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CONSORTIUM

The i2CAT Foundation is a non-profit research and technology centre that promotes R&D activities in the fields of the Internet and advanced digital technologies. It has pioneered an innovation model based on collaboration between companies, public administrations, academia and users.

The activities and initiatives carried out by i2CAT focus on three objectives: (1) generating knowledge through participation in international research projects, with a key role in the European Union framework program for research and innovation; (2) promoting collaboration with companies through the execution of R&D projects aimed at developing innovative solutions that provide added value to the market; and (3) leading local initiatives and innovative projects to deploy digital strategies and policies aligned with public administrations.

The Media & Internet Area of i2CAT focuses its work on different research, development and innovation areas related to the transmission and visualisation of multimedia contents applied to the media, culture, education and tourism industry sectors, linking fundamental and applied research with industrial collaboration with some of the most prestigious Catalan audiovisual companies. Its mid-term strategy is focused mainly on the following R+D+I lines: networked media and interactive and immersive virtual environments.

Role in the Project

i2CAT coordinates VRTogether, leads work package 4, contributes significantly in the standalone player and in the evaluation, and provides the technical backend required to run tests: servers, cloud infrastructure, and hardware for piloting. It also coordinates the execution of the pilots and the communication of the project.

TNO is a Dutch independent contract research organization, one of the major ones in Europe. Based on its expertise and research in technological, policy, business and social innovation, TNO connects people and knowledge in order to create innovations which strengthen the competition position of companies and societal welfare. With a staff of approximately 3000 and an annual turnover of 565 million Euros, TNO is carrying out research in order to achieve impact on five themes addressing the Societal Challenges: Industry; Healthy Living; Defence, Safety & Security; Urbanisation; Energy. TNO functions as an intermediary between basic research organisations and industry. By translating scientific knowledge into practical applications, TNO contributes to the innovation capacity of businesses and government.

TNO is involved in many international projects (about 30% of the market turnover), including EU-funded collaborations (Technology Platforms, Horizon 2020, KIC’s ). In the theme of Industry applied research is carried out for a wide range of industrial branches, including ICT. The focus is on innovation in the areas of high-tech systems and materials, manufacturing, the sustainable chemical industry, space applications and information society, represented by the Program Networked Information. The following Research lines are followed with Networked Information: Technical Robust infrastructure, Quality & reliability, Big Data Evolution, Media & Content Delivery, Creative Industries, Information Enabled Empowerment, Privacy & e-Identity, Embedded Systems.

In the research group of Networks, main activities around media technologies focus on research and development for media production and delivery, in collaboration with Dutch and European telecom operators, broadcasters and service providers. The group is highly active in international standardisation, including MPEG, HbbTV, DVB and IETF. The research group has participated in many successful collaborative projects, including the EU-funded projects FascinatE, WebinOS, HBB-NEXT, STEER and EXPERIMEDIA, and currently leads the ITEA3 project MOS2S, on media orchestration. In 2014, the group participated in three real-world field trials, co-located with the 2014 World Rowing championships in Amsterdam and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH,) is one of the largest research centres in Greece. It was founded in 2000 and is located in Thessaloniki, Greece. The mission of CERTH is to promote the triplet Research – Development – Innovation by conducting high quality scientific research and developing innovative products and services while building strong partnerships with industry and strong collaborations with research centres and universities in

Greece and abroad.

The Information Technologies Institute (ITI) – formerly known as Informatics and

Telematics Institute – which will be directly involved in this project, is one of the leading Research Institutes of Greece in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). It was founded in 1998 and since 10.3.2000 it is a founding member of CERTH. CERTHITI is located in Thessaloniki, Greece and its current Director is Dr. Dimitrios Tzovaras. CERTH-ITI is achieving scientific excellence in at least the following research areas: Human Computer Interaction, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning, Image and Signal Processing, Computer & Cognitive Vision, Social Media Analysis, and Networks and Communications.

The institute is very active in applied research in the following sectors: Environment Monitoring, Geosciences and Remote Sensing, Bioinformatics/Biomedicine, Security and Surveillance, Cultural and Educational Technology. Finally, CERTH-ITI has important scientific and technological achievements in other areas including: Multimedia, Databases and Information Systems, e-Government, Integrated Commercial Solutions, as well as several cross-disciplinary scientific areas.

CERTH-ITI is a research institute with significant experience coming out of its participation in, and in many cases coordination of, numerous European and national R&D projects and activities funded both by public and private funds. The institute has participated in more than 130 EU/EC funded research projects (through FP5 to H2020) – having coordinated many of them – and more than 80 research or other (e.g. consulting subcontracts) projects funded by the Greek government or the private sector.

The Visual Computing Lab (VCL,) is one of the laboratories of CERTH-ITI. With 2 full-time senior researchers and 52 full-time research associates, VCL’s mission is to discover new understanding in multimedia and vision systems technology and to spread excellence through outreach. VCL enjoys a distinguished reputation for innovation, receiving direct funding from private national and international companies and the EU. The group has participated in, and coordinated several EU funded projects relevant to VRTogether, including the FP7 projects 3DLife, REVERIE, 3D-Live and RePlay.

