Apple has just announced a landmark partnership with IBM to boost enterprise adoption, and today the company was granted a patent for a video conferencing system that can compete with Microsoft’s Round Table Conferencing device, reports Patently Apple.
Video conferencing solutions currently available usually provide low quality video content, and have an awkward construction of the supplied video cameras that capture the video of the conference locations. One noteworthy exception is the Round Table device by Microsoft, but there is a major issue with it: the transport of high-quality video from one location to another is very bandwidth intensive, claims Apple.
The solution Apple has patented is an invention that employs scalable video coding (SVC) in a multi-view camera system, highly suited for video conferencing.
Since each camera generates video streams-providing video content of image areas, what the system Apple has patented does is identify the active image area by analyzing the audio content from the different image areas, finally selecting the corresponding image area of the existing video streams.
The composite video content stream is encoded using SVC to provide an encoded video stream having at least a lower SVC layer and a higher SVC layer. The lower SVC layer includes base information from which the composite video content can be reconstructed at a lower quality level. The higher SVC layer includes enhancement information for a selected portion of the composite video content.
The selected portion of the composite video content corresponds to the image window in which the video content of the active image area is provided. The enhancement information provides supplementary coding data that, when used with the corresponding base information, allows the selected portion of the composite video content to be reconstructed at a higher quality level when the encrypted video stream is decoded.
The encoded video stream along with an audio stream for the selected audio content is encapsulated into a Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) stream, and delivered to a conference bridge or another conference location.
Apple credits Dany Sylvain as the inventor of the patent, which was filed in Q2 2012.