Saturday, January 6, 2018

What to care about in multimedia communication in 2018?

In the past days/weeks you may have witness a high number of forecasts/predictions for 2018, like this one here. I'm not so good at predictions and we all learned these days to be careful about speculation. Thus, my focus here is on things to care about in 2018.

MPEG and VCEG are working towards a new video coding standard (naming, number scheme yet to be defined) and the call for proposals is out. Responses will be evaluated by the 122nd MPEG meeting in April 2018 (San Diego, CA, USA) and a new standard is expected to be available in late 2020. The main focus of the CfP is (i) 360-degree omnidirectional video, (ii) high-dynamic range (HDR), (iii) wide colour gamut (WCG), and (iv) conventional standard-dynamic-range camera content. The goal is -- simple, as usual -- compress digital video content, i.e., twice as much as you did before with the same video quality, e.g., as HEVC, or get higher quality with the same number of bits (or a combination thereof). Initial, preliminary results indicate this goal is feasible and everyone is looking forward to the MPEG meeting in April; certainly a place to be.

In addition to what MPEG/VCEG is doing, the Alliance for Open Media gained significant attention with its AV1 codec, first demos are available, and recently also Apple joined AOM. AV1 is not longer controlled by a single company, and, thus, it is becoming a real alternative in the video coding landscape, specifically for the streaming market. The nice thing, it's open source and royalty-free! In other words, one should not neglect AV1 and I think we will see many, hopefully good news in 2018.

On this topic, you might be interested in reading this and this.

What about DASH in 2018? We will see a 3rd edition of MPEG-DASH, the DASH-IF will further work on interoperability points, and I expect further convergence of DASH and HLS towards CMAF. However, I also expect minor changes for the main, common use cases utilizing the core technology of HTTP adaptive streaming. Changes, if any, will be transparent to most of us. On the other hand, immersive media and user engagement will become more and more important as more services are delivered over the top leading to more content becoming available to end users, thus, increasing competition among providers, vendors, etc. As a consequence, (a) content, (b) quality, and (c) costs will be important aspects, whereby (a+c) are "easy to sell" but (b) is still difficult to quantify (and "sell") with many open issues to solve in the (near) future.

Before drifting off to forecasts and predictions, I'd like to conclude with a list of scientific events in 2018 which are worthwhile to attend:
  • QoMEX -- Int'l Conf. on Quality of Multimedia Experience -- will be hosted in Sardinia, Italy from May 29-31, which is THE conference to be for QoE of multimedia applications and services. Submission deadline is January 15/22, 2018.
  • MMSys -- Multimedia Systems Conf. -- and specifically Packet Video, which will be on June 12 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Packet Video is THE adaptive streaming scientific event 2018. Submission deadline is March 1, 2018.
  • Additionally, you might be interested in ICME (July 23-27, 2018, San Diego, USA; I'm part of a tutorial there;), ICIP (October 7-10, 2018, Athens, Greece; specifically in the context of video coding), and PCS (June 24-27, 2018, San Francisco, CA, USA; also in the context of video coding).
  • The DASH-IF academic track hosts special events at MMSys (Excellence in DASH Award) and ICME (DASH Grand Challenge).
  • MIPR -- 1st Int'l Conf. on Multimedia Information Processing and Retrieval -- will be in Miami, Florida, USA from April 10-12, 2018. It has a broad range of topics including networking for multimedia systems as well as systems and infrastructures.

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