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Multimedia Communication, Processing and Representation

Objective

In the RACE project R 1038, a concept and architecture for a multimedia communication, processing and representation system (MCPR) for broadband applications will be developed. The main features of this system will be demonstrated as a technological integration of diverse audio and visual media on a suitable workstation.
The main aims of the research were:
to demonstrate a multimedia information system with intensive communication capabilities in a travel agency environment;
to access and exchange multimedia information through the integrated broadband communications (IBC) network;
to develop adequate hardware and software for presenting and processing multimedia information.

The research has resulted in the following achievements:
a demonstration system has been built, with multimedia and hypermedia handling capabilities and with an appropriate user interface, communication functions and service components;
objects for storing and presenting multimedia data have been specified and implemented;
a direct user interface supporting manipulation has been implemented;
an open and layered architecture has been designed and implemented for the communication part of multimedia communication, processing and representation (MCPR) terminal which allows adaption of the system to different network environments;
a system to digitise sound and to provide a video and audio switching facility has been developed.
Technical Approach

Relevant technologies and methodologies for multimedia data communication and processing will be applied. Concerning broadband communication, the latest technologies such as high speed links and switching functions are considered. For the representation and processing of multimedia information a dedicated system capable to provide the functionality of hypermedia will be used. An object oriented approach has been chosen to the questions of the development of the user interface and the representation of domain specific information.

Key Issues

- Demonstration of a multimedia information system with intensive communication capabilities in an environment of travel agency application domain.
- Access and exchange of multimedia information through the IBC network.
- Adequate hardware and software for presenting and processing multimedia information.

Achievements:

A demonstrator has been built, with multimedia and hypermedia handling and an appropriate user interface, communication functions and service components available. This supports further development and adaptation of IO- devices. A travel agency scenario provides the script for the presentation of functionality supported.

The objects for storing and presentation of multimedia data were specified and implemented. The network structure for achieving the hypermedia functionality was specified and implemented as data structures overlaying multimedia data. This structure can be used in advanced reader's and authoring tools for hypermedia document production. A direct user interface supporting manipulation has also been implemented.

An open and layered architecture has been designed and implemented for the communication part of MCPR terminal which allows the adaptation of our system to different network environments. The application interface and network manager (AI&NM) controls the video and audio switch and the videodisk player, and has an interface with the signalling layers to carry out the call handling. The signalling protocols implemented support the concept of service components, and provide more flexibility in allocation and reallocation of connections for the various information types used in multimedia services. The MCPR system developed provides four external interfaces which are used for the transfer of video, audio, data, and signalling messages. Contacts to CPN related projects (R1022 Technology for ATD and R1056 BIPED) have been set up to enable the feasibility model to be connected to various ATM broadband network demonstrators through terminal adaptors which will be specified and implemented in close conjunction w th these projects.

A system to digitise sound and to provide video and audio switching facility has been developed: known as Avix (Audio, Video Interface and muX) . This system is used for preparation of audio annotations to hypermedia documents. A high speed data communication system (HS- CS) for Sun workstations with a VME bus has been developed: the effective data rate being 1920 Mbit/s. This is intended to be used via a transparent channel within a broadband transmission system of eg 140 Mbit/s, such as the German Vorlaeufer Breitband Netz (VBN) which is available at both the sites of SEL and Telenorma. To access the VBN, available signalling hardware has been adapted to the MCPR-system. All necessary primitives for network signalling are transferred over a serial interface. A video disc containing information relevant for the application domain (tourist information about countries of involved project partners) was edited and manufactured as a base for video clips integrated in hypermedia documents. Company related nformation is also available.

The work has resulted so far in twelve published papers.

Expected Impact

This project should demonstrate to future users an easy way to access information with IBC facilities. One consequence is that multimedia environment will influence future office and home application domains such as education, advertising, consulting and many others.

Exchange and coordination of geographically distributed work will be supported with usable systems for multimedia communication, representation and processing. Value added services will enhance the capabilities for human knowledge acquisition and processing.

Service components for videotelephony, video-conference and multi-media document transfer are considered to be implemented in the multimedia terminal for use in existing national broadband networks (eg VBN - EBIT) and also together with the demonstrators being produced by other RACE projects, eg R1011 - BCPN.

Coordinator

Standard Elektrik Lorenz AG (SEL)
Address
Lorenzstraße 10
70435 Stuttgart
Germany

Participants (5)

Alcatel Air Navigation Face SpA
Italy
Address
Via Trento 30
20059 Vimercate Milano
Alcatel Standard Electrica SA
Spain
Centro Studi e Applicazioni in Tecnologie Avanzate Tecnopolis (CSATA)
Italy
Centro de Investigacion y Desarrollo
Spain
Telefonbau und Normalzeit GmbH
Germany
Address
Mainzer Landstraße 128-146
60327 Frankfurt Am Main