Working with audio and video software daily means we always have to be on top of the latest news and happenings in the industry. You can find us attending conferences and exhibitions, speaking at industry events, and keeping tabs on all major announcements, tech releases, and software updates. As audio and video testing is a core service and specialty of ours, it’s our responsibility to know what’s going on in the industry—and share this knowledge with like-minded professionals.
In this blog post, we will look back at 2022 to see how it marked the audio and video software industry by sharing some major news and updates that made headlines.
When it comes to conferences and events, we can confidently say that 2022 did not disappoint. There were plenty of conferences that happened around the world that took place online and offline. We were fortunate enough to attend and even be invited to speak at some of these events.
Let’s take a look at some of the conferences that were relevant to the audio and video software industry.
RTC @Scale 2022 (16 February, 2022)
This event consisted of four sessions— Future RTC experiences, Audio ML, Video, Resilience and Encryption—and were all led by speakers and attendees from major RTC players including Meta, Google, Microsoft, Dolby, Cisco, Clubhouse, and Visionular.
Recordings of major points discussed:
- Holographic video calling – 33:29
- RTC3 – 1:11:22
- Developing machine learning based speech enhancement models for Teams and Skype – 1:40:35
- AV1 for RTC: current and future – 4:06:38
- Making meta RTC audio more resilient – 4:38:55
An event held twice a year covering the innovative approaches that the world’s leading organizations and experts are deploying in live streaming, OTT, content delivery, next-gen TV, and much more. 2022 topics included updates on latest trends, codecs, edge computing, Metaverse, encoding and transcoding.
- The Latest Media & Ecosystem Trends And The Google TV Experience
- Codecs 2022: AV1, VVC, EVC, LCEVC, And More
- Over The Edge: Maximizing Efficiencies And Improving Quality With Edge Delivery
- Who Needs Low Latency?
- In Person Vs. Virtual Vs. Hybrid Events
- Measuring What Matters In OTT Delivery
- Cutting-Edge Codec Update
- The Building Blocks of the Metaverse
- Live Video At Scale: Opportunities And Challenges
- Delivering The Optimal Live Experience At Scale Under Any Circumstances
- The Future Of Interactive Streaming
Video Quality Expert Group (VQEG) hosts meetings approximately two times a year to discuss subjective video quality assessments and objective quality measurements.
- Quality Assessment of User-Generated-Content Gaming Videos – 36:44
- Domain-Specific Fusion Of Multiple Objective Quality Metrics – 0:01
- Subjective image quality assessment with boosted triplet comparisons – 1:35:43
- User-Generated Content (UGC)/In-The-Wild Video Content Recognition – 2:34:07
- Advanced Visual Quality Indicators – 3:01:38
- Why No Reference Metrics for Image and Video Quality Lack Accuracy and Reproducibility – 26:40
- New datasets: camera noise and compression – 1:59:44
- Converting video QA metrics – 1:26:32
- Guidelines to Train, Validate and Publish DNN-based Objective Measures (Ongoing Work) – 7:30
- Efficients Deep-Based Graph Metric For Point Cloud Quality Assessment – 51:29
Streaming Media East/West 2022 (24–25 May, 2022 / 15–16 November, 2022)
An in-person event that took place in the first and second half of the year, Streaming Media East/West 2022 offered insights into innovative approaches that the world’s leading organizations were deploying in live streaming, OTT, enterprise and educational video, encoding and transcoding, next-gen TV, packaging and formats, content delivery, advertising, content monetization, and much more.
IWSSIP 2022 (1–3 June, 2022)
A conference on systems, signals and image processing. The event had three keynote speakers and many guest speakers. Speeches were divided in multiple sessions: Image and Video Processing, Modern ICT in e-learning, Training workshop, Machine learning, Multimedia, Security, Network, Wireless Communications, and Signal Processing – Speech and Audio Processing.
SPCOM 2022 (11–15 July, 2022)
An international Conference on Signal Processing and Communications that featured 18 speakers. Namely, 3 key speakers, 2 industry speakers and 13 guest speakers participated in the event. Although key speeches were not that close to the audio and video industry, some of the guest speakers covered interesting topics, like blind quality assessment, DASH-aware scheduling in cellular networks, and sparse sampling based on time-encoding machines.
