Video conferencing technology has vastly improved over the last several years creating new market opportunities and opening a significantly larger addressable market compared with 2-3 years ago. As mentioned in Frost & Sullivan’s 2013 “Best Practices Research Report,” Vidyo has developed a platform that enabled this growth, and has benefited from the innovations it has brought to the market. Among them is H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC).
The recent approval of H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC and SVC Modes Version 1.0 specification from the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCI Forum) is an important milestone for the entire industry. It is the first step towards offering better video communication to customers by enabling them to deploy mixed-vendor solutions with confidence. The approved specification is also great news for Vidyo, as our customers have repeatedly asked for interoperability. The approval of this specification widens the doorway to seamless interoperability at the media level, as SVC is adopted by more and more vendors.
Vidyo has always been an advocate for SVC and, in fact, helped lay the initial groundwork for the original H.264 SVC specification. Vidyo engineers worked closely within standard development groups such as the ITU-T, MPEG, and the IETF, and even co-wrote parts of the SVC specifications. H.264 SVC technology folds seamlessly into today’s videoconferencing architectures and addresses several issues surrounding visual communications on unreliable networks.
H.264 SVC is an international standard. The large number of options and configuration choices, however, hinders interoperation between products from different vendors. The goal of the UCI Forum H.264 AVC & SVC Modes specification is to provide detailed guidance as to what operating modes and capabilities are required of both decoders and encoders, in order to enable interoperability. The specification that was just completed is the first step: it concerns the video bitstream format only and was developed as a joint effort of the membership of the H.264/SVC Task Group of UCI Forum. As a result, the H.264/SVC specification is not the product of a single vendor, but rather represents the consensus of several different H.264 SVC implementors.
As more companies realize H.264 SVC’s value in addressing market needs, you are sure to see the SVC adoption rise. In fact many companies have begun to adopt SVC in one form or another just this past year. Vidyo has been steadfast in its commitment to facilitating interoperability of the H.264 SVC standard for over six years. Our VidyoRouter architecture, which features H.264 SVC and Adaptive Video Layering, is being embraced by more and more customers from a variety of markets due to the many unique benefits it offers: exceptional quality, highly scalable, affordable video conferencing, accessible via any network using any device, just for starters. We now have thousands of customers using Vidyo’s technology and our 3rd generation video communications products, who enjoy the benefits of this groundbreaking architecture every single day.
We are dedicated to continuing this pursuit into the future and to making this vital technology available to all. So keep an eye on H.264 SVC as more work is underway to enable interoperability at the transport and signaling levels.
Dr. Alex Eleftheriadis, is Chief Scientist and co-founder of Vidyo. Alex drives the technical vision and direction for Vidyo and also represents the company on standardization committees and technical advisory boards. He is an award-winning researcher, bringing over 19 years of research experience in video compression and communications to his role at Vidyo. Prior to Vidyo he was an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. Alex has more than 100 publications, holds 15 patents, has served as the Editor of the MPEG-4 Systems specification and Co-Editor of the H.264 SVC Conformance specification, and is currently Co-Editor of IETF’s RTP Payload Format for SVC.