[POLYV Insight] When video meets 5G communication

We are in the age of 4G LTE communication. Compared to 3G, 4G network is significantly faster, with higher bandwidth capacity, and the network quality is much better.

While we still benefit from the ever evolving 4G LTE network, 5G – the next generation standard of communication, is already in progress.

You may ask, what is 5G communication? How does 5G change video technology and application? These are the topics we discuss in today’s article.

I. What is 5G?

5 th generation mobile networks, a.k.a. 5G, are the proposed next telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G standards.

In the definition made by Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance, a 5G network should meet the following criteria:

  • Data rates of tens of Mbps for tens of thousands of users
  • Data rates of 100 Mbps for metropolitan areas
  • 1 Gbps simultaneously to many workers on the same office floor
  • Several hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections for wireless sensors
  • Spectral efficiency significantly enhanced compared to 4G
  • Coverage improved
  • Signaling efficiency enhanced
  • Latency reduced significantly compared to LTE

All in all, 5G network has significantly higher speed and network capacity, better coverage and signaling, with much lower latency.

II. How 5G changes the game of video applications

You may ask, how fast is 5G? Well, let’s take videos as example –

If you connect your device to the 5G network, you can watch YouTube videos in 1080/60p without any lags or long bufferings; and if the network continues evolving, it is very likely that you can even watch 4K/60p smoothly without lagging.

Besides general videos, new video experience, like 360 panorama, VR and AR, can also benefit from 5G.

They all need fast graphic processing as well as high network bandwidth. For current computers and mobile devices, graphic processing is not a big problem, but the network bandwidth of 4G is still far from enough for smooth, real-time immersive experience.

With the deployment of 5G network, the bandwidth is no longer a problem –the network capacity is big enough that everyone in a 100 m 2 office can watch VR movies at 4K/60p simultaneously without any lags, or play Pokémon Go with significantly better details. That means everyone can have better VR/AR experience, making these video technology gets commercial use even sooner.

Besides, live streaming will take great advantage of 5G communication. As we know, the live streaming technology we use are usually based on HTTPS-FLV, RTMP, RTSP or HLS, which has seconds of latency. And even though YouTube now reduces the latency of live streaming to less than 3 seconds, it’s not very close to what we know as “instant streaming”. With the new 5G network, it is able to develop a new protocol for live streaming that deliver high quality live streaming while it is compatible to the protocols we currently use.

Additionally, some applications of live streaming, such as remote clinical diagnosis, psychiatric treatment and bespoke scanning, will be benefited from 5G as well, as they require very high bandwidth to high-definition video transmission or massive imagery data in a very short period of time, which is not likely to be done in current 4G network.

III. Conclusion

5G network is currently under development, with ongoing some lab tests led by Qualcomm, Huawei and Samsung. We expect to see the new generation of 5G standards being introduced as early as second half of 2018, and the 5G network to be deployed in 2020.

We can also that the technologies of videos are still evolving for the better during the time. With all these factors, the near future of video application is bright and will change dramatically from what we have now.


[POLYV Insight] What can we do with live streaming? (Part 2 – Consumer products)

In the first chapter of the insight, we talked about live streaming service for entertaining, and draws that it is hard to maintain a steady growth for the audience as well as the commercial value. Here from Part 2, we will start discussing live streaming service for various type of  business and other professional needs.

Consumer product is currently one of the major use for commercial purpose, especially in smart devices, household appliances, clothing and accessories. Millions of customers have learned about how to use the product or how it looks like with the product through the livestreams, and there are more things that live streaming can do.

We have come up with several ideas for using live streaming for now or in the near future.

1. Unboxing

Live streaming is a good choice for unboxing -- especially fresh from the press conference or the first impression of a new product.

Unboxing videos are currently widely used in product review channels or websites. The audience can learn a lot information – including the appearance, the features and how it works – from the videos.

And since live streaming is more timeliness-demanding, when unboxing events combine with live streaming, the audience can now learn about the new features of the product right at the press convention or first hands-on, with the help of the host or professional reviewers.

The bottom line, live streaming speeds up the way people learn about new products and features even at thousand miles away, and influences their impression on the products and the decision of buying them or not.

2. Product demonstration for training

Demonstration is also good for making it live.

Product demonstration is also a major use of videos. We’ve already seen a lot in both television and internet, but what if they are on live streaming?

If we put a product demonstration for livestreaming, it is more like a live tutorial for those who are new to the product, to train what it can do and how to use it. For this situation, the live streaming can be used for internal/corporate training and help freeing HR staff from the repetitive job.

3. VR/MR fitting and tailoring

With the help of VR/MR, you can complete the bespoke tailoring through a livestream.

