Day One of APEX TECH started with a launch customer announcement from SmartSky Networks and continued with updates from APEX’s various working groups on ad delivery, the MPEG-DASH streaming format, security requirements for HD and HDR content, emerging codecs and content delivery. The working groups called for industry experts to participate in their discussions as they draft proposals for standards in these areas. The day wrapped up with an APEX Awards ceremony and a networking reception on the pool deck of the Los Angeles Airport Marriott. Click here for takeaways from Day 2.
JetSuiteX Will Be Launch Customer for SmartSky 4G Connectivity
To kick off APEX TECH in Los Angeles, Alex Wilcox, CEO of JetSuiteX, announced that the private jet company, which also operates scheduled flights, will be the launch customer of SmartSky Networks’ 4G air-to-ground connectivity. The solution was tested on SmartSky’s Cessna Citation Excel “a couple of weeks ago” over Savannah, Georgia. “The damn thing works,” Wilcox said, adding that they were able to live stream to 22 devices with “super low” latency.
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APEX Ad Delivery Working Group Looking for Industry Input on Technical Requirements
“The entire world of advertising is changing, and advertising on in-flight entertainment systems is going to have to keep up, or find itself significantly diminished,” said Michael Childers, chair, APEX Technology Committee. New solutions are coming to serve personalized, targeted advertising to passengers at their seats, but service providers will have to accommodate new technical requirements to certify ad impression reporting systems, according to Childers.
The panel, which featured representatives from Kantar Media, IAB Tech Lab, Google, Ad-ID, Global Eagle, Touch Inflight, PXCom, Inadvia and DSR Corporation, presented the challenges and solutions of ad delivery from multiple perspectives and addressed the need for a glossary of terms to standardize language about ad delivery as well as the need for unique content identification. Harold Geller, executive director, Ad-ID, explained, “Airlines need to start thinking about themselves as media publishers. Advertisers want consistent analytics across platforms.”
In What Format Should Video Be Streamed?
The magic of delivering content to your computer relies on underlying technologies that send the various components of web pages in efficient and rapid ways. MPEG-DASH – or Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP – does the same thing for video files by breaking them up into bite-sized segments that are chosen to meet the varying conditions and speeds of the internet. To expand the use of this efficient streaming technology in IFE, APEX is considering the establishment of an MPEG-DASH working group to develop a specification for onboard delivery of content. A technical discussion between the panel and audience explored the potential issues and challenges surrounding the use of DASH.
0415 Part 2 Working Group Shares Updates on 4K Security Requirements
Since its establishment at APEX TECH in June last year, the APEX 0415 Part 2 Working Group has come up with a list of security requirements for handling 4K content. The group shared its definitions for content value and the appropriate security standards for each, and introduced a new category for playing 4K content on passenger devices. Furthermore, Phil Watson, co-chair of the working group, explained that a demonstration of artificial intelligence to remove visible watermarking may signal the need for forensic watermarking – a digital signature that identifies the rightful owner of a piece of content and that cannot be detected by the human eye.
Codec Moment: Which Is the Right Codec to Use When?
A video codec takes digital video and compresses it to fit a specific space-limited storage medium – like a DVD – then decompresses the file for playback. It also allows for the efficient delivery of a video file, whether via a broadcasting and cable infrastructure, the Internet or IFE systems. Improved codecs continue to be introduced to reduce the loss of data that happens during the compression process. Among others, a new advanced codec, the Versatile Video Codec (VVC), is under development. Industry consultant Bryan Rusenko moderated a panel that did a deep, technical dive into the advantages and disadvantages of new distribution codecs, as they relate to the IFE sector.
IFE Content Delivery’s Journey to the Cloud
Representatives from Axinom, castLabs and Spafax discussed the different parts of the IFE content workflow that could be processed over the cloud. Andy Beer, Spafax, who moderated the panel emphasized that content delivery itself is not an organized process and that “there’s too many moving parts to move wholesale to the cloud.” Where he sees potential for cloud delivery is with classic movies that have relatively fixed configurations: He imagines they could be stored in the cloud and called into rotation as needed. “At Spafax, all of our databases are already in the cloud. And we’ve only had one morning where we couldn’t get to it. That’s a better achievement than the decade before.”
Read about the APEX Technology Committee’s progress to move content delivery to the cloud, here.