Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

COGNITUS Report Summary

Project ID: 687605
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COGNITUS (Converging broadcast and user generated content for interactive ultra-high definition services)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The past decade has seen the emergence of two particular trends in terms of multimedia capture and consumption. First, helped by the plethora of smart mobile devices at affordable prices, the general public have been capturing progressively more multimedia content. A significant proportion of these recordings are then shared with friends or more widely with the public using the variety of social media platforms available. The second prominent trend is about the way the media is consumed by the audiences; particularly with the increasingly wide availability of Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TVs. People are rapidly accustomed to the superior picture qualities accessible via the new large-format displays, and the resulting immersive experiences are set to get even better with latest technologies such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) TVs and new display technologies. The displays on mobile devices also have significantly improved in recent years.

While these new trends are expected to create great opportunities for the content producers and broadcaster to provide new engaging experiences to the audiences, it has been noted that there are a number of significant gaps in bridging these technologies. On the one hand, there still is a notable lack in variety of good quality UHD content, a situation not helped by the very high production costs. On the other hand, while there is a great opportunity to utilise User Generated Content (UGC) to enhance the audience experience, most of this content is of relatively poor technical and editorial quality. Against this backdrop, the COGNITUS project aims at filling some of these gaps, by facilitating the convergence of broadcast and user generated content for future interactive UHD services.

With regards to the exploitation of crowd-sourced multimedia content, a number of already existing solutions can be found on the market, either as commercial products, or in the form of research projects and trials. Some of these available solutions facilitate the aggregation of UGC, which are contributed directly to the specific platform, or via existing social media platforms. However, these usually lack reliable quality control and enhancement mechanisms, both of which are among the key features of the COGNITUS technology.

COGNITUS will deliver innovative UHD broadcasting technologies that will allow the joint creation of UHD media exploiting the knowledge of professional producers, the ubiquity of UGC, and the power of interactive networked social creativity in a synergistic multimedia production approach. The project will provide a proof of concept to cement the viability of interactive UHD content production and exploitation, through use case demonstrators at large events of converging broadcast and user generated content for interactive UHD services. The envisaged demonstrators will be based on two different use cases drawn from real-life events. These use cases are in turn single examples of the fascinating and potentially unlimited new services that could be unleashed by the confluence of UHD broadcasting technology and smart social mobile UGC brought by COGNITUS.

The framework developed in the COGNITUS project is expected to produce a number of economic and social benefits. Firstly, it would reduce the cost of producing high quality UHD content, by facilitating the reuse of available crowd-sourced content. Secondly, it would create means of engagement for the general public to get involved in broadcast content production, further enhancing their creativity, providing an immense sense of achievement.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first year, a key task was the Requirements Analysis, where the two use cases were structured into stories and story-episodes, which were verified in dedicated focus groups. A competitor analysis and a market trend analysis were also performed. Based on these evidences, a set of consolidated functional and non-functional requirements were defined.

In relation to User Generated Content Acquisition, a dedicated UGC submission and reward scheme was designed, along with guidelines on content copyright policy. For the semantic enrichment of metadata, a software for crawling of social media metadata has been developed. A number of new features have been added to the COGNITUS repository system, including advanced up- and download features and extended user rights management features.

In terms of UHD Content Creation and Enrichment, a number of new techniques were developed for enhancement and enrichment of user-generated and historical content, including new methods for up-scaling low resolution content, as well as new audio synchronisation and enhancement methods.

COGNITUS also addresses Experience Driven Media Adaptation, to enable delivering of very high quality content and experiences to users, by developing new techniques for event plotting, adaptation, compression, delivery and quality monitoring of the content. One of the key contributions in this regard is the open source HEVC coder. In addition, the delivery workflows and new tools have been established to flexibly fuse with the existing production platforms.

Another key outcome during the first year of the project is the definition of the functional and topological architecture of the COGNITUS platform. The implementation of envisaged applications for the end-users and professionals also commenced. An internal hackathon event was organised, during which the first successful integration process has been completed, incorporating an early version of all the COGNITUS components. Furthermore, an early prototype of the set-top-box framework for the COGNITUS application was developed.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

A thorough Requirements Analysis was carried out for the better understanding of the market and user needs, thus, building better grounds to make a wide societal impact.

One of the unique features of the COGNITUS platform in contrast to the state of the art is the enhancement of the UGC for creating high quality UHD experiences to the audiences, achieved by enhancing technical characteristics of the content as well as semantic enrichment. Research into a number of related new techniques started in the first year, including the up-scaling processes for generating UHD content using low resolution sources and developments in audio synchronisation and enhancement for alignment of overlapping audio streams with improved audio quality.

For the semantic enrichment of content, a social media crawler tool has been developed. The data mined via this tool is utilised within the COGNITUS repository as additional metadata for semantic processing, search and indexing. This also helps in partially automating the associated processes. In the context of media content accounting for over 70% of all internet traffic, the COGNITUS scope includes means to improve the efficiency of content delivery, in the form of a new open source HEVC video coder.

The new Rewards scheme developed recognises and motivates UGC contributors, which is uniquely adapted to the user requirements identified, providing a number of innovative functionalities.

An efficient functional and topological architecture has been defined aiming at integrating the novel services that will be developed in the project, incorporating state-of-the-art approaches in the domain of service-oriented-architectures, aiming at accommodating a large number of users and a big volume of UHD content.

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