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Final Report Summary - QUICK (Quality-of-Experience Improvement for Mobile Multimedia across Heterogeneous Wireless Networks)

Project Name: Quality-of-Experience Improvement for Mobile Multimedia across Heterogeneous Wireless Networks (QUICK)

The QUICK project is funded by EU FP7 Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (Call: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES) in order to strengthen research partnerships and reinforce long-term research cooperation, through staff exchanges, joint research, training, and networking activities, between European research organisations and research organisations from countries with which the European Union has an S&T agreement.

Motivation and objectives:

With the rapid innovation in sophisticated wireless communication technologies, the past years have witnessed a dramatic growth of content-rich and resource-hungry mobile multimedia applications that demand high Quality-of-Experience (QoE). This project aims to bring together a highly qualified group of researchers from both European countries and China to explore the strategies for QoE improvement of mobile multimedia across heterogeneous wireless networks. Built upon the solid ground of cooperation and knowledge transfer between the partners, this project is unique in its advocate of the seamless integration of network-aware adaptive multimedia processing at the application layer and multimedia-driven heterogeneous wireless networking at the transmission layer. The optimal interaction through a cross-layer design plays an important role in efficient utilization of scarce wireless communication resources for delivering mobile multimedia and improving the QoE perceived by users.

The innovative techniques developed in this project fill important gaps in the fundamental understanding of QoE-improved wireless multimedia communications and provide the theoretical underpinning for system design and algorithm implementation. By strengthening the mobility of European and Chinese researchers, the project brings new blood and ideas into the academic research of both regions. Moreover, this staff exchange programme helps to cross-fertilise and exchange ideas in order to accelerate the development and knowledge transfer of wireless multimedia networks, set up future joint research projects, build up long-term world-class collaboration, and contribute to the development and maintenance of the European research community’s leading international profile and global influence in the fields of wireless networking and multimedia processing.

Work programme and achievements:

This project is achieved through three types of activities operating in parallel during the whole duration of the project: Management Activities, Research Activities and Knowledge Transfer Activities. These activities are organized in five logically-linked work-packages (WPs). WP1 focuses on the management activities and is dedicated to project administration and coordination of both research activities and knowledge transfer activities. The objective of WP1 is to ensure smooth and timely operation of the project.

The purpose of research activities is to fulfill the scientific objectives, i.e., to research into the design, protocol, and algorithms of the new vision of heterogeneous wireless multimedia networks with improved QoE. These activities are divided into four technical WPs: WP2-WP5. WP2 performs a thorough requirement analysis of heterogeneous wireless multimedia networks and conducts the detailed design of the overall system architecture. The major components of this architecture are dealt with in WP3 and WP4, respectively. WP3 researches into the cost-efficient multimedia content adaption methods that cope with the bandwidth-fluctuant radio channels and time-varying wireless communication conditions to achieve a better content quality and service profile that are suitable for the network working environment. WP4 investigates into the sophisticated cognitive radio and cooperative communication technologies coupled by efficient end-to-end (E2E) resource management methods in multi-carrier communication systems to enhance the capacity and improve user perceived QoE. WP5 converges the outcomes of WP3 and WP4 to implement prototype systems for carrying out evaluation and demonstration.

These activities have yielded the following achievements and benefits:

1) Project Management and Knowledge Transfer Coordination
The project management, administration, and coordination activities have been conducted effectively to achieve timely operation of the project and deliver high-quality scientific results and knowledge transfer. During the four-year project lifetime, the partners have completed 180 man-months of staff exchange and secondment, fulfilling the number of secondments originally planned in the project agreement. These secondments are scheduled according to the designed work packages, knowledge transfer activities, and targeted milestones. To sum up, the staff exchange and knowledge transfer activities led to 106 successful visits and visitors gave 71 research seminars. The project consortium organized 4 internal workshops, 3 international workshops and contributed to 55 major conferences and workshops. In total, over 78 research publications were generated during the project period. This staff exchange programme has contributed to foster long-lasting collaboration between partners in the field of mobile multimedia wireless networks and develop a common base of knowledge and a research platform that can be used to set up future joint research projects.