Well, this is literally the “next big thing” in the near future. Even though the VR/MR fitting is still in development, there are some prototypes in progress surfacing to media, and even a few early products (such as FXGEAR) coming into reality.

However, the VR fitting gears currently still sit in big shopping malls and require a set of devices and softwares that are too expensive and complicated for general consumers. And for the VR devices like Oculus, HTC Vive VR and PlayStation VR, the fitting application is not yet developed.

But there’s still hope for the virtual fitting – some developers try to build applications that can scan and build the 3D model of your body using 1 to 3 cameras or even webcams that are easy to get, and the fitting result takes only seconds to send back to the customers. And with the help of MR using projectors, you can even see how the fitting and style is.

At this point, you can find and shop the clothes and accessories that match your style and size, without even going outside.

Another industry that will get benefits from VR/MR is the bespoke tailoring. Traditionally it requires a lot of precise measurements which should be done in the tailor shop, and another 1~3 fitting adjustments during the process. It takes a lot of time for both the tailors and the customers.

With the help of VR fitting, the tailors can instruct the customer how to pose and do the measurement, and obtain all accurate body measurements through a set of cameras or infrared measuring devices, then make a cast from these data using 3D printers. Now they can start the tailoring, and require only 1 or even no fitting adjustments during the process, which saves a lot of time and make the bespoke delivery from at least 3 weeks to only 12~14 days.

Of course, there are many more aspects live streaming can do in the field of consumer products that we don’t mention above due to limitations of the length. So what else aspects do you come up with that related to live streaming and consumer products? Let us know in the comment section down below, and we’ll see you in the next article!

[POLYV Insight] Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality?

2016 is the year of Virtual Reality – with headset devices like Oculus, HTC Vive or Sony PlaySatation VR, and VR resources like Resident Evil 7, Rick And Morty VR and Google Earth VR, and even some interactive VR commercials, the technology of VR is rapidly changing the way we feel the world – you can now concentrate to the context of the story, and make yourself more involved into it.

YouTube gamer Sean McLoughlin (a.k.a. Jacksepticeye) demonstrating VR game

YouTube gamer Sean McLoughlin (a.k.a. Jacksepticeye) demonstrating VR game

The issues? You have to wear a heavy headset connected with cables to your computers, and interact in the game with some specially-designed controllers; your vision is “limited within the headset”, and not able to see the surroundings or environment, which causes you to knock things, other people or even yourself down.

Then, some researchers and developers begin to build what we know as “Mixed Reality” (MR).

The users don’t need to isolate themselves from the reality – instead, what they see is the combination of reality and the computer-generated graphics that are projected in the environment. The users can react to or interact with both reality and the CG graphics in real time, without them interfering each other.

Currently the most-mentioned solution of MR is the HoloLens by Microsoft. It seems to be similar with the project of Google Glass, but with stronger computing to generate holograms and other CG graphics, making it able to use in practical needs and demands, such as architecture design, clinical research, product demonstration & experience, K-12 education and more.

Microsoft HoloLens in various productive scenarios

Microsoft HoloLens in various productive scenarios

And for France-based THEORIZ, it has a different perspective for MR.

Their solution doesn’t require user to wear a headset or use controllers. It uses multiple projectors to simulate a virtual environment within a specific space like a room or a hall, and cameras or sensors to locate the user and capture his motions or movements. When the user interacts with the virtual environment, the system simultaneously generates graphic that respond the user’s behavior.

The solution makes it simple and intuitive for user to understand and start interacting with the virtual environment, and is very ideal for solo or even group interaction in some specific scenarios like trying on clothes, psychological experiments and zoology study simulations. And with this breakthrough, THEORIZ rises fast and gains much attention around the world.

Demonstration of THEORIZ MR solution (screenshot from Vimeo)

Demonstration of THEORIZ MR solution (screenshot from Vimeo)

The development of MR shares a lot of things in common with VR, but has higher criteria and needs more work on the environment buildup and motion capture. Therefore many MR solutions are still in small test currently and not yet ready for public test.

And there’re chances for VR to evolve while MR is not widely ready – Intel has announced that a technology of fast wireless transmission, specifically designed for VR devices, is under development. It helps the VR devices go wireless, making users can move and interact freely without the restriction of cables and wires between the devices and the computer. Besides, Oculus, HTC and Sony are improving their VR devices based on the feedback and advice from the users, and upgrade devices will be ready in months.

To draw the conclusion, the fight between VR and MR is still on. It’s hard to tell which is better for now, but we can see that both are changing the way we sense, interact and learn about the world.

Highlights from POLYV Video Geek Seminar Guangzhou

Held by POLYV, Video Geek Seminar is a monthly seminar that mainly focus on the industry of video and other industries that are related to video, or the crossovers of both sides.

