Bitmovin and the University of Klagenfurt Collaborate on Innovative Video Transmission Technology

Klagenfurt, Austria / 21 January 2020 – Bitmovin, a world leader in online video technology, is teaming up with the University of Klagenfurt and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW) in a multi-million Euro research project to uncover techniques that will enhance the video streaming experiences of the future.

© aau/Waschnig

The joint project establishes a dedicated research team to investigate potential new tools and methodologies for encoding, transport and playback of live and on-demand video using the HTTP Adaptive Streaming protocol that is widely used by online video and TV providers. The resulting findings will help empower the creation of next-generation solutions for higher quality video experiences at lower latency, while also potentially reducing storage and distribution costs.

Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, sees great potential for the future in the development of technologies of this kind: “Video represents 60% of the Internet data volume and, correspondingly, the potential for optimization and resource conservation is enormous. At the same time, the Christian Doppler Laboratory contributes to the development of high-tech in Carinthia, secures jobs and draws qualified personnel to the region. A win-win situation for companies, science and society.”

Fierce competition increases the need for innovation

“The partnership with the University of Klagenfurt allows us to investigate the basic building blocks of video delivery in greater detail. This will help us to remain in pole position in the years ahead”, as Christopher Müller, CTO at Bitmovin states. Christian Timmerer, Associate Professor at the Institute of Information Technology (ITEC) at the University of Klagenfurt and Laboratory Director, goes on to explain: “Increasing competition between online video providers will accelerate the need for innovation. We continuously strive to maintain the optimum balance between cost, quality of user experience and increasing complexity of content.”

Ministry of Economic Affairs provides support through the Christian Doppler Research Association

The Christian Doppler Laboratory ATHENA is jointly funded by Bitmovin and the Christian Doppler Research Association, whose primary public sponsor is the Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs. The budget for 7 years of research is approx. 4.5 million Euros, with the public sector providing roughly 2.7 million of this total. Martin Gerzabek, President of the Christian Doppler Research Association, sees great potential for cooperation between science and industry, as in this case: “ATHENA is our first Christian Doppler Laboratory at the University of Klagenfurt. We are very pleased about the expansion of our funding model, which facilitates cooperation between outstanding science and innovative companies on an equal footing. We congratulate the University of Klagenfurt on this great success and confidently look forward to further CD labs and JR centres in the region.”

According to Oliver Vitouch, Rector of the University of Klagenfurt, “ATHENA offers a fantastic opportunity for further pioneering developments in global leading-edge technologies. Video streaming has permeated our everyday lives; most of us use it on a daily basis. This lab of the future is an ideal blend of research and innovation”. In Klagenfurt, members of the Institute for Information Technology have been working on the development of innovative multimedia technology for around 20 years. Bitmovin, which operates on a global scale and maintains sites on three continents today,
originally began its operations in Klagenfurt: The three founders (Stefan Lederer CEO, Christopher Müller CTO, and Christian Timmerer CIO) first collaborated on the development of the MPEG-DASH video streaming standard during their time at the University of Klagenfurt. This standard is currently used by YouTube, Netflix, ORF-TVThek, Flimmit and many more besides.

© aau/Waschnig

About Bitmovin

Bitmovin was founded in 2013 by Stefan Lederer, Christopher Müller, and Christian Timmerer as a spinoff of the University of Klagenfurt, where they both worked on the standardization of MPEG-DASH, a major standard for video streaming, during their time as students. The start-up company found its first home in the neighbouring Lakeside Science & Technology Park. Today, the company provides the world’s most powerful products for highly efficient video streaming on the Internet. Large, international customers such as the BBC or Hulu Japan rely on solutions developed in Carinthia.

Since participating in the renowned Y Combinator programme in the USA, the official corporate headquarters are located in San Francisco. However, the two locations in Austria remain the centres of excellence for research and development – not least due to the strong ties to the University of Klagenfurt. Over the course of two financing rounds in 2016 and 2018, the company was able to secure over 40 million dollars in venture capital from international investors. Most recently, Bitmovin was granted up to 20 million euros by the European Investment Bank to finance research and development as well as investments in sales and marketing in the coming years. Market-oriented, forward-looking product development and research at the cutting edge earn Bitmovin awards time and again, such as the “Phoenix” start-up prize in 2016, one of the most prestigious start-up prizes in Austria, with which the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) recognise outstanding research achievements and innovative product ideas.

