Ericsson, RWTH Aachen, and Rovi MainConcept Improve Video Conferencing




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Ericsson, RWTH Aachen University, and the company Rovi MainConcept have started a collaborative research and development project called Connected Visual Reality (CoVR).  The goal of the project is to substantially enhance the performance of audiovisual online communication and thus make it more popular. Receiving funding of about €1.1 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the “NRW Ziel2” program, the CoVR research project is one of the winners in the HighTech.NRW competition.  


Video conference and telepresence applications possess high future potential. With these technologies, the efficiency and sustainability of operating procedures can be optimized- for example through less need for business trips. In order to increase the market potential of these types of applications, the technical possibilities of the corresponding communication systems must be expanded. Interoperability is lacking in high end systems and in wide spread video chat solutions on the internet (High end systems and wide spread chat solution on the internet lack interoperability). The research project is also working on making it possible to use video conference and telepresence applications through various networks.

One goal of CoVR’s research and development work is to develop technologies that can operate in heterogeneous networks and that allow for communication in HD quality. Video quality can be somewhat improved through more effective and scalable coding, while audio signal performance can be improved through intelligent reduction in background noise, dereverberation, and echo cancellation.

Furthermore, under the new CoVR project new functions will be developed, which could considerably increase the attraction of the applications. The developed system should be able to provide constant content analysis of relayed audio and video signals, which when applied, for example, would visually highlight a speaker and make them more recognizable within a group of conference participants.

Solutions for Video Communication

Ericsson Eurolab, a distinguished research and development site for telecommunication companies, is heading the project. Additionally, two internationally renowned RWTH Aachen Institutes are involved in the project. For many years, the Institute for Communication Systems and Data Processing has conducted research in the fields of digital transmission technology, channel and network simulation, speech coding, and language signal processing to improve audio quality.

The Institute for Communication Engineering primarily works in the field of video compression and content analysis of picture, video, and audio signals. The international reputation of the institute is based on its active involvement in standardization efforts for videos.

The Aachen company, MainConcept, is responsible for video compression and decompression in the CoVR. MainConcept is a leading provider of video and audio codec solutions and has years of experience in the fields of encoding and decoding and pre- and postprocessing of audio and video signals.


About Ericsson

Ericsson is a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and services to mobile and fixed network operators.  The company is a driver in 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile technology and managed services.  Ericsson supports networks that serve more than two billion participants.  Its services encompass mobile and fixed operations, telecommunications services,  software, and broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, companies, and media.  The joint ventures Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson provide valuable mobile products to users.

Ericsson's vision is to be the primer driver in an all-communicating world, using innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions to accomplish this vision.  In 2010, it employed over 90,000 employees in more then 180 countries.  Net sales were SEK 203.3 billion (USD 28.2 billion) in 2010. The company was founded in 1876 and its headquarters are located in Stockholm, Sweden.  Ericsson's shares are traded on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm and NASDAQ New York.


About MainConcept

MainConcept, a daughter company of the Rovi Corporation, is the world's leading provider of software development kits for adding audio and video encoding, decoding, transcoding, and streaming to softwarea applications.  MainConcept SDKs power many of the most popular broadcast, professional, and consumer applications in the market today.  MainConcept also offers a powerful set of encoding applications and codec plug-ins for mass market third party applications allowing users to quickly add MainConcept codecs to their existing digital media workflows.  Its combination of high quality encoding, performance optimized for the latest processors and operating systems, as well as support for all of the major international codec standards in use today makes MainConcept the best choice for codec technology.