Advanced Television

Bell Labs boost for video research

July 17, 2014

By Colin Mann

Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs has opened a new ‘antenna’ office in Cambridge, UK, to concentrate on video-centric networking innovation. The unit will be led by Bo Olofsson, formerly Director, Product Research Group at BSkyB. At Sky, his team was responsible for research and experimentation on emerging consumer technologies and their potential future application and implications for Sky and its product and services.

From the Cambridge base, Olofsson will head global research into real-time delivery of video to all types of connected devices, such as smartphones, games consoles, tablets, Smart TVs, and more across Bell Labs. This is the second Bell Labs antenna office and follows the opening of the Israel Bell Labs cloud research facility in May. A third location will be announced later this year.

Research at the Cambridge location will centre upon the evolution of video and real time cloud content delivery. Video currently accounts for approximately 75 per cent of a mobile service provider’s network traffic. This is expected to increase as consumer appetite changes and demand for video over any device grows even further, driving the need for networks to evolve. In addition, with the rise in user generated content – from tablets, smartphones, video cameras and machines – which needs to be uploaded, stored, managed and delivered in real time, the scale and scope of video-centric networking will increase even further. According to Alcatel-Lucent, this makes it essential to develop innovative solutions that help design the ‘video centric’ networks of tomorrow.

The Bell Labs team will be co-located with the headquarters of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Video business, which has grown significantly following the acquisition of Cambridge based Velocix in 2009. Focused on delivering specialist integration services and one of the most innovative ranges of video solutions in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Video business was named leading vendor of CDN equipment by SNL Kagan MRG. The company’s IP Video solutions include the Emmy award winning Cloud-DVR, the Velocix CDN and Transparent Caching.

Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs and CTO Alcatel-Lucent said that work at the Bell Labs location in Cambridge would focus on one of the big problems that is facing the industry today. “The massive growth in the generation and demand for video-centric content is creating one of the biggest issues for our customers as they evolve their networks. Bo Olofsson’s team will work closely with the IP Video team to solve these issues with solutions that optimise video-centric delivery and network capabilities that ensure high quality even as demand explodes,” he advised.

Olofsson noted that as consumer and enterprise user behaviour evolved and the appetite to produce and consume video continued to grow, it was placing huge demands on the network and forcing a need for change.”Coming from a provider, I have first hand experience of these challenges – and we are going to research new ways to support that demand. I’m very excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead, as I lead this research at the new Bell Labs facility.”

Paul Larbey, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Video business, suggested the start-up mentality of the Bell Labs antenna fitted very well with the ethos of its IP Video business. “By creating an environment in which a dedicated team of experienced researchers led by Bo Olofsson can collaborate closely with our IP Video teams, we will be able to accelerate innovation in this space to meet the needs of tomorrow’s networks,” he declared.

Categories: Articles, Equipment, Research, Video