About Christian Doppler Laboratories

In Christian Doppler Laboratories, application-oriented basic research is carried out at a high level, which involves outstanding scientists cooperating with innovative companies. The Christian Doppler Research Association is internationally regarded as a best-practice example for the promotion of this type of cooperation. Christian Doppler Laboratories are jointly financed by the public sector and the participating companies. The primary public sponsor is the Federal Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW).

About the University of Klagenfurt

Since its foundation in 1970, the University of Klagenfurt has successfully established itself as one of six state universities with a broad range of subjects in Austria. More than 11,600 students pursue their studies and research at the University of Klagenfurt; around 2000 of these are international students. Approximately 1,500 employees strive for top quality in teaching and research. According to the QS World University Rankings (“Top 50 under 50”) the university belongs to the 150 best young universities worldwide. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, which endeavour to rank the top 1,400 universities across the globe, it placed in the 301-350 range. In the discipline of Computer Science, the University of Klagenfurt achieved third place among Austrian universities in the 201-250 range. One of the university’s key research strengths lies in “networked and autonomous systems”.

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Einladung zur Eröffnung des Christian Doppler Labors ATHENA (Adaptive Streaming over HTTP and Emerging Networked Multimedia Services)

An der Universität Klagenfurt wird das CD Labor für Adaptive Streaming over HTTP and Emerging Networked Multimedia Services eingerichtet. Die Mission des Labors ist die Erforschung neuer Tools und Methoden für die Codierung, den Transport und die Wiedergabe von Live- und On-Demand-Videos mithilfe des HTTP-Adaptive-Streaming-Verfahrens. In Christian Doppler Labors wird anwendungsorientierte Grundlagenforschung auf hohem Niveau betrieben, hervorragende WissenschaftlerInnen kooperieren dazu mit innovativen Unternehmen. Für die Förderung dieser Zusammenarbeit gilt die Christian Doppler Forschungsgesellschaft international als Best-Practice-Beispiel. Christian Doppler Labors werden von der öffentlichen Hand und den beteiligten Unternehmen gemeinsam finanziert. Wichtigster öffentlicher Fördergeber ist das Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort (BMDW). Wir laden Sie herzlich zur feierlichen Eröffnung des CD Labors ein.

PROGRAMM
Begrüßung
Eröffnungsworte von Oliver VITOUCH
Rektor der Universität Klagenfurt
Grußworte von Ulrike UNTERER
Vertreterin des Bundesministeriums für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort
und Vizepräsidentin der CDG
Grußworte von Martin GERZABEK
Präsident der Christian Doppler Forschungsgesellschaft
Grußworte von Gerhard FRIEDRICH
Dekan der Fakultät für Technische Wissenschaften
Grußworte von Hermann HELLWAGNER
Institutsvorstand des Instituts für Informationstechnologie
Vorstellung des CD Labors
Präsentation von Labor und Forschungsprogramm
durch Christian TIMMERER, Laborleiter
Präsentation des Industriepartners Bitmovin
durch Stefan LEDERER (CEO und Co-Founder)
und Christopher MÜLLER (CTO und Co-Founder)
Zeit: Dienstag, 21. Jänner, 14.00 Uhr
Ort: Hörsaal A, Universität Klagenfurt

Einladung als PDF

Um Anmeldung wird gebeten (E-Mail: pr@aau.at)

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DCC’20: Fast Multi-Rate Encoding for Adaptive HTTP Streaming

Fast Multi-Rate Encoding for Adaptive HTTP Streaming

Data Compression Conference 2020, March 24 – 27, Cliff Lodge, Snowbird, UT

[PDF] (coming soon)

