Take a look around at technology today and one of the biggest trends pushing the outer envelope of innovation is virtualization. From the now common virtual hardware and networks to virtual reality, virtualization is opening vast new horizons for potential opportunity.
We can now add virtual video to that list.
Video virtualization is set to disrupt and transform a broad array of industries. From cable television and digital advertising to anti-piracy, search, and security, any industry that relies upon or leverages digital video has a powerful new resource at its disposal.
What is virtual video?
Simply put, virtual video is a lighter, faster and malleable version of current digital video files.
Today, video files are singular, static blocks of data wrapped in a container (i.e.: MPEG, MKV, AVI). Those containers mean that when a video is moved or streamed, it’s content is locked up.
Virtual video works by cracking open the container of digital video files to index and access the data inside. With that data exposed, you can do a lot with it. You can tag it, parse it, splice it with other video files, manage and manipulate it while it’s streaming it’s way to a device, in real time and on-the-fly — all while leaving the original video file untouched. In the process dumb video becomes intelligent content.
Sounds magic, doesn’t it?
Of course it isn’t magic at all. It’s good old-fashioned data science at work. And video that’s been virtualized can be subject to all kinds of commands, queries, business rules and workflows to create a lighter, more agile asset.
How exactly do you virtualize a video?
Despite the complex technology at work in the actual conversion of virtual video, the transformation itself is a relatively simple 3-step process:
Step 1: Automatically index and virtualize the existing video file
Step 2: Programmatically manage and manipulate virtual video file
Step 3: Instantly reassemble the video at the destination player
This is really the same process that “big data” has been applying to data virtualization for over a decade — but applied to video for the first time.
The result is a lighter, more agile video file that allows the manipulation of video content and integration of new business tools in order to create hyper-personalized experiences, insert targeted advertising, introduce payment gateways, enhance piracy protection and allow for instant video integration across multiple platforms.
No matter what industry, how you choose to manipulate the video or what tools and rules you choose to apply, the result is unparalleled and unprecedented control to create intelligent content.
Who benefits from virtual video?
While the potential applications of video virtualization are as endless as the Internet itself, I see four big industries that will experience the transformative effects of virtualized video on their bottom line:
Personalized advertising for television
Traditional TV broadcasters could offer hyper-personalized viewing experiences that include individually targeted advertising just like the Internet — but on traditional media, like cable TV and satellite. The resulting new revenue channels can help them regain competitive footing with online content providers like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu as well as halt the drift of digital ad dollars to internet publishers.
Anti-piracy / copyright protection
Content producers like movie and television studios play a constant cat and mouse game with pirates. Virtual video offers an unprecedented level of security because there is no actual file to download, steal, and disseminate. Plus they can embed additional tools like personal content keys and even payment gateways for a new viral revenue channel as content links are shared.
Currently, video search results can only return full video files based on name and metatags, but their contents aren’t searchable on a granular level. The indexing done with video virtualization tags and exposes the inner content of the video making the actual content searchable
Now, when someone is searching for specific video content they don’t have to watch or scan an entire video clip. They can watch a single seamless virtual clip of specific moments pulled from disparate video files, or jump right to the specific content within a video file, right from the search results page.
Security and defense
Security firms and agencies can leverage virtual video to proactively identify and mitigate threats. Prior to any acts, they can target, index and red flag suspicious activities for alert, pulling content from disparate video surveillance feeds based on the results of optical recognition findings and reassembling the video file instantaneously at its destination — giving the analyst a virtual “highlights reel” in milliseconds.
Instead of waiting days for critical intelligence to be assembled, analysts can get instant access to historical movements, and make the decision about whether a threat is real or not.
It bears saying that these big four industries are just the tip of the iceberg for video virtualization and its potential for producing highly agile intelligent content. Any industry that relies on video in some sense (and these days, who doesn’t) can use virtualization to drive more flexibility from a format that’s become ubiquitous in our lives. Even as you read this, new ways are being developed to apply the technology to the Internet of Things, hyper-personalized VR experiences, connected cars, dynamic news networks, and e-learning, just to name a few.
It’s a bold new reality indeed for virtual video and one that Linius is proud to be defining with our unique Video Virtualization Engine™. I invite you to find out more by visiting us at linius.com or at the Australia Lounge during SXSW 2017.
-- Chris Richardson is the CEO of Linius Technologies Limited (ASX: LNU).
Linius is a developer of disruptive video technology that has cracked the code of intelligent content with its video virtualization solutions.