Cisco Delivers Real-Time AV1 Video Codec

Leap-frogging H.264 video collaboration

Cisco Delivers Real-Time AV1 Video Codec

Leading communication and collaboration company, Cisco recently announced the arrival of its new real-time high-quality AV1 encoder for video collaboration. The new solution reduces bandwidth when it comes to video conferencing, and enables the delivery of next-generation content, all while avoiding the patenting problems common with the deployment of H.265.

As technology continues to evolve, we’ve managed to accomplish incredible things with everything from automation to AI. However, most companies still rely on H.264 for video compression – a technology that was initially introduced back in 2003. Yet addressing the issues with H.265 comes with problems like unacceptable risk, uncertainty, and cost for most companies.

The AV1 solution from Cisco comes from the Alliance for Open Media – a group which was founded in 2015 by companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Intel. Cisco worked alongside AOM partners to ensure that the AV1 creation would support the features required for future collaboration applications, particularly when it comes to real-time error resilience and minimal delays.

Creating Next-Gen Video Compression Technology

Adopting new video technology is increasingly vital in the current marketplace, particularly as video becomes a more crucial part of collaboration. The demand for higher quality and new services is growing. The AV1 solution provides an advanced toolset, complete with state-of-the-art compression performance. What’s more, the latest iteration of the AV1 creation offers speeds that are close to real-time.

Cisco demonstrated the possibilities of AV1 video encoding and transmission at the Big Apple Video Conferencing on the 26th of June. Xiaolin Shen was able to showcase the true potential of a Webex video meeting, using HD video at 720p, and a high-framerate desktop sharing solution at 1080p. The implementation featured a full stack for cloud media, with AV1-enabled servers deployed over the internet and end-to-end call signaling.

Cisco also proved that it could produce significant compression gains when operating at speed. The demonstration showed the AV1 solution encoding live 720p camera video at half the bandwidth of the old H.264 offering.

A New Future for Video

Cisco believes that the new and simplified profiles of AV1 will allow more advanced capabilities to be accessed more broadly by people using video conferencing and collaboration devices. The solution should be higher levels of consistency and interoperability over a range of vendor implementations.

Cisco’s presentation this week even touched on the challenges involved in deploying a new codec in collaboration systems. The business noted that it’s likely that legacy systems will be around for some time, and that meetings infrastructure would need to support mixed codecs in the meantime. Going forward, Cisco is in a fantastic position to incorporate AV1 into its portfolio with a combination of transcoding and multi-stream solutions to provide support for backward compatibility.


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1 Comment
AvatarDanny Steventon 22:44, 27 Jul 2019

A blog from Cisco about the intent with this new codec was shared back in March last year and I couldnt be happier to see the progress so great to read this update. (here is the blog: https://blogs.cisco.com/collaboration/av1-video-codec)

This might seem like nothing to some imagine if all vendors agreed to co-exist and take down the barriers for people to collaborate across platforms/products, users care little about the technology that drives there video meetings ‘its just a meeting’.

To me this is a very exciting announcement, well done all involved for putting pride aside and thinking about what people actually want/need!

Technology should be invisible to have the best impact so this is a great step forward.

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