2) Efficient system architecture and solutions for mobile multimedia wireless networks
Based on a thorough requirement analysis of QoE-aware heterogeneous wireless multimedia networks, this project investigate a cross-layer design method and studies an efficient wireless network architecture for improving the QoE perceived by users. This system architecture seamlessly integrates two key aspects: 1) network-aware adaptive multimedia processing at the application layer and, 2) multimedia-driven heterogeneous wireless networking at the transmission layer. The exchange of cross-layer information enables to advise each layer to design more efficient operational procedure and protocols. Specifically, network-aware adaptive multimedia processing investigates how services and applications can optimally adapt multimedia coding, content and transmission according to the time-varying network conditions, channel quality, and diverse mobile device. However, multimedia-driven heterogeneous wireless networking investigates how wireless networks can be designed and tuned according to the multimedia traffic characteristics and service requirements so as to optimize the mobility management, resource management, energy efficiency and QoS differentiation.

3) Network-aware Adaptive Multimedia Processing and Traffic Modelling
The project consortium has developed new techniques for multimedia coding and content adaptation for transmission over wireless channels by jointly considering media applications, QoE constraints, heterogeneous networks reliability, and service availability. Effective multimedia processing and traffic modelling methods, for example, knowledge-based high efficiency multimedia coding, adaptive transmission control for real-time transcoding, fast video enhancement transcoding for low-lighting video stream, and analytical modelling of network-aware adaptive multimedia traffic have been designed and evaluated. To reduce the amount of multimedia traffic over wireless networks, a new video synopsis approach that condenses a long video as a compact version for efficient transmission, browsing and retrieval has been developed. Furthermore, a segment-based bit allocation scheme that assigns fixed bits to segments and further allocates bits to frames according to frame types is proposed to adjust the target coding bitrate according to the network conditions before the encoding process. These methods can adapt multimedia processing according to the dynamic network environment and working conditions.

4) Multimedia-driven Heterogeneous Wireless Networking and Communications
To efficiently support content-rich and resource-hungry multimedia applications over heterogeneous wireless networks, the project partners have investigated into the sophisticated communication technologies coupled by efficient E2E resource management methods to enhance the capacity and improve user-perceived QoE. These innovative methods including novel technologies to E2E manage the whole pool of available network resources, cost-effective scheme to integrate the management of mobility and QoE of users, IEEE 802.11ay MAC related technologies, mmWave in 5G heterogeneous wireless networks (HetNets), achievable rate and maintaining connectivity of 5G mmWave networks, novel quadrature space-frequency index modulation (QSF-IM) scheme, lightweight and plug-and-play solution for semantic network autonomic management system for SDNs, and modelling semantic-intelligent information on SDN. Extensive simulation experiments and test on platforms have been conducted to validate the performance of these new protocols schemes for wireless multimedia networks.

5) Systems Integration, Trials, Demonstration, and Evaluation
The project partners have worked together to integrate the aforementioned two tightly-coupled parts of heterogeneous wireless multimedia networks into prototype systems for validation, evaluation and demonstration purposes. The proposed network-aware multimedia coding and content adaptation methods are implemented for various typical smart mobile devices and the multimedia servers. The developed system and integrated component suite are tested for performance, stability and usability. Specifically, a multimedia service platform under heterogeneous network environment consisting of three main components including video content server, cloud computing transcoding system, and mobile multimedia terminal has been developed. In addition, we have developed a function testing and verification platform dedicated to support developing active-safety applications of Intelligent Connected Vehicles (ICV) through multimedia sensing data transmission in heterogeneous vehicular communication networks.

The aforementioned research activities and staff exchange programme have helped to strengthen the current research links amongst the partners, foster new research collaborations, set up future joint research projects and build up long-term world-class research and development in the field of mobile multimedia wireless networks. The techniques developed in this project fill important gaps in the fundamental understanding of QoE-improved wireless multimedia communications and provide the theoretical underpinning for system design and algorithm implementation. This project has also raised awareness of and promoted the EU higher education and research systems in China in order to make Europe more attractive for researchers.

Reported by

United Kingdom


Life Sciences
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