The Integrated Media Approach to Networked Multimedia Systems
Applications which require real-time multimedia services face a number of difficult problems in the transmission of multimedia information. Among the most difficult problems are the heterogeneity of end nodes and the heterogeneity of media Quality of Service (QoS) requirements. End nodes typically consist of a computer and number of sensory input and output devices, such as displays, microphones, and cameras. QoS requirements include degrees of reliability, jitter, and delay. We propose an integrated approach to address these problems. Multimedia input data comprise a sensory environment which an application will make available; these data are packaged together into an Integrated Multimedia Message (IMM). From a received IMM, output data are selectively reproduced to create another sensory environment. We propose an IMM format and protocol behaviors for generation, presentation, and synchronization of these messages. While IMM's are aesthetically pleasing, well-suited to proposed high- speed networks, and ease intramessage synchronization, they are potentially plagued by the need to deliver QoS which meets the worst-case requirements of all of their components. We believe that this problem can be addressed, and are testing that belief experimentally with the U. Penn Experimental Multimedia Conferencing System, which will be embedded in the AURORA Gigabit Testbed.