The potential of the AV1 coding format and the role of cloud native CDN in managing unexpected surges in demand are among the subjects being tackled in Intel’s IBC SHOWCASE sessions, writes David Davies.
The trend for what Lynn A. Comp – Intel’s Vice-President, Data Center Group, and General Manager, Visual Cloud Division, Network Platforms Group – describes as “the continuing exponential growth in visual workloads” has been in progress for many years now. But with much of the world currently spending significantly more time indoors as a result of Covid-19, it seems certain that the trend is now accelerating.
Across business sectors and platforms, people are “thinking seriously about ther workloads and the use of video formats to interact with their audiences. Then there is the [dramatic rise] in the number of subscribers for services such as Netflix – which last year recorded a total of 158m subscribers – and how streaming is growing in different countries,” says Comp.
All of which means that the need for responsive content delivery is becoming even more acute. Intel believes that cloud native CDN is a major part of solving this challenge, hence the involvement of Rakuten Director MEC and CDN Devesh Gautam and Intel Principal Engineer Tushar Gohad in an IBC SHOWCASE session entitled ‘A case for cloud native CDN’ (September 8, 16:00-16:45, register here).
“The whole issue of cloud native CDN involves the same kind of questions that surround network architectures – for instance, how can you build something that is agile and responsive enough to accommodate changes in demand on a moment’s notice,” says Comp.
“The reason that there is now so much interest in cloud native CDN is that it holds a lot of potential transformation of the network and the ability to dynamically scale your infrastructure. No one can be quite sure when spikes in demand will occur, but cloud native CDN makes it much easier to respond to them quickly.”
Following a popular panel session at IBC 2019, Intel is also returning to the subject of AV1 – the open, royalty-free video coding technology. This year’s session will address the commercial readiness of AV1, following on from the August formation by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) of the AOMedia Software Implementation Working Group (SWIG). A member-driven initiative to aid the creation of AOMedia AV1 products and services, the SWIG will use the Scalable Video Technology for AV1 (SVT-AV1) encoder developed by Intel in collaboration with AOMedia member Netflix.
Taking place on September 8 (17:00-17:45, register here], the session will be moderated by Intel Fellow and Chief Media Architect Jill Boyce, with contributions by speakers from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix and Tencent. Now that the principles of AV1 are more widely understood, there is scope for discussion about “the benefits of having AV1-compliant products and solutions deployed out there. We are already seeing AV1 being utilised for some exciting projects, and we look forward to exploring some of these in this session,” says Comp.
Volumetric VOD is another area in which Intel has been highly active, including the 2019 publication of a detailed white paper. For Intel’s remaining IBC SHOWCASE session, ‘Volumetric: Capture, Optimize and Stream’ (September 8, 15:00-15:45, register here), Evercoast CEO Ben Nunez will join Dusty Robbins, Intel’s Director, Immersive Media Segment, to discuss the two companies’ collaboration on the development of a complete Volumetric VOD capture and delivery system that’s accessible at the Edge over 5G on ioS devices with the ARKit API.
The dramatically reduced ability to undertake live sports events in the time of Coronavirus is also inspiring increased activity in this area, while “the work of Tiledmedia with Mediakind and FocalPoint to deliver a true E2E 360 global experience ‘in a box’ is a sign of market readiness,” suggests Comp.
Intel has also recently introduced the new Intel Server GPU – the company’s first Xe architecture-based discrete GPU for data centres, supporting unified open source software. The company says this GPU is especially well-suited to high-density, low-latency Android cloud gaming and high-density media transcoding/encoding for real-time OTT video streaming.
With Intel continuing to make substantial investments in software to deliver “best bit-rate efficiency” for multiple codecs that underpin premium services, it is evident that current challenges will equate to even greater expectations of software-driven innovation that allow broadcasters to respond to market changes more rapidly.
“It’s about giving broadcasters the agility to deliver new visual or user experiences,” says Comp. “That means a gradual movement away from hardware-defined appliances to more general purpose functionality. Similar to the transition other workloads have experienced, there will still be situations when the processing requirements or availability of adequate resources such as bandwidth demand dedicated hardware. But overall there will be an accelerating transition to more general purpose [methods of operation] so that customers can benefit from all the flexibility and agility that software allows them.”
To learn about Intel’s Visual Cloud solutions, including white papers, blogs, case studies and videos visit www.intel.com/visualcloud.
- For more information on the Intel sessions taking place as part of the IBC SHOWCASE, please visit https://www.ibc.org/ibcshowcase/programmes/showcase-programmes/day-1.