Hadi Amirpour, Ekrem Çetinkaya (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt), Christian Timmerer (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Bitmovin), and Mohammad Ghanbari (University of Tehran, University of Essex)

Abstract: Adaptive HTTP streaming is the preferred method to deliver multimedia content on the internet. It provides multiple representations of the same content in different qualities (i.e., bit-rates and resolutions) and allows the client to request segments from the available representations in a dynamic, adaptive way depending on its context. The growing number of representations in adaptive HTTP streaming makes encoding of one video segment at different representations a challenging task in terms of encoding time-complexity. In this paper, information of both highest and lowest quality representations are used to limit Rate Distortion Optimization (RDO) for each Coding Unit Tree (CTU) in High Efficiency Video Coding. Our proposed method first encodes the highest quality representation and consequently uses it to encode the lowest quality representation. In particular, the block structure and the selected reference frame of both highest and lowest quality representations are then used to predict and shorten the RDO process of each CTU for intermediate quality representations. Our proposed method introduces a delay of two CTUs thanks to employing parallel processing techniques. Experimental results show a significant reduction in time-complexity over the reference software (38%) and state-of-the-art (10%) is achieved while quality degradation is negligible.

Keywords:  HTTP adaptive streaming, Multi-rate encoding, HEVC, Fast block partitioning

 

 

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ATHENA Summer School 2020

Summer School on Adaptive Streaming over HTTP and Emerging Networked Multimedia Services

July 13-17, 2020 | Klagenfurt am Wörthersee | Austria
https://athena.itec.aau.at/summer-school-2020

Introduction

© Steinthaler/KW

Real-time multimedia information and entertainment services – specifically, streaming of digital video and audio content – account for the majority of today’s traffic in the Internet, and their amount and share of traffic are still growing. Users expect to generate, distribute, share, and consume any media content, anywhere, anytime, on any device, in high quality. Although global Internet and individual users’ data transmission rates (“bandwidth”) have been growing exponentially for many years, the growing number and variety of media services, higher spatial video resolutions, more immersive types of media, e.g., 360-degree video, and higher quality expectations of users have led networked media applications to fully utilize the available bandwidth or even to operate under (temporary) bandwidth shortages. For real-time media transmission over the open Internet, a major technical milestone certainly was the advent of the HTTP Adaptive Streaming (HAS) technique. HAS is being widely deployed in the industry today and has been standardized, e.g., as the ISO/IEC MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG-DASH) standard. While most HAS-based media services work fine even under bandwidth limitations and fluctuations, there are big challenges for multimedia systems, e.g., the tradeoff between increasing content complexity, new requirements w.r.t. time (latency), and quality.

Scope

© Steinthaler/KW

The aim of this summer school to learn about basic and advanced concepts related to adaptive streaming over HTTP and emerging networked multimedia services, targeting the following topic areas:

  • multimedia content provisioning,
  • content delivery, and
  • content consumption in the media delivery chain as well as for
  • end-to-end aspects, with a focus on, but not being limited to, HTTP Adaptive Streaming (HAS)

with a particular focus on gaming- and learning-based approaches related to the topics areas identified above and possibly also beyond.

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ACMMM’19: Towards 6DoF HTTP Adaptive Streaming Through Point Cloud Compression

Towards 6DoF HTTP Adaptive Streaming Through Point Cloud Compression

https://www.acmmm.org/2019/

[PDF]

Jeroen van der Hooft, Tim Wauters, Filip De Turck (Ghent University – imec), Christian Timmerer, and Hermann Hellwagner (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt)

