What does the new SVC standard in video conferencing mean to the Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) market?
Old standard problem
Customer locations such as Hospitals have to install special networks such as MPLS. This is expensive and an added burden to the Hospital IT staff.
No special network is required. Use the existing internet service (assuming enough bandwidth is provisioned).
Old standard problem
The special network requirement of the old standard applies to both ends of the video call. This means the interpreters must also have a special network connection. This is expensive and complicated for home based interpreters. For this reason the interpreters in most VRI provider organizations are located in a call center where a special network may be deployed that is used by all the interpreters in the call center. This raises the cost of providing VRI interpretive services and of course limits the interpreter labor pool to those who live close to the call center.
SVC makes home based VRI agents an economic and technical reality.
Now for some techie explanation: Why are the above statements true? What is the “old” standard? What is the new SVC standard?
The old and still dominant standard is known as H.264 AVC. It is the underlying standard used in what is generally referred to as 323 based systems from current video conferencing market leaders Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize. The video with this technology runs over a single stream. When that stream has loss conditions that exceed 2-4%, video errors or artifacts typically occur. This is why controlled networks with a guarantee of performance are typically used with these systems.
SVC, technically known as H.264 SVC, divides the video stream into multiple sub-streams or layers: a base layer, and one or more enhancement layers. So if packet loss occurs or the available bandwidth is reduced, the video signal at the base layer still gets through 100% without picture degradation. When the signal improves the additional streams are added improving resolution and adding frames per second. Below is a visual representation of this video conferencing technology.