Interoperable Technologies for Multi-device Media Services
HTML5 is driving a strong trend towards interoperable Web-based applications, enabling a wider range of devices to run this kind of applications. However, most applications are running on these devices isolated from each other or, in the best cases, they are only loosely coupled. The growing interest in 2nd-screen solutions within the Connected TV sector clearly shows that users expect a more consistent experience across different devices and their applications. However, in order to fulfill these expectations, broadcasters and application developers currently need to implement, distribute and maintain a set of rather complex technical solutions tailored to each of the specific target platforms.
A more versatile solution would allow the implementation of applications irrespective of the target device and the application itself would be able to run across multiple user devices. The user could then smoothly transfer parts of the functionality from one device to another in an intuitive manner and the application would dynamically adapt to the device. Essentially, the challenge is to take connected service development to a new level.
This research proposes interoperable technologies for multi-device media services in order to deal with the different involved challenges: multi-device adaptation, enabling broadcasters and developers to create a single application code, which will seamlessly adapted to a dynamic context of a user dealing with multiple devices at the same time; cross device synchronisation, enabling a shared state between the devices to exchange context and timing information and provide a synchronised experience across devices; and multi-connection, providing mechanisms to discover and associate different devices and users.
This research also proposes solutions to complement computing resources in two directions. On the one hand, a hybrid local-remote rendering on client devices complemented with a cloud service is considered, when the real-time media experience requires higher computing capabilities than the resources available in the client. This could be the case of computer generated 3D content. On the other hand, a solution with idle client devices as an infrastructure is proposed to minimise delay-tolerant computing workload on the cloud infrastructure. Thin devices could perform atomic tasks, such as image analysis managed by the cloud service, to improve the experience of a social media service.