Global Invacom Group Limited, the satellite communications equipment provider listed on the Singapore Exchange and the U.K. AIM Market, has successfully live-tested breakthrough technology that permits live, high quality and large-scale event video streaming over a Wi-Fi network.
The Bx-WiFi technology – which stands for Broadcast WiFi – was developed through a partnership with the BBC Research & Development, and the University of Hertfordshire, under a European Space Agency (ESA) contract, and was successfully live-tested at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 12, 13 and 18 of August 2017.
Bx-WiFi enables simultaneous streaming of uninterrupted audio or video content from multiple sources – such as satellite feed, ‘live’ video or digital radio – to thousands of smartphone or tablet devices all located in the same hotspot (for example at an event). It uses Forward Error Correction to maintain video quality despite potential Wi-Fi packet loss, and multicast technology that minimises bandwidth usage when a large number of users are simultaneously streaming.
In simple terms, this means that users should be able to watch the broadcast without experiencing buffering or loss of signal. Unlike classic video streaming, this solution does not rely on the Internet and uses little WiFi bandwidth, allowing other users to access the Internet.
During the trial conducted in association with BBC R&D, participants streamed a comedy compilation from a previous Edinburgh festival as well as the Edinburgh Tattoo 2016, using Bx-WiFi. Both pieces of content were simultaneously streamed onto a multitude of different devices. The trial also allowed the collection of feedback and data on Bx-WiFi, enabling future enhancements.
Steven Fisher, Systems Architect at Global Invacom, says: “BX-WiFi is a breakthrough in streaming technology that is set to redefine video broadcast for large-scale events. Its scalability and flexibility ensure it can be deployed in diverse venues, including coffee shops, stadiums, and even aboard aircraft. We are pleased to work with partners who made this success possible.”
Dr Pandelis Kourtessis, Reader in Communication Networks - at the University of Hertfordshire’s Optical Networks Lab says: “Bx-WiFi will provide high quality video streaming to large user numbers in dedicated locations without saturating the terrestrial broadband telecommunication network. It will facilitate a tremendous increase in video consumption creating major benefits for content providers together with a range of businesses and their customers.”
For David Seguin, Ground Segment Engineer at the European Space Agency: “the Bx-WiFi project is an excellent example of how the ESA ARTES Competitiveness and Growth program can boost collaboration between industry and university communities in developing innovative technology and products for satellite communications.”