Feature Article

July 30, 2014

Apple Granted a Surprising Patent

There is exciting news today for Apple: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has officially published 33 newly granted Patents for Apple INC.

There is a particular buzz around the patents granted today due to its potential effect on video conferencing technology. 

Video conferencing has been gaining a lot of attention lately; many companies have been working toward creating technology that betters video content.  The main issue with video conferencing is the quality regarding the large amount of bandwidth required to send high quality video between locations.

Another issue facing video conferencing is the awkward positioning of video cameras that sometimes do not supply all of the views needed for a successful conference. Apple may have solved these problems.  

Before Apple, Microsoft created the Round Table Conferencing device to find a solution to these issues. This device was meant to sit in the center of a conference table and provide the viewer with a 360 degree view of the room and track the flow of conversation among conference participants. This required extensive coding and bandwidth that ended up producing overall low quality video content. Even though the focus was meant to be on the active speaker, following the flow of conversation,  the video content still included images of each active participant therefore decreasing the quality of the conference altogether.

There is a clear need in the videoconferencing realm for higher video content. The Round Table Conferencing device exemplified the distinct need for a video conference technology that works with bandwidth in a productive and effective way.

Apple may have done just that. With this new invention scalable video coding (SVC) plays a huge role in content quality. The video content stream is encoded using SVC providing the video with a lower SVC layer and a higher SVC layer that when combined, allows the selected portion of the composite video content to be restructured at a higher quality level when the encoded video stream is decoded.

Apple’s newest patented invention employs scalable video coding (SVC) in a multi-view camera system. The multiple cameras are programmed to record video content of different image areas and produce corresponding original video streams that provide video content of the image areas. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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