Demuxed (12–13 October, 2022)
38 engineers from well known companies joined the event for quality talks on video. Topics covered everything from encoding to playback and more. Also, if you are familiar with the new live video experience by MUX, don’t forget to check out the speech from Walker Griggs.
You can listen to/watch all of the talks on the Demuxed 2022 YouTube channel.
VIDEO @Scale 2022 (3 November, 2022)
This year’s event revolved around augmented reality (AR), where 16 engineers from large scale companies joined to discuss new technologies, tackle unprecedented challenges and collaborate on new solutions.
- AR on constrained devices (META) – 22:08
- Warp, live streaming protocol utilizing QUIC (TWITCH) – 1:43:15
- Delivering reliable live streaming over unreliable backbone networks (META) – 2:19:36
- Cloud streaming in Metaverse (META) – 3:50:50
- HDR at Instagram iOS (META) – 5:03:12
Zoomtopia 2022 (8–9 November, 2022)
The event consisted of 107 sessions, covering different fields. The most interesting sessions, in our opinion, were labeled as “Developer Summit”. These conferences revolved around Zoom SDK, including new developer features and “how-to” sessions.
- Unlock the Power of the Zoom Video SDK
- Build with Video SDK, Zoom’s Core Technology
- Streaming Zoom Live Audio and Video to AWS AI/ML Services
Kranky Geek 2022 (17 November, 2022)
Kranky Geek 2022 was an online event where well-known experts discussed WebRTC and related technologies. Topics included annual update and statistics, advances in audio codecs, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other implementations.
Specifically they discussed:
- AI implementation for video and audio processing
- Noise suppression improvements
- WebRTC statistics and updates
- Forward error caching for game streaming
- Advances in audio codecs AV, Lyra and Satin
You can watch a replay of the event here.
Our proactive colleagues took part in several conferences—both online and offline—to discuss topics related to audio and video quality. We shared our experiences and insights into video analysis (script and process) and showcased some testing techniques in front of a live audience as well as shared our insights on automated testing and discussed some of our winning automation testing strategies.
You can see our Technical Director, Deniss Locmelis’, and Technical Project Manager, Adrians Minins’ talk at Nordic Testing Days here. Also, if you want to grab a copy of Nikolai Varlamov’s presentation from Automation Guild to learn how to run automated testing for audio and video applications—get in touch.
In 2022, there were several important exhibitions that showcased hardware and software solutions specific to the audio and video industry.
- ISE – The world’s leading AV and systems integration exhibition. ISE showcased the world’s leading technology innovators and solutions providers, and included four days of inspiring conferences, events and experiences.
- AVX 2022 – An exhibition where attendees could meet the exhibitors, presenters and equipment experts in a powerful showcase highlighting the latest technology and solutions from the broadcast, audio/visual and web-based industries.
- InfoComm 2022 – Produced by AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, InfoComm is an event for networking, AV education and products.
Here are some of our selected news and updates from the industry that cover different audio and video solutions and software, specifically those related to conferencing and calling applications, SDKs and APIs, and streaming.
Conferencing & calling apps
In 2022, various conferencing and calling apps announced changes to their products, introduced new updates and features, and strengthened their position within the industry. Also worth checking out is Gartner’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant 2022, which provides insight into UCaaS market leaders. Let’s take a look at news from some of the most recognized conferencing and calling apps.
Google Duo and Google Meet combined into a new Meet app, introduced a new multi-pinning option that allows users to pin up to three things (participants, presentations, various items) at once, and made improvements to their audio and video settings. Additionally, they improved quality and performance for Google Meet effects on the web and added a new feature that automatically adjusts the volume of meeting participants to ensure everyone is equally loud.
Meta reduced Instagram’s basic video compute time by 94% which brings a range of benefits to the company and its users. Specifically, Meta can continue to scale their video infrastructure without needing to add more machines, while users with slower internet connections will enjoy clearer videos that play more smoothly.
Zoom released a number of updates that will enhance their users’ experience. Namely, the number of participants in E2EE meetings has increased from 200 to 1,000 participants. Also, users now have various avatar options—virtual avatars can be enabled and animated based on user speech, and users can create custom human avatars with numerous facial features and colors to choose from.
