASH referred to as media presentation description and segment formats.
          The 2nd edition of the CMAF standard (ISO/IEC 23000-19) will become available very soon and MPEG is currently reviewing additional tools in the so-called technologies under considerations document as well as conducting various explorations. A working draft for additional media profiles is also under preparation.
          Research aspects: with CMAF, low-latency supported is added to DASH-like applications and services. However, the implementation specifics are actually not defined in the standard and subject to competition (e.g., here). Interestingly, the Bitmovin video developer reports from both 2018 and 2019 highlight the need for low-latency solutions in this domain.
          At the ACM Multimedia Conference 2019 in Nice, France I gave a tutorial entitled “A Journey towards Fully Immersive Media Access” which includes updates related to DASH and CMAF. The slides are available here.

          Outlook 2020

          Finally, let me try giving an outlook for 2020, not so much content-wise but events planned for 2020 that are highly relevant for this column:
          ... and many more!