Abstract: The increasing popularity of head-mounted devices and 360° video cameras allows content providers to offer virtual reality video streaming over the Internet, using a relevant representation of the immersive content combined with traditional streaming techniques. While this approach allows the user to freely move her head, her location is fixed by the camera’s position within the scene. Recently, an increased interest has been shown for free movement within immersive scenes, referred to as six degrees of freedom. One way to realize this is by capturing objects through a number of cameras positioned in different angles, and creating a point cloud which consists of the location and RGB color of a significant number of points in the three-dimensional space. Although the concept of point clouds has been around for over two decades, it recently received increased attention by ISO/IEC MPEG, issuing a call for proposals for point cloud compression. As a result, dynamic point cloud objects can now be compressed to bit rates in the order of 3 to 55 Mb/s, allowing feasible delivery over today’s mobile networks. In this paper, we propose PCC-DASH, a standards-compliant means for HTTP adaptive streaming of scenes comprising multiple, dynamic point cloud objects. We present a number of rate adaptation heuristics which use information on the user’s position and focus, the available bandwidth, and the client’s buffer status to decide upon the most appropriate quality representation of each object. Through an extensive evaluation, we discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each solution. We argue that the optimal solution depends on the considered scene and camera path, which opens interesting possibilities for future work.

Keywords: HTTP adaptive streaming, MPEG-DASH, immersive video, point clouds, MPEG V-PCC, rate adaptation

Slides:

ACM Reference Format:
Jeroen van der Hooft, Tim Wauters, Filip De Turck, Christian Timmerer, and Hermann Hellwagner. 2019. Towards 6DoF HTTP Adaptive Streaming Through Point Cloud Compression. In ACM Multimedia ’19, October 21–25, 2019, Nice, France. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 9 pages. https://doi.org/10. 1145/1122445

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ACM NOSSDAV’19: Bandwidth Prediction in Low-Latency Chunked Streaming

Bandwidth Prediction in Low-Latency Chunked Streaming
http://nossdav.org/2019/
[PDF]

Abdelhak Bentaleb (National University of Singapore), Christian Timmerer (Alpen-Adria Universität & Bitmovin Inc,), Ali C. Begen (Ozyegin University), and Roger Zimmermann (National University of Singapore)

Abstract: HTTP adaptive streaming (HAS) with chunked transfer encoding can be used to reduce latency without sacrificing the coding efficiency. While this allows a media segment to be generated and delivered at the same time, it also causes grossly inaccurate bandwidth measurements, leading to incorrect bitrate selections. To overcome this effect, we design a novel Adaptive bitrate scheme for Chunked Transfer Encoding (ACTE) that leverages the unique nature of chunk downloads. It uses a sliding window to accurately measure the available bandwidth and an online linear adaptive filter to predict the available bandwidth into the future. Results show that ACTE achieves 96% measurement accuracy, which translates to a 64% reduction in stalls and a 27% increase in video quality.

Keywords: HAS; ABR; DASH; CMAF; low-latency; HTTP chunked transfer encoding; bandwidth measurement and prediction; RLS.

Acknowledgment: This research has been supported in part by the Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 under MOE’s official grant number T1 251RES1820 and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) under the Next Generation Video Streaming project “PROMETHEUS”.

Abdelhak Bentaleb, Christian Timmerer, Ali C. Begen, and Roger Zimmermann. 2019. Bandwidth prediction in low-latency chunked streaming. In Proceedings of the 29th ACM Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video (NOSSDAV ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 7-13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3304112.3325611

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ACMMM’19 Tutorial: A Journey towards Fully Immersive Media Access

ACM Multimedia 2019
October 21-25, 2019, Nice, France
https://www.acmmm.org/2019/

The slides for this tutorial are available here.

Lecturers
Christian Timmerer, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt & Bitmovin, Inc.
Ali C. Begen, Ozyegin University and Networked Media

Abstract
Universal media access as proposed in the late 90s, early 2000 is now reality. Thus, we can generate, distribute, share, and consume any media content, anywhere, anytime, and with/on any device. A major technical breakthrough was the adaptive streaming over HTTP resulting in the standardization of MPEG-DASH, which is now successfully deployed in HTML5 environments thanks to corresponding media source extensions (MSE). The next big thing in adaptive media streaming is virtual reality applications and, specifically, omnidirectional (360°) media streaming, which is currently built on top of the existing adaptive streaming ecosystems. This tutorial provides a detailed overview of adaptive streaming of both traditional and omnidirectional media within HTML5 environments. The tutorial focuses on the basic principles and paradigms for adaptive streaming – both traditional and omnidirectional media – as well as on already deployed content generation, distribution, and consumption workflows. Additionally, the tutorial provides insights into standards and emerging technologies in the adaptive streaming space. Finally, the tutorial includes the latest approaches for immersive media streaming enabling 6DoF DASH through Point Cloud Compression (PCC) and concludes with open research issues and industry efforts in this domain.

