Ateneo de Manila University unveils state-of-the-art IPTV test-bed —

MANILA, Philippines — The Ateneo de Manila University has opened a new research facility that aims to provide content creators a test-bed for optimizing the user experience (UX) of interactive media, as well to address IP (Internet protocol) network delivery of content and services.

Located at the school’s Electronics, Computer and Communications Engineering (ECCE) department, the new lab is officially called “Convergent Platforms and Network Media Test-bed.”

The facility was formally launched on July 22 with guests from Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC)’s partners PLDT, NTT-Japan, Oki Electric, DOST–ICT Office, Asia Pacific Telecommunity, Telecommunications Technology Committee, and Ionics Philippines gracing the event.

The state-of-the-art facility seeks to serve as an IPTV research lab where interactive media and services across numerous platforms, content creation, and sharing over the Internet can be developed.

Laboratory director Nathaniel Libatique said the test-bed can deliver broadband interactive content via digital broadcast, wireless broadband, fiber-optics, and 4G.

He said new content from local creators can be optimized for presentation on several platforms such as smartphones, tablets, digital signage and theater screens, and in different revenue-sharing schemes.

Ateneo professors Cesar Pineda, Gregory Tangonan and Libatique collaborated with Hideki Yamamoto and an Oki Electric team to develop and configure a deployable head-end system capable of HDTV and wireless content streaming with live encoding using portable and international standards-compliant components.

A gadgeteer’s dream, the new laboratory is equipped with video encoders for IPv6, digital broadcast TV transmitters with handset and tablet receivers. It also features Apple TV and Google Chromecast, with the newly conceptualized “near cloud” servers operating seamlessly.

With the lab, the AIC has brought together modern network delivery platforms with the latest home network and personal computing gear into a single interactivity media test-bed.

Rising in prominence in recent years, new IPTV channels allow people to react to content on any platform using their ever present “second screen” — their smartphones.

With the convergence of multiple platforms of information delivery expected to produce a rich diversity of content, telecommunication carriers, content creators, and online service providers will find the facility an exciting place to collaborate.

Ateneo said it is also designing a complementary capability that aims to solve the lack of reliable and high bandwidth access at the edge of the network via its “near cloud” architecture. This approach, according to DOST-ICT Office director Phillip Varilla, fits well with the TV White Space initiative of the government.

AIC director Fabian Dayrit explained that the “near cloud” application is is a powerful information system for an archipelago like the Philippines.

By caching more than 95 percent of the content needed for a school into the near cloud, students can experience a rich media curriculum, as if they linked to a high-speed connection.

The same architecture, he said, can be used in LGUs for rebuilding libraries in post-disaster communities or in remote medical clinics — all with low bandwidth.

“We are developing applications to disaster management because we need to position a lot of information assets in the field fast,” Dayrit said.

Cesar Pineda of the AIC Research Faculty said newly opened laboratory, in fact, is already demonstrating how LGUs can use the Japanese digital TV standard ISDB-T for e-government services.

In remote areas or in times of disaster, broadband content may come from two-way VSAT (very small aperture terminal) communications and satellite broadcast, which the LGUs can rebroadcast over ISDB-T or over near cloud distribution.

Jose Paolo Talusan, a graduate student at the Ateno, said a near cloud server with a terabyte of preloaded content — maps, school curriculum, and medical information — placed in remote schools, LGUs, and hospitals can serve as a powerful local ICT hub with “super Internet” experience.

With a relatively “slow” Internet connection, users can use instantaneous bandwidth for interactivity — voice or video consulting — rather than transmission of movies, high resolution images, and curriculum.

Benjz Gerard Sevilla, another graduate student, said an IPTV system connection to Sendai, Japan allowed 50 disabled persons to interact live and present their paper in an international conference for the disability-inclusive response to disasters.

“As a research institution connected to the Philippine Research, Education and Government Information Network (Preginet) of DOST-ASTI, Ateneo de Manila University is ready for these remote international correspondences, best exemplified by the research activities of the CP-NM Facility,” Sevilla said.

IPTV Ateneo