Innovating the Personalised Media Mobility in the Smart City

Innovating the Personalised Media Mobility in the Smart City: “My screen follows me” through FLAME

Entertainment systems are getting increasingly popular in homes and public spaces. The media we consume come with us over various personal devices, both fixed and portable, with a continuous stream of data we consume in our daily lives. FLAME comes to explore a new way consumers participate and access personal media while on the move in the Smart City. We this blog post we briefly introduce how we implement the “Personalised Media Mobility” (PMM) in FLAME, aiming at demonstrating the personal Video on Demand and personal CCTV recording/streaming through the FLAME platform while on the move in Barcelona Smart City.

Many broadcasters have developed from years multichannel television offers, based on fixed interactive digital platforms with high definition at fixed places (e.g. the home, the hotel) and complementary streaming applications available on PC and Mac, Xbox, Android and iOS mobile devices for the fruition of movies, entertainment and sports events. For example, broadcasters like Sky in Europe and DISH in USA have multichannel television offers (e.g. Sky Go, DISH Anywhere) which couple the traditionally interactive digital platforms with set-top box and HD TVs with complementary streaming applications to access contents everywhere. The same Sky in Europe has launched in 2017 the Sky Q service to allow multiscreen experience for their customers, and consume Sky contents around the home and when out, over devices equipped with the Sky application.

More on the personal media side, when thinking to personal libraries of media contents (my Movies, Music, Photos) we see today that most of the digital home systems are generally stand-alone platforms, typically deployed in systems of various capacity (from home NAS up to a rack of servers in case of hotels and buildings) which run some media application software and sometimes integrate with value-add services for the home security (e.g. VoD – and video-surveillance systems – CCTV). The more advanced systems, like Symphony by Nextworks, integrate multiple home automation services over a constellation of terminals (video clients, touchpads, handheld devices, phones, cameras, domotic devices, etc.) but all typically remains in the coverage area of the personal home network.

The demand for personalised streaming service is calling for expanding the home services fruition also outside, with an emerging business sector basically dominated by Over the Tops (i.e. service providers offering their streaming services generally across the Internet). These cloud-based media service providers are progressively merging with broadcasters (or taking over their traditional market role) and capturing the emerging interest of users. Examples include Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, HBO Go.

Path to Personalised Media Mobility.

In FLAME we are working on a new scenario of “Personalised Media Mobility” for the Smart City.

We are focusing on the Personalisation, Interaction, Mobility and Localisation (PIML) of media distribution in the Smart City, and will go beyond the simple fruition of media contents while on the move. In particular, we are building a platform and experiments to evaluate how media service providers can serve users on the go within the Smart City taking benefit of the FLAME platform services, like intelligent service endpoint management, dynamic service routing to direct traffic to the most appropriate local service instance, reduction of network traffic through localizing traffic wherever possible, also addressing the aforementioned latency reduction. All in all, we are experimenting how to go beyond the traditional content delivery networks (CDNs) and build a PMM service over a platform which supports fully secured surrogate media distribution service endpoints.

Our PMM will allow access to personal contents users produce and interact with from anywhere. On top of the FLAME platform we will manage to have media distribution service chains automatically deployed and adjusted while users move in the Smart City and reach areas covered by FLAME network access points.

The PIML aspects tackled by this scenario consist of:

Personalisation . The user can select the personal devices through which he can consume the media while moving within the urban area and activate by swiping on the remote control the join of the media stream over the selected device. Also, in case of CCTV streaming, the user can select the camera from which to stream and remotely control zoom, pan/tilt etc. to implement a personal view of specific zones under control and record.

Interactivity. The user can manage personal contents and configure preferences for the service e.g. to access live CCTV contents from video-surveillance cameras and tilt, pan, zoom-in/out, to stream specific formats, etc.

Mobility. While the user moves from one cell/network access point to another one, the media delivery service chains need to be dynamically re-adapted to continue streaming the selected media with the committed QoS/QoE levels.

Localisation. The location information exposed by the FLAME platform (e.g. user attached to a specific network access point, in a specific city zone, etc.) can be used to infer a derivative information of proximity, and generate location-based services for e.g. advertisement/notification when close to a shop/mall, according to user preferences.

PMM experiment scenarios.

Three scenarios are part of our experiments:

  • Scenario 1: PMM distribution in walking areas in Barcelona, i.e. my screen & preferences follow me from home to my smart hand-held devices to continue media consumption while walking in the Smart City
  • Scenario 2: PMM on public transportation systems, i.e. my screen media follow me also on public transports, with use of surrogate functions in edge nodes on the bus
  • Scenario 3: PMM in digital signage posts, i.e. access to media contents from large public events in the Smart City at digital signage posts and swipe them in the personal device.
Scenarios for Personalized Media Mobility in Urban Environments

The FLAME team is now working to realize a first alpha release of the platform for early 2018. The PMM experiments will be realized in FLAME during 2018, with the initial assessments of the Scenario 1 (PMM distribution in walking areas in Barcelona).

Post from Gino Carrozzo, Nextworks.