In a few years, 80 to 90 percent of traffic on networks will be video. Communications, media, and entertainment outlets are increasingly incorporating video to satisfy demand for fast, engaging, and multisensory content. As video becomes more pervasive, demand for video quality grows. Technology from Waterloo will be instrumental in ensuring the speed and quality of videos watched every day.

Since every second a video plays consumes network data, a challenge for researchers is to determine the best way to compress videos to make them smaller while maintaining or improving quality. SSIMWAVE, a startup company launched from Waterloo Professor Zhou Wang’s research, is preparing to commercialize two separate technologies to solve this challenge: a means to monitor and control video compression and a video compression optimizer to enhance the user experience.

By using SSIMWAVE’s technologies, companies such as Netflix and YouTube will be able to benefit from Wang’s expertise in perceptual video compression – basing video compression standards on real-life perceptions. Once they understand how their videos are being viewed, SSIMWAVE’s video compression optimizer can improve video quality, resulting in a better experience for users.

Wang has worked closely with Ling Loerchner, technology transfer manager at the Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo), for almost six years. By investing in IP and patent protection, acquiring funding for prototype development, finding a suitable industry partner through market outreach, and securing a pivotal investor, WatCo has helped propel SSIMWAVE through many significant achievements.

In early 2014 Wang was awarded an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for his work in understanding how people view the quality of images and videos. In 2015, he was awarded an Engineering Emmy® Award for developing a mathematical formula and computer algorithm that accurately and consistently predicts how people view image and video quality.

Zhou Wang and team at Emmy Awards

SSIMWAVE is currently commercializing Wang’s innovations with products that promise to revolutionize today’s approach to video content processing and delivery for the optimal visual quality-of-experience. The team at SSIMWAVE, with further assistance from WatCo, now has products on the market and growing customer sales.

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