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video file versions, which are then broken up into smaller fragments. Te server is then burdened with switching between these smaller pieces for streaming to each individual client. Such an approach not only increases storage, but can also create a bottleneck for server-side scaling, making it difficult to respond to the needs of a large pool of clients on different devices across fluctuating network conditions.” Te SMP is a comprehensive scalable

multimedia platform that leverages the latest ISO/IEC H.264 (SVC) scalable video coding standard, which is the scalable extension of the popular H.264 (AVC) standard. Te single compressed video file comprises multiple layers, including a base layer and multiple enhancement layers. Tam draws on the analogy of an onion to describe the base layer residing at the core, with each additional enhancement layer successively improving the spatial resolu- tion, picture quality, and video playback frame rate. “Using a single scalable video file — a

layered ‘onion’ — our SMP streaming server can dynamically ‘peel’ and deliver only the appropriate video layers to the re- spective clients,” says Tam. “For example, a smartphone can receive only the base layer and play back a mobile resolution version of the video. A tablet can receive the base layer and one enhancement layer to ren- der a higher spatial resolution version. A high-definition television can receive even more enhancement layers of the ‘onion’ and display a full high-definition version of the same video at full frame-rate and the highest quality.” By effectively scaling down the need

for data storage space, as well as reducing labor costs associated with file transcoding and management, SMP is an affordable technology that lends itself particularly well to digital archiving, for example at libraries, galleries, museums and heritage sites. Reachfield IT Solutions is continuing to promote the technology to their exist- ing customers, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board, and the National Archives of Singapore.

Anytime, anywhere, for any device

Due to the adaptive and affordable nature of the SMP, there are many promising ave- nues to apply SMP technology in schools


The A*STAR team of researchers who developed the Scalable Multimedia Platform, led by Principal Investigator Jo Yew Tham (third from right)

and e-learning networks. Trough the

tie-up with Reachfield IT Solutions, SMP is being deployed for a next-generation ‘lecture-on-demand’ system as part of an online learning portal being trialled at the National University of Singapore (NUS) High School of Mathematics and Science. “With SMP, teachers can easily upload

new teaching video content to a cutting- edge lecture-on-demand system,” explains Tam. “Each video is automatically trans- coded into one scalable video file at the server backend. Te scalable streaming serv- er then effortlessly delivers the appropriate scalable video version to the students who can choose to view it on any device — PC, tablet or phone. Tis allows teachers to focus on creating the best teaching materials and leave it to SMP to create a seamless view- ing experience for the students — anytime, anywhere and over any networks.” Te advantages SMP offers to the edu-

cational sector are also applicable to other spheres of society and industry. Online communication portals are becoming

Live encode once with A*SMP

Total size: 5 units

Broadcaster One system

Save uplink bandwidth


One scalable file

scalable stream Adaptive streaming to

One intelligent SMP clients

The SMP technology allows a video source to be encoded just once for playback on a range of different client devices, offering an adap- tive, intelligent solution that increases quality of experience for end users

PC/Tablet Mobile

increasingly important in hospitals, in corporate broadcasting, live webcasts and other on-demand training and testing systems. Te scalable technology also has exciting applications for video multicast- ing, for example, for live coverage of news and sports events. “Our focus now is on live multi-camera event multicasting,” says Tam. “Tis will allow end-users to choose a personalized combination of ‘picture-in- picture’ live video camera views, even if each camera view is at a different display resolu- tion. Non-scalable video solutions currently on the market cannot achieve this without resorting to simulcasting, which is very expensive and creates issues for the server backend. Using SMP, the service provider need only encode each live video feed once in a scalable fashion and upstream one scal- able video file to provide a seamless viewing experience for heterogeneous end users.” In addition to video-on-demand and

live broadcasting, I²R aims to expand the capabilities of SMP progressively to other applications, including video security sur- veillance and high-quality video conferenc- ing. By identifying strategic partnerships and licensing new technologies, A*STAR continues to develop a wide range of inno- vative solutions that are helping companies to enhance their growth strategies. “Reachfield is a good example of how an

SME can effectively make use of promis- ing homegrown technology to grow their business,” says Philip Lim, CEO of Exploit Technologies


Ltd. “We encourage

more of Singapore’s 154,000 SMEs to come forward and work with A*STAR. Tere are plenty of other good sciences ready for more of you to springboard to greater heights!”


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