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BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena

Meet easy

Alternative title: Meet easy

Awarded: NOK 16.1 mill.

The meet easy project is looking to democratise video conferencing solutions by providing as system at low cost that is easy to use, with high quality and level of flexibility. Results obtained earlier in the project; machine learning to automatically count the number of people in the room, automatic framing of video, microphone array systems - has been exploited to develop more advanced services such as tracking people using a combination of audio and video, as well as automated whiteboard summarization by understanding when the user has added text or images to the board. The project includes conferencing cameras and whiteboard cameras. By connecting the microphone array and camera data the project demonstrated an improvement in speaker following. The project is also finishing experiments on automatic room geometry understanding and a light-weight framework for determining actual meeting participants. These functionalities are intended to be used for automatic tuning of parameters to improve the perceived quality of sound and video. The project has also financed a post-doc at NTNU. This research has resulted in papers on automatic quality improvement of video conferencing. The work spans from metrics used for deciding which improvements lead to perceived increase in meeting quality to methods for automatic improvements of video quality. In preparation are works on content-aware rescaling of images and supervised image distortion correction. Traditional videoconferencing solutions are often expensive, cumbersome to install, and hard to use. Meet easy solves these problems by creating a camera that is easy to use, cost efficient, flexible and all this while maintaining high quality.

Innovasjoner i prosjektet er allerede gjort tilgjengelig i produktet Huddly IQ, både i form av forbedringer på hardware og utvidet softwarefunksjonalitet. Alle prosjektdeltakere har bygget relevant kompetanse og teknologier som kan benyttes i pågående og planlagte prosjekter og satsninger. Teknologiene utviklet i prosjektet har mulige positive miljøkonsekvenser. Ved å tilgjengeliggjøre kostnadseffektiv, høykvalitet videokonferanser for flere mennesker kan man tilskrive prosjektet en positiv miljøeffekt som følge av reduksjon i pendling/reising og færre fysiske møter. Dette er vanskelig å tallfeste, men en rapport fra LifeSize (2019), som spurte 1300 deltakere i det amerikanske markedet peker på en dobling i bruk av videomøter som samhandlingsverktøy. 47% av de spurte opplyste om betydelig reduksjon i jobbreiser, og 51% gjorde regelmessig videomøter hjemmefra (redusert pendling).

The goal of the "Meet easy" project is to develop a complete, easy-to-use videoconferencing solution which delivers high-end features such as high-quality audio and video and large field of view in a compact form, and at a fraction of the cost, while adding novel functionality such as automatic generation of minutes. To achieve this goal, the key factors are development of premium audio and image quality, and a flexible and affordable solution. This will be approached by development of i) a camera with a wide angle, high-quality imaging system, including a powerful and flexible embedded image processor. ii) a hardware and software solution for an ultra-compact microphone array, complementing Kubicam´s camera system. iii) a combined embedded vision- and audio-processing algorithm which will give the system an "understanding" of the scene and the people and objects present. Special object analyses will be developed to detect, analyze and refine information from the objects in the scene, such as persons, whiteboards and documents, and use this information for controlling the video/audio-output and creating an unprecedented user experience.

Publications from Cristin

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Funding scheme:

BIA-Brukerstyrt innovasjonsarena