Skip to main content

innovative Quality Of Experience maNagement in Emerging mulTimedia services

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - QoE-Net (innovative Quality Of Experience maNagement in Emerging mulTimedia services)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

The recent technological advances enabled a wide range of new services, such as: social TV, immersive environments, mobile gaming, HDTV over mobile, 3D virtual world, mobile access to book/newspaper, virtual and augmented reality, just to cite a few. Some of these services have already reached a major market success especially because a user-centered approach has been followed to design the whole process of content production, service creation, content consumption, service management and updating. Accordingly, it arises that optimization and management of the Quality of Experience (QoE) is undoubtedly a crucial concept in the deployment of successful services and products.
Based on these considerations, the QoE-Net project has built and has managed an inter-disciplinary training network in the core disciplines involved in the research and development of Quality of Experience models, optimization approaches, control and management schemes for new and emerging multimedia services, with emphasis on the following: mobile gaming, social TV and web services. Indeed, the QoE, unlike the traditional QoS (Quality of Service) concept, reflects directly to an end-user’s perceived experience for a service, and thus requires knowledge from fields such as: psychology, visual and performing arts, communications and networking, signal processing and media technology, as well as customer behaviour research and business studies; it can consequently only be addressed with a consortium of high-quality academic and research partners, with interlink with industrial partners and standardization bodies, as the one of QoE-Net.
As a first important milestone, all 12 ESRs have been successfully recruited, with great diversity in country of origin, type of university degree and background studies, age, research topic of interest, skills, etc. However, what is common about the ESRs is that they are all collaborative and value teamwork. This resulted in well-composed work package deliverables and disseminated scientific group efforts. In total there have been 80 papers accepted, based on the research of QoE-Net participants. As collaborations extend beyond the members of the project, more than half of these papers involved scientists from industry and academia who are not affiliated with QoE-Net. The diversity in research topic of interest enabled a wide area in the field of Quality of Experience (QoE) to be covered in the work performed, which is continuously getting published. These topics include QoE management in Software-Defined Networks, virtual quality probes, collaborative opportunities between Over-The-Top and Internet Service Providers, monitoring at user terminals, quality implications of light field display parameters, image reconstruction techniques, evaluation of quality during playback interruptions in streaming services, cognitive bias in subjective studies, user behaviour, quality switching, link quality estimation, gaming experience, preprocessing for video codecs, HDR visualization quality, immersive multimedia, digital storytelling etc. Beyond publications, 5 patents have been filed as well, based on the research performed in the scope of the project.
As the project itself is a training network, research training is a core element of the activities. First of all, ESRs have been trained through participation in tutorials and seminars. For this purpose, Online Short Courses are organized for the ESRs, which are coordinated by the ESRs themselves. A total of 17 of these courses have been delivered via an online video conferencing platform. The topics covered by these courses include standardization, perception, quality assessment, QoE-aware solutions, display technologies, video coding, usability, business aspects, etc. The expertise of the ESRs is also broadened by transferable skills training events. A total of 15 events have taken place in difference European countries. These events focused on the development of scientific paper writing skills and oral presentation skills – which are essential for the dissemination of research results – standardization, patenting, project proposal writing and business planning, seminars and a summer school on QoE modelling and management, training ESRs in interdisciplinary methods, and others.
The QoE-Net project addressed the need for developing new models, methodologies and tools for an effective management of the QoE along the whole chain of design, production, delivery and control of multimedia services. The following are some of the progresses achieved:
• It often happens that QoE models used by service providers for monitoring purposes rely on several influencing factors that are not at the hands of a single provider. In particular, this scenario applies to the over-the-top (OTT) and Internet service providers (ISPs), which act with complementary roles in service delivery over the Internet. To deal with this issue, the project has highlighted the importance of a possible OTT-ISP collaboration for a joint service management in terms of technical and economic aspects and proposed a potential collaboration and information exchange among them for an improvement of the final quality perception.
• The application of Software Defined Network (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technologies for QoE management has been studied during project, including the case of 5G networks. The relevant advantage is the exploitation of the virtualization features of the network nodes and devices to flexibly deploy monitoring and control functions in the different points of the network according to the varying load of the running applications and status of the network.
• Adaptive video streaming services such as those provided by YouTube, Netflix and Twitch have increased exponentially in recent years. These services are expected to dominate the consumer Internet traffic in the near future. It is important and crucial to have a comprehensive understanding on how video streaming quality (or QoE) is affected by application and networking parameters, and how human perception system reacts to a variety of video adaptation mechanisms or impairments (e.g. resolution switching). A systematic study and analysis on QoE assessment for video streaming services have been carried out, and novel QoE management schemes to enhance QoE for video streaming services have been proposed and developed in this project. Other than publications, some contributions to ITU-T Study Group 12, Question 14 have been made in order to develop a standardized quality prediction model for adaptive video streaming which reached the consent by November 2017 and became an ITU-T recommendation, named P.1203. Three patent applications for Deutsche Telekom AG have been also filed together with TU Berlin and TU Ilmenau.
• With respect to gaming service, the influence factors that have an impact on gaming QoE (including mobile gaming) have been identified, listed and proposed to ITU-T SG 12 that was finalized in the ITU meeting in September, 2017. Moreover, the proposal of subjective evaluation methods for gaming quality reached the consent at the ITU-T Study Group 12 in May 2018 and became an ITU-T recommendation. The efforts w.r.t. mobile gaming were not only limited to these two recommendation documents but also includes several publications and some other activities in order to identify the impact of influencing factors on quality.