InterDigital releases report on streaming video delivery

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
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ABI Research Study Highlights Role of Edge-Cloud Computing, Video Codec Improvement in Support of VR, AR, and Next-Gen Streaming Services

  • With even moderate growth in streaming straining current cell theoretical limits and networks, InterDigital-commissioned study shows path forward for delivering future technologies

WILMINGTON, Del. — InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDCC), a mobile and video technology research and development company, today released a study revealing new use cases, and network challenges, in the next-generation video streaming ecosystem. The Streaming Media Report, a new report from ABI Research and commissioned by InterDigital, outlines how the advent of streaming media use cases like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and cloud gaming is increasingly pushing data boundaries, while edge computing, multicasting, and more efficient codecs present vital solutions to this video-driven future.

According to the report, media will represent over 70% of all internet traffic within the next few years. In addition to data-intensive video streaming, networks will also have to contend with media services beyond OTT video, including VR, AR and cloud gaming. As video’s capabilities evolve from HD on a device to next-generation VR headsets, the data requirements will grow a staggering 700%, calling into question the existing network capacity to handle video. The report found that simply doubling the number of users engaging with high-quality video content in a single cell network may push the network to its theoretical limit, driving the need for new solutions to address the capacity crunch.

“Today the demand for video is insatiable. We are seeing new smartphones come to market, with larger screens and even foldable screens to enhance the mobile viewing experience; we are seeing VR gain more traction and become mainstream; and eSports is a phenomenon that continues to grow by the minute. Combine that with the ever-increasing number of OTT and streaming services that are hitting the market, and it is clear that the appetite for video content shows no signs of slowing down,” said Laurent Depersin, R&I Senior Lab Director at InterDigital. “4G networks simply cannot handle the sheer volume of internet traffic these streaming use cases bring. With the mainstream deployment of 5G not expected for some years, we need technologies that are able to bridge this gap and support the bandwidth and low latency demands in the short-term. Edge computing, multicasting and more efficient codecs all have a valuable role to play, enabling consumers to enjoy these services now, rather than in years to come.”

The large volume of data required for future media applications, coupled with growing user bases and the demand for low latency, will give rise to network issues, particularly as users move between 4G and 5G networks. The report identifies the following technologies as instrumental to the implementation of VR, AR, cloud gaming, and other streaming use cases in the near-term:

  • Edge computing enables the distribution of processing capabilities throughout a network to allow mobile service providers to process data locally, break out traffic, and cache traffic more efficiently. Edge computing can reduce latencies, as well as reduce unnecessary backhaul and core network inefficiencies by ‘frontloading’ content to sites where content is consumed, rather than transmitting content from the distant cloud.
  • More efficient codecs may not eliminate potential bottlenecks and congestion from high peak demands, but they will help reduce the bandwidth requirements and the overall network load across larger volumes of streaming and cloud services.
  • Multicasting enables the distribution of content to a group of devices streaming immersive video in a way that greatly reduces the data demands on the network.
  • Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology, one of the major improvements to 5G NR, can spatially separate groups of users and effectively double the spectral efficiency of a system, a paramount improvement for new streaming media use cases.

In addition to the report release, InterDigital will host a webinar on Wednesday, December 18th at 11:00am ET titled “Visual Technologies: Can the Current Approach Deliver on the User Experience of the Future?” The webinar will feature perspectives from ABI researcher and report co-author Dimitris Mavrakis, as well as InterDigital’s Senior Lab Director Laurent Depersin and Blacknut CEO Olivier Avaro, as they debate our current network capacity to support the growing demand, changing data and latency requirements, and ever-increasing quality and quantity for future streaming video.