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James Awad Provides Insight into Growing Video Technology

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August 30, 2010

James Awad Provides Insight into Growing Video Technology

By Juliana Kenny
TMCnet Managing Editor

As the growth of video technology rapidly increases, Octasic (News - Alert) Inc., a company specializing in media and wireless baseband processing software solutions, stays on the forefront of the video industry. As a global provider of these silicon and software solutions for converged carriers, Octasic enables its customers to reduce system costs and gain access to the latest video algorithms for the network needed.

Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMC (News - Alert) had the chance to engage in a one-on-one with James Awad, product manager for Octasic, Inc. As a speaker at the ITEXPO West 2010 in Los Angeles, Awad provided some insight into the expanding video technology industry in terms of where it’s going, and how it is getting there. Get a sneak peek at what Awad will be discussing in the fall below.

RT: What is the most significant trend in communications today? Why?

JA: The uptake of video technology is probably the most significant change in communications. It affects all aspects of the user experience but also has a profound impact on the enabling technologies.

In terms of user experience, video has revolutionized the way we communicate. Online video has exploded because it enables anyone to reach a very broad audience at a very low cost (and usually for free!). This first phase of adopting “static” video was a huge success for portals such as Youtube, Vimeo (News - Alert) and so on. The next step is already underway however, that of providing everyone with the ability to broadcast live video from anywhere directly to the Internet. Services such as Qik and Flixwagon have already demonstrated this. As devices, cameras and networks improve, this will become seamless and ubiquitous. The next step will be to enable seamless real-time video conversations with services like Facetime.

On the flipside, the telecommunications industry is still learning to cope with this deluge of information. A new set of standards such as H.264, WebM (VP8), and HTML5 are being adopted by web browsers on both the desktop and in mobile devices. Video is becoming a seamless part of any on-line experience, whether it’s a news report, Wikipedia page or corporate marketing. In order to support this video traffic, the routers and gateways that move all this content around are being scaled upwards to cope with this exponential demand.

One emerging requirement is that of video transcoding, brought on by the wide range of endpoints that are encoding and decoding this media. Octasic is a leader in silicon and software solutions that solve this processing bottleneck when it comes to video processing, which includes transcoding.

RT: What is the one product or service the market is most in need of?

JA: Right now, we are on the cusp of another wave of video content explosion. With the arrival of devices like the iPhone (News - Alert) 4, end-users are going to encode and upload 720p video to sites such as Facebook and Youtube, without thinking twice about the strain on the network and servers at the other end.

Internet and Wireless service providers are struggling to figure out how they can make money when the bandwidth used by each customer increases 100-fold. One solution to all these issues is what’s called “Stream adaption” or “Content adaptation.” A media gateway can be used to scale down video feeds to the appropriate screen size, frame rate, and bandwidth. This Stream Adaptation can be quite expensive, and is now mostly being performed by x86 servers which are quite costly in terms of dollars, physical size and energy costs.

By using optimized DSP solutions from vendors like Octasic, service providers can reduce their server room costs by a factor of five!

RT: Nearly every phone manufacturer is now incorporating support for wideband codecs.  Will we finally see widespread HD voice deployments in 2011?

JA: HD voice is well overdue. Its benefits have been demonstrated time and time again by people using Skype (News - Alert) and other softphone solutions. Don’t forget though that a lot of network infrastructure equipment needs to be replaced to accommodate these new codecs. I think that for the next few years we will continue to see “islands” of wideband audio. As each new enterprise installation or wireless network adopts wideband voice, we’ll see more and more interoperability between these systems. Don’t forget that you’ll often need to transcode between audio codecs such as AMR-WB, G.722.1, G.729.1 and G.711.1!

RT: What impact has the growth of cloud-based services had on your business?

JA: As more and more voice and video services move to cloud-based systems, a whole new set of customers has opened up to us. With video services being moved from the central office to the IT datacenter, we’ve expanded our reach by offering the TXP1000 product. This PCIe card can be slotted into any x86-based server to increase video processing capacity by a factor of 10. If you’re building a high-capacity video processing system today, you really need to take a look at this technology!

RT: You are speaking at ITEXPO West 2010.  What is your session about?

JA: Octasic will be presenting tips and tricks for building a high quality video conferencing system. The DSPs and software that Octasic provides allow a system developer to build an HD MCU within a matter of weeks. This can be a simple enterprise box or a full-fledged telepresence system. Octasic’s field-proven audio and video codecs save our customers man-years of development and integration time.

RT: What will attendees take away from your session?

JA: Our session will highlight best practices and key performance indicators for building a high-quality video conferencing system. After attending this session, attendees will know how to “kick the tires” on a hardware/software solution for video conferencing.

To find out more about James Awad and Octasic, visit the company at ITEXPO West 2010. To be held October 4 to 6 in Los Angeles, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. Don’t wait. Register now.

Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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