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Intelligent and Pervasive Multimedia Systems

William I. Grosky, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Chengcui Zhang, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Shu-Ching Chen, Florida International University

Pages: pp. 14-15

Abstract—Recent advances in pervasive computing and the proliferation of multimedia-capable devices have stimulated the development of intelligent and pervasive multimedia applications. This special issue provides excellent coverage of this area, including interactive multimedia education, quality control and personalization of multimedia services, peer-to-peer multimedia streaming, mobile TV, and VoIP systems.

Keywords—Pervasive multimedia computing, intelligent systems, multimedia streaming, mobile TV, VoIP

Recent advances in pervasive computers, networks, telecommunication, and information technology, along with the proliferation of multimedia-capable mobile devices, such as laptops, portable media players, personal digital assistants, and cellular telephones, have stimulated the development of intelligent and pervasive multimedia applications. The new multimedia standards (for example, MPEG-21) facilitate the seamless integration of multiple modalities into interoperable multimedia frameworks, transforming the way people work and interact with multimedia data. These key technologies and multimedia solutions interact and collaborate with each other in increasingly effective ways, contributing to the multimedia revolution and having a significant impact across a wide spectrum of consumer, business, healthcare, education, and governmental domains.

With the rapid increase in the penetration rate of pervasive multimedia services, coupled with the imminent deployment of 3G wireless infrastructure, users are more ready than ever to enjoy those services. What is really revolutionary here is that, we not only can enjoy these services in a passive way (for example, watching videos), but also can customize services by deciding what information we want to receive and how it's delivered.

The six articles selected for this special issue provide excellent coverage of the areas we've outlined, and deal with interactive multimedia education, quality of service (QoS) control in multimedia content delivery, multimedia service personalization, peer-to-peer multimedia streaming, mobile TV, and VoIP systems.

Articles in this issue

In seeking to merge pervasive multimedia computing and education, Cheng, Basu, and Goebel, in "Interactive Multimedia for Adaptive Online Education," propose an innovative Computer Reinforced Online Multimedia Education framework. Crome integrates multimedia computing in the main components of online education, including learning, teaching, and testing, and facilitates both adaptive testing and student modeling. In addition, Crome features support for drag-and-drop design, logical-mathematical items, multimedia educational games, as well as the use of multimedia computing in improving and evaluating students' cognitive skills.

QoS poses new research challenges for global quality assurance for Web services and multimedia streaming. In "A Framework for Using Web Services to Enhance QoS for Content Delivery," Buccafurri et al. propose an integrated approach for quality definition, monitoring, and fault prediction. The approach is based on a two-layer structure for multimedia service delivery—service composition and real-time, multimedia content delivery—and exploits the unique advantages offered by data-mining techniques. Moreover, it includes a module for predicting QoS faults and a module for possible adaptation and recovery through a machine-learning approach. The approach represents a unique contribution to prior work because, although there have been extensive studies on network-based multimedia services, a large-scale implementation to study guaranteed QoS control is still unavailable.

In "Multimedia Service Provisioning and Personalization on Grid-Based Infrastructures: Now and the Future," Li, Veeravalli, and Li provide a survey on the demands of multimedia services over scalable systems as well as a wide range of challenging issues in this field. The article identifies key technology components for multimedia service provisioning over grid-based infrastructures, and shows that promoting personalization and interactive service can improve the network-client population.

While two of the previous articles focus on QoS control and provisioning for multimedia services, the article entitled "Analyzing Voice Quality in Popular VoIP Applications" by Sat and Wah focuses on a general method for evaluating the quality of systems that provide a special kind of multimedia service: VoIP. In particular, the authors propose an objective evaluation method and use it to compare the conversational quality of four VoIP systems in repeatable network and conversational conditions. The results show that none of them attain the best quality under all conditions.

Among the wide range of multimedia services, mobile TV is perceived as an emerging service that enhances TV experience by bringing traditional TV services and on-demand audiovisual content to mobile devices. In "Digital Television for Mobile Devices," Zhou et al. present a survey of recent advances in mobile TV technologies and standards. In particular, the authors compare and contrast those technologies and identify future trends in mobile TV.

Finally, in "Deployment Issues in Scalable Island Multicast for Peer-to-Peer Streaming," Jin et al. propose the Scalable Island Multicast (SIM) protocol for peer-to-peer media streaming through integrating IP multicast and overlay delivery. The authors study various practical deployment issues related to SIM, including fault tolerance and the impact of a network address translator. The authors show, through simulations, that SIM can achieve higher delivery efficiency and a lower loss rate compared to existing overlay protocols.

Final thoughts

While these articles cover a collection of recent techniques and novel applications in the area of intelligent and pervasive multimedia systems, several issues related to multimedia modeling, specification, analysis, and design of these systems still remain challenging. One appealing research challenge, for example, is the efficient indexing, mining, and retrieval of multimedia data in a pervasive environment. Another interesting issue is related to the development of human-friendly user interfaces and the related standards and user-interaction models. Yet another issue is how to design the distributed multimedia system architecture so users are guaranteed full services without being aware of the underlying communications and computing techniques.

About the Authors

William I. Grosky is a professor and chair of the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. His research interests include multimedia information systems, databases, and the Semantic Web. Serving on many database and multimedia conference program committees, he was an editor in chief of IEEE MultiMedia, and is currently on the editorial boards of IEEE MultiMedia, International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education, International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems, Journal of Digital Information Management, Multimedia Tools and Applications, and International Journal of Semantic Computing. Contact him at
Chengcui Zhang is an assistant professor of computer and information sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has authored and co-authored more than 90 research papers focusing in the areas of multimedia databases, multimedia data mining, bioinformatics, and geographic information systems. She has served on more than 80 program committees of major conferences and workshops in multimedia and database systems. Zhang serves on the editorial boards for several international journals, including International Journal of Multimedia Data Engineering and Management and International Journal of Computer and Informatics. Contact her at
Shu-Ching Chen is an associate professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences, Florida International University. His research interests include distributed multimedia database management systems and multimedia data mining. Chen received the best paper award from the 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Multimedia. He was awarded the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society's Outstanding Contribution Award in 2005 and was corecipient of the IEEE Most Active Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Technical Committee Award in 2006. He is the editor in chief of International Journal of Multimedia Data Engineering and Management. Contact him at
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