The previous 5 Video Geek Seminars were held in Beijing. This time, we had the seminar moved to Betaspace, Guangzhou, to meet new audience and learn more about the needs from potential clients.

The audience of Video Geek Seminar

The theme of this seminar is “Technical innovation for online education”. Shibiao Lv from China Net Center, Johnson Zhou from POLYV, and Xiang Lan from Xingshuai Education gave their lecture about the change and transition of traditional education, as well as innovation of online education, with their different perspectives and thoughts.

Shibiao Lv: How video technology drives online education

A veteran on media streaming and video architecture, Mr. Lv talked about the evolution of video technology, the combination of video and online education and how video support the industry. Also, he shared his thoughts and opinions about the technological innovation on this industry.

Mr. Shibiao Lv lecturing on video technology

Mr. Shibiao Lv lecturing on video technology

In his opinion, “The technology of video has changed significantly over the last two decades, the application of video or how we use it doesn’t change much. It just follows the trend, like VOD, live streaming, VR and AR.”

Johnson Zhou: Video application for online education

Started his career as technical support in Baidu, Senior Director Zhou demonstrated examples of POLYV’s clients, and showed practical acts of how to gain potential students and engagement between students and lecturers with the help of POLYV’s service and components.

Mr. Johnson Zhou in his speech about marketing with videos

Mr. Johnson Zhou in his speech about marketing with videos

He stated, “Compared to logistics, the industry of education is more suitable to go online, as knowledge should be spread beyond the boundaries of time and space.”

Xiang Lan: Video application for online education

With over 7 years of product and operation, Mr. Lan showed the audience the key points of running a service to the best, including the content, the service platform and operation procedures.

Mr. Xiang Lan talking about the innovation of video technologies

Mr. Xiang Lan talking about the innovation of video technologies

“Every little step of innovation and improvement counts,” He says, “The key for Xingshuai’s success is to produce excellent content, high efficiency and take the service to the next level.”

Round Table session & Conclusion

In the Round Table session, Lv, Zhou and Lan discussed about phenomena and current trend of video technology and the issues encountered in the online education industry.

Round Table session

Round Table session

They also answered questions from the audience, from their actual experience of gaining students, their different perspectives on online education to the extent of the lectures they had made.

With the ideas and opinions shared by the lecturers and the audience, everyone had new conceptions on the video technologies, the industry of online educations and how to operate a product/service with higher efficiency and effectiveness.

And last but not least, we would like you to participate in our next Video Geek Seminar, in the afternoon of July 8th (Saturday) in Beijing. You can click here for detail if you’re interested.

POLYV: A look back on 2016

Howdy! As in the first week of 2017, we think it’s time to take a look back on what we have done over the last year.

For us, one of the most important event this year is the Pre-A venture capital funding in May. The million-dollar funding was approved by Hike Capital, one of the largest venture capitals in China, and will be utilized in different fields, including online education, big data combined with VR research, and video identification known as “Video DNA”.

With this funding, we can now serve our users and clients even better, as well as focus on our research for more leading-edge technologies.

Another key event of ours is that we officially obtained the TRUCS certification in September. The certification is signed by Data Center Alliance (DCA), an association of cloud service and security led by Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and China Communications Standards Association (CCSA).

Unlike Alibaba, Tencent and other cloud services, we are the only one to exclusively provide SaaS service for videos among the TRUCS-certified cloud services. We attribute the certification to the recognition from the security authorities of DCA, as well as from the over 24,000 clients we serve over the years.

Besides, we received several awards and honors, including 3rd Prize of China Innovation & Entrepreneurship Competition (CIEC), New & Dashing Technology Prize of China Education Gala 2016, Certification of National High Technology Enterprises and more.

Once again, these honors are not for bragging about how great we are doing – they are the recognitions from the clients and authorities for our technologies and products, and reminding us of never stop developing and going further for the better.

As our business grows bigger and bigger, the sense of responsibility is growing, too. For the first time, our Streaming Cloud service played an important role in community activities – a 3-day live streaming classroom for the high school students in Beijing due to the severe smog weather.

As regarding “Driving value with video” as our ambition, we fulfill it by serving in such community or public affairs to help or benefit more people. It is a good kickstart and we will keep on with it from then on.

For promotions and marketing, we have participated in many tech salons, fairs and exhibitions, of which the biggest one is GET2016: Global Education Technology Summit & Expo. It is our honor to meet with great entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and leading professionals from all over the world, in both education and technology fields.

