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Transforming Broadcast Content Providers into

Objective

SMARTCAST will develop a novel satellite broadband delivery based on IP web casting services. It will develop open and interoperable broadband production tools for new audiovisual broadband services, thereby improving European competitiveness in the emerging broadband delivery and access market.

Objectives:
SMARTCAST will focus on embedding state-of-the-art and newly developed broadband media knowledge into existing as well as new business processes by supporting:

1) process distribution among the various organisational constituents;

2) the optimisation of those existing processes transferable to the broadband media world;

3) production / delivery for end devices, consequently developing respective new workflow.

On a service application level SMARTCAST objectives include to explore and validate audiovisual broadband media services that are produced by using inter-networked production facilities. This will result in applications that are dynamically adaptive to new digital media workflow and production methods.

Work description:
The development process in SMARTCAST is user-driven, fully taking into account user advice and feedback. In order to obtain commercially exploitable results the SMARTCAST system, services, tools, applications and organisational models will be used, tested and trialed in live situations. This should prepare for successful exploitation after termination of the project. The work in SMARTCAST has been structured as follows: Three Work Packages will cover the entire duration of the project. These are WP1 Project Management, WP2 Assessment and Evaluation and WP9 Dissemination and Exploitation. The technical WPs are as follows: WP3 Development of interactive audiovisual broadband services, WP4 development of multiplatform delivery and management system for rich media content, WP5 development of interactive TV and www satellite delivery platform, WP6 development of tools for interactive streams for multilayer rich content delivery, WP 7 development of stream manipulation and management tool, WP8 Validation.

Milestones:
There are three major milestones (MS) in SMARTCAST. These are tied to the completion of major project aims which are to produce the following results.

MS 1: (month 11) at the end of the first development phase resulting in prototypes v1.0 of SMARTCAST tools, services and systems;

MS 2: (month 22) the second development phase will lead to prototypes v2.0 of tools, services and systems integrated into a new organisational and workflow structures;

MS 3: (month 24) results from testing version 2.0 of tools, services and systems.
Smartcast Products:
· Smartcast Integrated Multimedia Production Line: enables media editors to create innovative and highly interactive content easily and adapt it to whatever playout channel is required.
· Smartcast Content Logistics Solution: integral content logistics solution for managing and delivering interactive streaming content via satellite.
· Interactive Content Formats: innovative, interactive content formats developed by each of the three broadcasters participating in the project, i.e. Deutsche Welle, Radio Bremen, and ORF. Smartcast Services: The main commercial services expected to result from the Smartcast project are professional consultancy services for the production and/or delivery of interactive tv/multimedia content or the development of a customised interactive multimedia production line.

Detailed Results: Developed by Lost Boys BV, the Smartcast Integrated Multimedia Production Line provides full-featured production solutions:
· It offers user-friendly tools to create and deploy interactive video material suitable for multiple end-user devices;
· With a simple, user-friendly user interface the user can add interaction elements to video material, including polls, trivia quiz, information layers, and can, at any time, test and evaluate the intermediate results for any display size;
:· All currently existing interaction elements can be customised on demand, for example to bring the look and feel in line with the branding of the company’s product or format;
· New interaction elements can be added on demand, e.g. a game or tickertape;
· The user interface offers an easy procedure to deploy the programme to various distribution channels and end-user devices;
· The Smartcast deployment environment is fully scriptable and XML-based, and thus flexible and easily adaptable to the existing content provider infrastructure, such as content management system and play-out system;
· The Smartcast environment uses MPEG-4 technology and content can be played out on various devices supporting the MPEG-4 format, e.g. PDA, set-top boxes, and PC’s using various players, including RealPlayer, QuickTime and Windows Media Player with the Envivio MPEG-4 plug-in);
· The tool’s programme description is generic and fully technology-independent and the tool can therefore be customised to generate Flash MX, MHP, OpenTV or other formats.

Developed by Eutelsat SA, the Smartcast Content Logistics Solution provides full-featured content management and satellite delivery solutions. It integrates two independent service platforms, OPENSKY, a sole IP distribution platform, and Linkstar, an innovative interactive B2B satellite VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal), using DVB-RCS (Return Channel via Satellite) technology, combined with extra servers, additional software and a customised user-friendly user interface.
· Uploading can be done from the home server;
· A fly-away version can be deployed to cover live events;
· Privacy and security is ensured through a separated and protected disk space on the server;
· Remote flexibility: users can schedule transmissions, determine priorities, auto-execute content, set up individual data carrousels , determine and restrict user groups;
· Distribute content with enhanced features, e.g. encryption, reception verification; · Access to advanced user receiver networks, e.g. wireless LAN, Siemens Home RF. The Smartcast project has also resulted in seven main applications, all interactive content formats, developed by the participating broadcasters:
· Discover Germany/Germanizer
· Campus Germany TV
· Enhanced News
· Hammelmann/Community Magazine
· www.speed.at/SPEED-Magazine
· ZIB (Zeit im Bild) · Seitenblicke · Eins, Zwei oder Drei All applications resulting from the Smartcast project use video material produced by the broadcaster concerned and have added enhanced interactivity to that contents.

Innovative Aspects:
· MPEG-4 technology: a fully integrated development environment to edit, compile, run and debug interactive MPEG-4 programmes has been created;
· Envivio: Smartcast programmers have worked intensively with Envivio programmers to debug the Envivio MPEG4 encoding tool and enhance it to meet Smartcast specifications;
· Multiplatform: the production tool can be used to play out on various devices, with a variety of players;
. Multichannel: the content can be delivered via a selection of channels, including satellite, with different return channels for interactive applications;
· Technology-independent: the production tool can be programmed to create new or different formats, e.g. Flash MX, MHP, OpenTV, etc.;
· DVB-RCS technology for the Content Logistics Solution;
· Advance user receiver networks: wireless LAN (802.11 a/b standard), Siemens Home RF, with reception on PDA or other mobile devices;
· Highly interactive TV formats.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

DEUTSCHE WELLE
Address
Kurt-schumacher-strasse 3
53113 Bonn
Germany

Participants (4)

EUTELSAT S.A.
France
Address
Rue Balard 70
75015 Paris
LOST BOYS B.V.
Netherlands
Address
Joop Geesinkweg 209
1096 AV Amsterdam
OESTERREICHISCHER RUNDFUNK
Austria
Address
Wuerzburggasse 30
1136 Wien
RADIO BREMEN
Germany
Address
Buergermeister-spitta-allee 45
28353 Bremen