YouTube Shorts became available on TV, which means that users can now enjoy this vertical, mobile-first video format on their big screen at home.
In July 2022, BeReal hit the #1 spot on Apple’s App Store in the US.
TikTok launched a couple of interesting features. Similar to BeReal’s concept, TikTok released a feature inviting users to capture dual camera moments using their device’s front and back camera simultaneously. TikTok has also upgraded their Multi-Guest feature, enabling hosts to go live with up to 5 guests.
Following in their competitor’s footsteps, Snapchat released a dual camera feature on the app’s main camera toolbar. The new feature allows users to take photos and videos using their phone’s front and back cameras at the same time.
Discord rolled out a new update that enables users to link their PSN account from Discord and display their PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 game activity in their user profile.
Webex introduced a number of changes, including a new camera mode as part of their People Focus camera intelligence, Frames, which allows inclusive views in any meeting supported by any third-party vendor. Additionally, Webex has improved the calling experience by allowing users to eliminate background noise from external callers. Similarly, Webex’s latest intelligent audio capability offers an ‘optimize for all voices’ option that enables users to hear anyone in the meeting, no matter where they are in the room. Another useful update that users can enjoy is the introduction of virtual backgrounds, which lets users customize their background with an animated or static option—image, GIF or MP4 file.
Gruveo introduced a new ‘Follow my screen’ recording layout that dynamically maximizes participants that have been maximized by users on their own screen during the call. Users can now also use the new virtual backgrounds feature to blur their video background or replace it with a custom image.
Jitsi rolled out a new Car Mode feature that brings a brand new in-meeting experience to users with basic meeting controls like ending the meeting, selecting sound device, and microphone muting.
Microsoft Teams has released several new features to improve users’ experience while using their conferencing solution. An interesting feature added is Together mode, which offers an immersive experience where attendees feel like they are sitting in the same room. In terms of view, Microsoft Teams have also released a new view where users can automatically see up to 49 videos (7×7) on their screen by default without an explicit action. It’s important to note that the actual number of videos seen by a user depends on hardware/device capabilities. Furthermore, in an effort to encourage collaboration and enhance connection, Microsoft Teams introduced Mesh avatars, allowing users to express themselves without turning their camera on.
Threema released a new update for its Android users which allows them to conduct audio/video group calls with up to 16 participants.
WhatsApp released various useful features, including the ability to create in-chat polls, 32 person video calling, and groups with up to 1024 users.
RingCentral announced RingCentral Webinar, a simple way to host secure and engaging webinars with up to 10,000 attendees. Other noteworthy updates RingCentral rolled out last year include their Remote Desktop Control feature, an AI-powered noise reduction feature, proximity sharing, and filmstrip view.
Dialpad now allows users to access a conference from the web via their mobile browser. Additionally, Dialpad has introduced virtual backgrounds that allows users to choose from a range of admin-uploaded, stock, and user-uploaded backgrounds.
Telegram users can now sign up without a SIM card, instead logging in to their accounts using blockchain-powered anonymous numbers. Moreover, Groups and Channels now support live video broadcasts with unlimited viewers.
TrueConf rolled out many new features and updates, including new video layouts, smart video layouts, picture-in-picture, video conferencing with up to 100 active connections, AI-powered video meeting solutions, enhanced team messaging, and AI-based virtual backgrounds.
Apart from redesigning their Web Calls and Web Conferences interfaces, Lucent Rainbow added several new features, including simultaneous screen sharing in web calls, virtual backgrounds, a connectivity test, and programmable keys.
BlueJeans added various features to their video conferencing solutions. Specifically, users can now customize the brightness of their camera feed to enjoy premium video quality in different lighting conditions. In addition, picture-in-picture became available on Android devices and participants can now have their videos always centered on them, regardless of camera hardware, with the new active camera framing feature.
Kaltura introduced a viewing layout. Namely, they rolled out the active speaker mode, which replaced the previous carousel mode.
We saw some major updates being announced and introduced to some of the most popular SDKs. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
Digital Samba welcomed two new additions to their product line—Digital Samba for Meetings and Digital Samba Embedded.
Mux Real-Time Video has been released to General Availability and includes updated SDKs for all platforms, multi-region support, user experience report collection, and additional improvements and bug fixes.