We really appreciate their speeches as well as the insights and prospects shared in the expo. Besides, many participants and corporations are very interested with our VR live streaming demo at the vendor. We have collected their feedback as they try it, and will consider them as a reference in the developing process.

And, we are beginning the overseas promotion. Back in August 2016, we started to plan about the international website, social media, blogs and other optimizations, and then started with the construction of blogs.

So far our blogs have been running well, and brought us the first few international clients for video hosting and live streaming. For international site, it is now in design stage, and will be deployed later this year.

And for the most important part – our product research and development, 2016 is the key year for Streaming Cloud – we started to promote this live streaming service in Q2, not only for market share, but also to test out the stability and load balancing.

Then, with weekly minor updates, the release of new PC client and mobile app, account linking between Video Cloud and Streaming Cloud, and more CDN nodes put into use, we had a great breakthrough in Q4: significant boost in both users and sales for Streaming Cloud, as well as gaining reputation from various type of clients and users.

We also made a demo for VR live streaming (as mentioned above in the promotion and marketing section), and some attempts in other new technologies including video recognition. We will notify you if new features or further updates are released.

The bottom line, we have been growing fast over 2016, and embracing the latest technologies for videos. For the brand new 2017, we will continue providing better video services and developing more useful functions and leading-edge features to meet our clients’ demands.

We’ll keep exploring. What about you?

POLYV in GET2016: Video service in online education (Part 2)

In our previous article, Reako Xie, founder of POLYV, showed us his creative perspective on online education and e-commerce, and made a comparison between them.

Here we deliver the second part of his speech, focusing the major issues of the video application in e-learning and online education.

Reako Xie, Founder of POLYV, talked about video applications and issues in online education industry at the seminar of GET2016

Reako Xie, Founder of POLYV, talked about video applications and issues in online education industry at the seminar of GET2016

Video is getting more and more important in nowadays internet technology. It is also the skeleton of the online education industry, influencing the process of teaching and learning.

Video has great advantages like containing massive information, well intuitive and interactive, which is unparalleled to texts and graphics. However, video needs a great amount of time for production and takes up lots of space and traffic for hosting, which is an obstacle for wide commercial use.

Here are the three major issues we have encountered –

First, piracy. It grows easily because videos are highly replicable, and the cost is legitimately low without effective copyright control.

Here we take the example of music records. It is a great industry over the 20th century, generating thousands of superstars and celebrities as well as tremendous value. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, music piracy has breached the industry thanks to the develop of the internet and the technology of audio compression in the cloud. That’s when music piracy becomes very simple that everyone can do this, and eventually the industry goes downhill.

As far as I concern in this case, I think it is just not enough to expect the fulfilment of the law, or everyone has the sense of copyrighting. We must take action and protect the video content from piracy.

As we all know, videos, presentations and other materials are the core resources for online educators and e-learning organizations. Once the resources are leaked and being sold at a really low price, it will devastate the whole online education industry.

To prevent this, POLYV releases the first generation of DRM (Digital Rights Management). Most of the 4000 primary users at that time subscribe our plan because of the DRM feature. And, after the development of over 3 years, the DRM prototype has evolved into PlaySafe DRM ecosystem, including fragmentation encryption on all kinds of content, anti-downloading, domain lists, anti-capturing and more. We will release new piracy proof system later this year, to protect the content from our users in full scope.

No system is absolutely safe, but we believe piracy can be inhibited by increasing the cost of obtaining the content illegally and compromising the experience of pirated content.

Second, the video content is non-structured. In other words, the content, plot or details in the video are unable to be indexed or searched, nor to be accurately positioned for a specific chapter or key point, making it inefficient to obtain our desired content.

To solve this issue, we develop an audio recognition system, which can accurately recognize different voice by learning, build up an index of the video and generate captions or subtitles automatically, which really help with the indexing and searching of the content.

Besides, the audio recognition system can sort the key points of the videos, identify the courses from different teachers and classify them by author, topics or length, you name it. All the actions are processed automatically without manual intervention, even if there are millions of videos. Only when sorted do data become knowledge, and that is the foundation of digital content management.

Third, immersive learning. Currently, this is one of the major difference between online education and traditional learning, and VR is a possible and potential way to solve it.

We made lots of experiments and exploration on VR (Virtual Reality), and some of the VR products have been released. We have introduced our VR devices in May this year and will release VR app in December. Our VR live streaming has been applied for online education, which is affordable and cost efficient in both software and hardware.

For now, we are developing an app for external video live streaming, which will be released at the end of this year, and will support Oculus and Microsoft Hololens in the future. We hope that POLYV will become a connection between videos and VR, and aid live streaming for online education.

We believe that with the popularity of VR, it will be the turning point for online education.

That’s all for my speech. Thank you all very much.