Keywords: Omnidirectional media, HTTP adaptive streaming, over-the-top video, 360-degree video, virtual reality, immersive media access.

Learning Objectives
This tutorial consists of two main parts. In the first part, we provide a detailed overview of the HTML5 standard and show how it can be used for adaptive streaming deployments. In particular, we focus on the HTML5 video, media extensions, and multi-bitrate encoding, encapsulation and encryption workflows, and survey well-established streaming solutions. Furthermore, we present experiences from the existing deployments and the relevant de jure and de facto standards (DASH, HLS, CMAF) in this space. In the second part, we focus on omnidirectional (360-degree) media from creation to consumption as well as first thoughts on dynamic adaptive point cloud streaming. We survey means for the acquisition, projection, coding and packaging of omnidirectional media as well as delivery, decoding and rendering methods. Emerging standards and industry practices are covered as well (OMAF, VR-IF). Both parts present some of the current research trends, open issues that need further exploration and investigation, and various efforts that are underway in the streaming industry. Upon attending this tutorial, the participants will have an overview and understanding of the following topics:

  • Principles of HTTP adaptive streaming for the Web/HTML5
  • Principles of omnidirectional (360-degree) media delivery
  • Content generation, distribution and consumption workflows for traditional and omnidirectional media
  • Standards and emerging technologies in the adaptive streaming space
  • Current and future research on traditional and omnidirectional media delivery, specifically enabling 6DoF adaptive streaming through point cloud compression

ACM Multimedia attracts attendees that are quite knowledgeable in specific areas. However, not all are experts across multiple disciplines (such as the subject matter here) and only few are familiar with what is happening in the field and standards. Thus, we believe the proposed tutorial will be of interest to this year’s attendees as much as it did in the past.

Table of Contents
Part I: The HTML5 Standard and Adaptive Streaming

  • HTML5 video and media extensions
  • Survey of well-established streaming solutions
  • Multi-bitrate encoding, and encapsulation and encryption workflows
  • The MPEG-DASH standard, Apple HLS and the developing CMAF standard
  • Common issues in scaling and improving quality, multi-screen/hybrid delivery

Part II: Omnidirectional (360-degree) Media

  • Acquisition, projection, coding and packaging of 360-degree video
  • Delivery, decoding and rendering methods
  • The developing MPEG-OMAF and MPEG-I standards
  • Ongoing industry efforts, specifically towards 6DoF adaptive streaming

Speakers
Christian Timmerer received his M.Sc. (Dipl.-Ing.) in January 2003 and his Ph.D. (Dr.techn.) in June 2006 (for research on the adaptation of scalable multimedia content in streaming and constraint environments) both from the Alpen-Adria-Universität (AAU) Klagenfurt. He joined the AAU in 1999 (as a system administrator) and is currently an Associate Professor at the Institute of Information Technology (ITEC) within the Multimedia Communication Group. His research interests include immersive multimedia communication, streaming, adaptation, Quality of Experience, and Sensory Experience. He was the general chair of WIAMIS 2008, QoMEX 2013, MMSys 2016, and PV 2018 and has participated in several EC-funded projects, notably DANAE, ENTHRONE, P2P-Next, ALICANTE, SocialSensor, COST IC1003 QUALINET, and ICoSOLE. He also participated in ISO/MPEG work for several years, notably in the area of MPEG- 21, MPEG-M, MPEG-V, and MPEG-DASH where he also served as standard editor. In 2013, he cofounded Bitmovin (http://www.bitmovin.com/) to provide professional services around MPEG-DASH where he holds the position of the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) – Head of Research and Standardization. He is a senior member of IEEE and member of ACM, specifically IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Communications Society, and ACM SIGMM. Dr. Timmerer was a guest editor of three special issues for the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (JSAC) and currently serves as associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Multimedia. Further information available at http://blog.timmerer.com.

