Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Keynote@TEMU'08: MPEG-21 for Integrated E2E Management enabling QoS

At today's opening day of TEMU'08 I was pleased to give a keynote on "The MPEG-21 Multimedia Framework for Integrated Management of Environments enabling Quality of Service".
A summary is given below. Interestingly, a question from the auditorium was whether these description formats are somehow used by the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). The answer was no as there are currently no standardized means to transport MPEG metadata (this is true for both MPEG-7 and MPEG-21) using IETF-based protocols. However, there have been projects transporting these metadata formats, e.g., using HTTP, SDP(ng), RTP, etc., but this has not been recognized by the IETF so far or proponents of these implementations were not able to bring them to the appropriate working groups of IETF (for whatever reasons...).

Summary/Abstract of my talk [PDF]
The information revolution of the last decade has resulted in a phenomenal increase in the quantity of content (including multimedia content) available to an increasing number of different users with different preferences who access it through a plethora of devices and over heterogeneous networks. End devices range from mobile phones to high definition TVs, access networks can be as diverse as GSM and broadband networks, and the various backbone networks are different in bandwidth and Quality of Service (QoS) support. In addition, users have different content/presentation preferences and intend to consume the content at different locations, times, and under altering circumstances.

In order to become the vision as indicated above reality substantial research and standardization efforts have been undertaken which are collectively referred to as Universal Multimedia Access (UMA). An important and comprehensive standard in this field is the MPEG-21 Multimedia Framework, formally referred to as ISO/IEC 21000. The aim of MPEG-21 is to enable transparent and augmented use of multimedia resources across a wide range of networks, devices, user preferences, and communities, notably for trading (of bits). In particular, it shall enable the transaction of Digital Items among Users. A Digital Item is defines as a structured digital object with a standard representation and metadata and is the fundamental unit of transaction and distribution within the MPEG-21 multimedia framework. A User (please note the upper case “U”) is defined as any entity that interacts within this framework or makes use of Digital Items. The MPEG-21 standard currently comprises 17 parts which can be clustered into six major categories each dealing with different aspect of the Digital Items: declaration (and identification), digital rights management, adaptation, processing, systems, and miscellaneous aspects (i.e., reference software, conformance, etc.). The talk will present and review these concepts with the emphasize on providing universal access to multimedia contents independent of the User's location, time, and other usage environment conditions.

Several projects funded by the European Commission (EC) – among them are DANAE and ENTHRONE (blog) worth to mention – have implemented and integrated (parts of) the MPEG-21 standard in order to demonstrate its feasibility. The aim of the DANAE Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) was to develop scalable coding formats and an MPEG-21-based end-to-end architecture comprising a server, client, and adaptation node (all MPEG-21-enabled) which allows for dynamic and distributed adaptation of scalable media formats. On the other hand, the objectives of the ENTHRONE Integrated Project (IP) are to provide an integrated management solution enabling QoS within heterogeneous environments based on MPEG-21 and to demonstrate the ENTHRONE solution in a large-scale pilot. Therefore, the talk will review ENTHRONE's contribution to the UMA issue and will demonstrate how the MPEG-21 concepts are adopted on a broader scale.

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