FAU Video Tech Inventions Acquired by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Video Compression, NetFlix, YouTube, Patents, High-quality Video, Video Streaming, Engineering, Computer Science, Versatile Video Coding

From YouTube to Netflix to Zoom, video compression technology is critical for streaming video applications to generate high-quality video.

By gisele galoustian | 1/21/2021

A novel, patent-pending video compression technology developed by researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science was recently acquired by Japanese industry giant Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

From YouTube to Netflix to Zoom, video compression technology is critical for streaming video applications to generate high-quality video. Video compression reduces the video file size to enable transmission with no discernible loss of quality and also is instrumental for other video platforms such as telemedicine, drones and autonomous vehicles. 

The technology acquired by Mitsubishi was developed in partnership with OP Solutions, a Massachusetts-based tech startup. OP Solutions funds FAU’s research and development of enhanced video compression techniques related to the new generation of video coding standard called “Versatile Video Coding” (VVC) or H. 266.  As part of the strategic partnership, OP Solutions provides research sponsorship and direction, patent portfolio development and technology monetization, while FAU provides cutting-edge technical expertise and technical resources.  

“We have implemented an innovative and mutually beneficial university/industry collaboration to take Florida Atlantic University discoveries and inventions to the next level,” said Daniel C. Flynn, Ph.D., FAU’s vice president for research. “Our joint research and development efforts with OP Solutions have already resulted in significant revenues for our university and we expect this trend to continue on this trajectory with a significant royalty stream that is anticipated over the next two decades.”

The FAU research team includes Hari Kalva, Ph.D., associate chair and professor, Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and Borko Furht, Ph.D., professor, Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and director of the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Advanced Knowledge Enablement (CAKE); within the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Kalva and Furht are working on the project with Robert J.L. Moore, president of OP Solutions; and Velibor Adzic, Ph.D., an FAU graduate and director of product development, Videopura, LLC.

VVC is the latest in a series of very successful standards for video coding that Kalva and Furht have been working on for the past 20 years. These standards have been jointly developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the ITU Telecommunications Standardization Sector, which assembles experts from around the world to develop these standards. These standards act as defining elements in the global infrastructure of information and communication technologies. VVC is the direct successor to the well-known and widely used High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and is necessary for higher resolution video, faster and more reliable streaming and 30 to 50 percent bandwidth savings. 

As part of the project, Kalva and Furht have participated in VVC standardization since April 2018, including by attending several ISO/ITU-T standard committee meetings in locations like Macau, Marrakesh and Geneva. At these meetings and throughout their participation in standard-setting, the FAU team worked alongside numerous leading high-tech companies in the field to develop and refine VVC into a video compression standard to meet industry needs going forward. 

“Video compression is key to transmission and industry collaborates on a new standard to ensure compatibility across different devices and use cases,” said Furht. “We were extremely proud and honored to be the only university in the United States that participated in developing this latest standard.”

Application areas especially targeted for the use of VVC include ultra-high definition 4K and 8K video, video with a high dynamic range and wide color gamut, and video for immersive media applications such as 360° omnidirectional video. Conventional standard-definition and high-definition video content also are supported with similar gains in compression. In addition to improving coding efficiency, VVC provides highly flexible syntax supporting such use cases as sub-picture bit stream extraction, bit stream merging, temporal sub-layering and layered coding scalability.

“VVC provides a major benefit in compression over HEVC and we currently have plans underway to develop an optimized VVC encoder to achieve an estimated 50 percent bit rate reduction compared to HEVC for equal subjective video quality,” said Kalva. “Test results have already demonstrated that VVC typically provides about a 40 percent bit rate reduction for 4K/ultra-high definition video sequences in tests using objective metrics.”

FAU faculty in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are at the forefront of research in data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber physical systems, cybersecurity, cryptographic engineering, micro and nanotechnology in medicine, bioinformatics, sensors and Internet of Things, signal processing, machine learning, vehicular networks and video communications.

“The cutting-edge inventions developed by professors Kalva and Furht related to video compression technology have the potential to become essential patents for the new VVC standard,” said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “Over the next 20 years, we anticipate that this FAU-invented technology will be available on all devices with screens sold worldwide from smartphones to tablets to autonomous vehicles.”