Ali C. Begen is the co-founder of Networked Media, a technology company that offers consulting services to industrial, legal and academic institutions in the IP video space. He has been a research and development engineer since 2001, and has broad experience in mathematical modeling, performance analysis, optimization, standards development, intellectual property and innovation. Between 2007 and 2015, he was with the Video and Content Platforms Research and Advanced Development Group at Cisco, where he designed and developed algorithms, protocols, products and solutions in the service provider and enterprise video domains. Currently, he is also affiliated with Ozyegin University, where he is teaching and advising students in the computer science department. Ali has a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Georgia Tech. To date, he received a number of academic and industry awards, and was granted 30+ US patents. He held editorial positions in leading magazines and journals, and served in the organizing committee of several international conferences and workshops in the field. He is a senior member of both the IEEE and ACM. In 2016, he was elected distinguished lecturer by the IEEE Communications Society, and in 2018, he was re-elected for another two-year term. More details are at http://ali.begen.net.

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QoMEX’19: Tile-based Streaming of 8K Omnidirectional Video: Subjective and Objective QoE Evaluation

Tile-based Streaming of 8K Omnidirectional Video: Subjective and Objective QoE Evaluation

https://www.qomex2019.de/

[PDF]

Raimund Schatz (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology), Anatoliy Zabrovskiy (Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt), Christian Timmerer (Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Bitmovin Inc.)

Abstract: Omnidirectional video (ODV) streaming applications are becoming increasingly popular. They enable a highly immersive experience as the user can freely choose her/his field of view within the 360-degree environment. Current deployments are fairly simple but viewport-agnostic which inevitably results in high storage/bandwidth requirements and low Quality of Experience (QoE). A promising solution is referred to as tile- based streaming which allows to have higher quality within the user’s viewport while quality outside the user’s viewport could be lower. However, empirical QoE assessment studies in this domain are still rare. Thus, this paper investigates the impact of different tile-based streaming approaches and configurations on the QoE of ODV. We present the results of a lab-based subjective evaluation in which participants evaluated 8K omnidirectional video QoE as influenced by different (i) tile-based streaming approaches (full vs. partial delivery), (ii) content types (static vs. moving camera), and (iii) tile encoding quality levels determined by different quantization parameters. Our experimental setup is characterized by high reproducibility since relevant media delivery aspects (including the user’s head movements and dynamic tile quality adaptation) are already rendered into the respective processed video sequences. Additionally, we performed a complementary objective evaluation of the different test sequences focusing on bandwidth efficiency and objective quality metrics. The results are presented in this paper and discussed in detail which confirm that tile-based streaming of ODV improves visual quality while reducing bandwidth requirements.

Index Terms: Omnidirectional Video, Tile-based Streaming, Subjective Testing, Objective Metrics, Quality of Experience

Acknowledgment: This work was supported in part by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) under the Next Generation Video Streaming project “PROMETHEUS”.

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Mobile data traffic report and forecast 2017-2022

In my most recent blog post I wrote about “mobile data traffic report and forecast 2017-2022” based on white papers/reports from Sandvine and Cisco.

The short summary is as follows: Sandvine reports that in total around 42% is video (compared to almost 58% in the global report from October 2018) while Cisco reports that mobile video traffic accounted for 59% of total mobile data traffic in 2017 and predicts that nearly 79% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2022, it will increase 9-fold between 2017 and 2022.

Further details are available here and ATHENA is expected to address current and upcoming challenges in this area. Interested how? Please see about page and consider applying for a job!

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ATHENA “Adaptive Streaming over HTTP and Emerging Networked Multimedia Services”

This is the Web site of Christian Doppler (CD) Pilot Laboratory ATHENA
“Adaptive Streaming over HTTP and Emerging Networked Multimedia Services”.

The project will start in 2019 and for further details, please see the about page as well as open jobs.

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