Ant Media announced their React Native WebRTC SDK which lets users build their own React Native application that can publish and play WebRTC broadcasts.
Jitsi released the Jitsi Meet React SDK which simplifies the integration of the Jitsi Meet External API with applications using React.
OpenVidu rolled out their new Virtual Background feature which allows users to apply a filter, like a blurring effect or background image, to a video stream.
Various streaming solutions also shared news about changes made to their applications in 2022. Here are some updates from some of the most popular streaming service providers.
Bitmovin released their 6th Bitmovin Video Developer Report which provides valuable insights into development frameworks, content distribution, monetization practices, DRM, video analytics, and many other topics related to streaming industry practices.
Wowza announced their Real-Time Streaming at Scale which brings the ultra-low latency power of WebRTC to a wider audience using a dynamically scalable workflow.
In their article, Ingesting Live Video Streams at Global Scale, the Video Ingest team at Twitch explain how they utilized their computation and networking resources as efficiently as possible to meet future demand growth at a global scale while reducing operational costs.
YouTube announced their Go Live Together feature which gives eligible creators the option to invite a guest to live stream with them.
The article—For your eyes only: improving Netflix video quality with neural networks—published on the Netflix Technology Blog, details how Netflix improved their video quality with neural networks, the challenges they faced and their outlook for the future.
TestDevLab Audio Video Department
Here is a quick update on what we have worked on over the past quarter:
VQTDL: No-Reference Video Quality Evaluation
VQTDL is a no-reference algorithm for video quality assessment developed by TestDevLab. This solution produces image quality predictions that correlate well with human perception and offers good performance under diverse circumstances, such as various network conditions, platforms, and applications.
Read more about VQTDL in our blog post.
Dominant Speaker Testing
In our audio and video testing department, we developed a process that allows us to test how quickly and effectively dominant speakers are detected, as well as a way to explore what your app does in challenging and unexpected scenarios.
Find out more about this process in our blog post.
Virtual Background Testing
The virtual or fake background is a video call feature that helps the user protect their privacy by hiding their background. When looking at this feature there are two parts that have to be tested:
- CPU usage and delays added to add this background
- How well the background is detected
The testing process involves feeding a predefined video for which we have done perfect cropping and comparing the cropped areas against the video we record after the virtual background has been applied to it. While CPU and delay is easy to measure, there is no correct way of measuring how well the background is detected. Therefore, we came up with two metrics when comparing perfectly cropped video and in-app virtual background:
- Erroneous Pixel Count
- Inclosing Circle Area
Want to learn more about how we test virtual backgrounds and our metrics? Contact us for more details.
Mobile Testing Laboratory
Although we can simulate real-world network conditions for testing, we understand that for certain projects and scenarios like the ones mentioned above, nothing beats getting out into the real world to run tests. This inspired us to develop a unique solution that would enable us to take our custom testing solutions and tools outside, and test clients’ applications on the move. And so we developed our mobile laboratory.
Learn more about our unique mobile laboratory here.
We have maintained and improved our CLI tool, TestRay. This tool allows us to create automation pipelines, test browser UIs (Chrome and Firefox among others), desktop applications for macOS and Windows, as well as mobile tests for the two major players—Android and iOS. Additionally, it also includes support for API calls, allowing us to add support for more types of assertions and validations.
Read more about TestRay here.
Audio and Video Software—Looking Ahead
The market for software whose main features are dependent on high audio and video quality is big. It has products from both large companies like Netflix, Microsoft, TikTok, as well as niche players like Jitsi and Mux. At TestDevLab, we work with many well known companies, which also makes us an important part of the audio and video software industry. This is why we always aim to be informed about the latest industry news and stay up to date with new releases and company updates.
Looking back at 2022, we can see some common improvements/implementations across audio/video software vendors. Most of them implemented virtual background, noise suppression or Picture-in-Picture features. There were also some changes to viewing options that allowed a more dynamic call experience. WebRTC is maturing and picked up by more and more vendors, not only in calling but also in streaming.
What will 2023 bring to the audio and video software industry? We’ll keep you posted.
Want to find out more about our audio and video quality testing services—or have any questions for our team? Reach out to us and let’s chat.