Cisco Virtualizes Video Processing via Videoscape

At the NAB 2014 show, Cisco and Sony demonstrate 4K video content streaming from New York City to Las Vegas.

Cisco Systems officials are using the NAB 2014 show to showcase its video content delivery capabilities, including announcing that the company is working to virtualize and cloud-enable parts of its Videoscape service to make it easier for service providers to offer better experiences to their customers.

At the same time, Cisco announced April 7 enhancements to its Videoscape AnyRes encoding technology to enable it to support full-frame rate 4K Ultra High-Definition content and, with Sony, demonstrated the live delivery of full-frame rate 4K 60P content streaming from New York City to Las Vegas, where NAB 2014 is being held.

Cisco's moves come as video becomes a greater percentage of the overall data traffic traveling through networks, and as service providers look for new ways to better deliver it to customers. Virtualization and the cloud are methods service providers and media companies can embrace to simplify their efforts.

"If anything is certain about the video business, it's this: the volume of change is daunting and every change tends to make life more complicated, not less," David Yates, director of service provider video marketing at Cisco, said in a post on the company blog. "This is certainly true at the sharp end of the business—digital video processing—where 'multiscreen' video, new video formats and new video technologies are together creating a perfect storm of complexity. Once there was SD over MPEG2 delivered to TVs. Now there is SD, various flavors of HD and, soon, 4K; and MPEG2, AVC and now HEVC [high-efficiency video coding]; plus a wealth of encapsulation schemes and DRMs; and even more screen sizes and resolutions as the number of device to be supported grows ever larger."

In its VNI Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2013-2018, Cisco found that as the wired and wireless IP traffic grows, video will continue to become a larger part of that traffic. Video last year accounted for 53 percent of all mobile network traffic. By 2018, video will represent 69 percent.

Cisco introduced the Videoscape service three years ago as a way to help service providers and media companies with the delivery of the service. Earlier this year, Cisco announced the Evolved Services Platform (ESP), an open software platform that officials said enables service providers to deliver prepackaged services built from flexible pools. These services can be reused and customized for each customer.

At the NAB show, Cisco officials unveiled Videoscape Virtualized Video Processing (V2P), which is designed to make the delivery of video services easier and more agile for service providers and media companies, particularly as they deal with such trends as the growth of multiscreen video content and of the number of options throughout the video processing workflow.

V2P is part of Cisco's ESP effort.

The V2P program includes a Virtualized Video Processing Portal that makes workflow configuration easier by putting it onto a single screen, and Virtualized Video Orchestrator, which enables software and hardware resources available from a single pool. Hardware and software work together to process the workloads, and the hardware is multifunction, with each function determined by the Virtualized Video Orchestrator. In addition, V2P also leverages such Cisco products as the AnyRes encoder and transcoder software, the DCM and 9036 lineups of video processing platforms, and Unified Computing System blade servers.