Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where former student Kevin Moore from General Dynamics Mediaware is talking about Commercialising Research: Real-world Applications and Challenges of Digital Video. His company's applications include processing video from the US Predator UAV aircraft used by the US military in Afghanistan and sport video at the Beijing Olympics.
Dr. Moore is discussing how an idea from a research project becomes a commercial product. He pointed out that licensing the intellectual property from a research organisation may take years and require a share of the company or licensing fees . Mediaware obtained government and defence start-up grants, but even so the founders did not take salaries initially and the company started out in a very modest office. The company moved from selling consumer vdeo software to "prosumers". Customers were not just the usual home video market, but also lawyers and professionals. The company is modestly successful, with 90% of the revenue from outside of Australia. In 2008 the company was purchased by General Dynamics, but still operates out of Canberra.
Dr. Moore suggested not "chasing the market" but instead concentrate what real customers need. He used the example of the product InStream. The market was for regioanl TV broadcasters who needed to insert local advertisments into TV content for new HD TV. Existing prodycts ere designed for capital city stations and not affordable for small stations. The traditional was to implement this would be to decode the MPEG video, insert the ads and recode. Mediaware produced a software based system to insert the ads.
From prototype to product took 18 months. This was used by Prime for the Beijing Olympics and won an award. Despite this success, the product still does not have another customer. One problem is that potential customers do not believe that such a product is technically possible and therefore there is not a demand.One obvious use I can see for this technology is to insert information into the video stream from UAV surveillance aircraft.
Dr. Moore then showed examples of JPEG2000 for Wide Area Airborne Surveillance. Military manned and unmanned aircraft in Afghanistan are recording very large amounts of video data over wide areas. This is creating a large data management problem. Mediaware are working on systems to manage this. He commented on the difficulty of collecting requirements from users where the application is highly classified. Another issues is to adjust the quality of the video to suit the avialable military bandwidth.
Dr. Moore then invited the ANU students to apply for a job.