Role in the project

CERTH is one of the key technical partners in the VRTogether consortium, leading a number of technical tasks of the project’s WP3. CERTH aims to deploy and expand upon its expertise in tele-immersive technologies gained from previous projects (REVERIE, 3D-LIVE), mainly focusing on real-time on-line 3D capturing and reconstruction of moving humans using multiple RGB-D sensors (i.e. Kinect/Kinect2). CERTH will provide tele-immersive solutions to VRTogether, including a scalable capturing & reconstruction platform with support for up to 5 simultaneously connected Kinect devices, contribute towards real-time 3D reconstructed time-varying mesh compression and transmission over remote network nodes, 3D video off-line performance capturing of real actors used for highly realistic, real-time virtual human activity rendering as well as off-line 3D reconstruction of static indoor/outdoor scenes from multiple uncalibrated images.

Furthermore, CERTH will contribute in directing game-based interaction with 3D reconstructed actor characters, and web-based rendering solutions through expertise with standard JavaScript 3D engines such as Three.js.

CWI is the national research institute for mathematics and computer science of the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO). CWI performs frontier research in mathematics and computer science and transfers new knowledge in these fields to society in general and trade and industry in particular. DIS, Distributed Multimedia Languages and Infrastructures, is the team from CWI involved in this project. The research lines of DIS are motivated by the continued convergence of digital media production and distribution devices. DIS studies fundamental problems related to social media distribution and modelling, media creation, platform agnostic distribution, QoE, and immersion.

The expertise of the group has been achieved through European collaboration in several EU-funded projects such as iNEM4U (2008-2009), TA2 (2008-2012), Vconect (2011-2014), REVERIE (2011-2015), and 2-IMMERSE (2015-2018).

Particularly important for this project is the expertise of the group on video mediated group communication, point cloud compression and distribution, and user experience. During the last couple of years (REVERIE and TA2 projects), one core focus of the group has been on the development and testing of novel technological solutions for supporting distributed consumption of media. During this period, apart from constructing our own experimental lab at CWI, we have collaborated with external parties in a number of experiments and evaluations, building our expertise on user experience research. The group is internationally known because of seminal work on 3D Compression and distribution (e.g., MPEG Ad-Hoc group on Point Cloud Compression, and R. Mekuria, M. Sanna, E. Izquierdo, D.C.A. Bulterman, and P. Cesar, “Enabling 3D Tele-Immersion with Live Reconstructed Mesh Geometry with Fast Mesh Compression and Linear Rateless Coding,” IEEE Transactions on Multimedia (TMM), 16(7): 1809-1820, 2014).

Apart from projects and publications, DIS is an active participant in standardization bodies. CWI has been involved in W3C for a long time, where Dick Bulterman was the co-chair of the SYMM (multimedia) working group and Ivan Herman is the Digital Publishing Activity Lead. Currently, DIS is involved in the W3C‘s Web and TV Interest Group. Moreover, DIS participates in the 3DG group from MEPG and in the Study Group 12 (Performance, QoS and QoE) from ITU.

DIS has received many awards: best paper awards in prestigious conferences (2016: MMsys and PhyCS; 2013: WebMedia and ACM MMSys; 2011: ACM HT; 2008: ACM MM, ACM DocEng, EuroITV), best ACM SIGMM (multimedia) paper award in 2008, the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award in 2009 (Steven Pemberton), and the SIGMM Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions to Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications in 2013 (Dick Bulterman).

As a leading global provider of content protection, delivery, and discovery solutions, Viaccess-Orca is shaping the ultimate content experience. Through its integrated range of business-savvy products and solutions, Viaccess-Orca helps service providers in the cable, DTT, satellite, IPTV, and OTT industries gain a competitive edge in today’s rapidly evolving multiscreen environment. By enabling service providers to securely deliver an engaging user experience on any device, Viaccess-Orca is reinventing the entertainment landscape. Viaccess-Orca is part of the Orange Group.

Role in the project

VO will contribute to the different WP of the project VRTogether, we will focus on Platform Design and architecture and leads work package 5 on Innovation, Dissemination and exploitation. We will also contribute to the evaluation of the solution compared to market available product.

Artanim is a non-profit foundation founded in 2011 and located in Geneva, Switzerland. The foundation carries out research activities in the field of computer graphics according to two strategic axes of research linked to motion capture: virtual reality, mainly the creation and animation of digital avatars and the development of interactive VR and AR applications; and medical research (joint biomechanics, orthopaedics, sports medicine).

The lab has a long-term expertise in various motion capture technologies, including high-end optical systems, inertial and markerless motion tracking devices, and has worked on the development of several body scanning solutions (photogrammetric systems, multi-Kinect body scanning solutions). More generally, Artanim aims at using motion capture and body scanning technologies to facilitate 3D content creation and improve industrial design strategies. One focus of research of the foundation is to conceive innovative interactive VR/AR applications using human motion as a medium or controller to derive user immersive experience.

Role in the project

Artanim will have the following key roles in the project:

  • Real time motion capture and animation for the body and face both for offline use and real-time use (streaming)
  • Research how to reliably evaluate social VR.

These tasks will be undertaken by a team of in-house researchers and 3D developers, and will be coordinated by Dr Caecilia Charbonnier, Research Director.

More than fifteen years of quality and innovation have established Entropy Studio as a recognized Studio for visual effects, design, animation, VFX, stereoscopy, motion graphics creation and in general all services related to postproduction and visual effects for both film and advertising.

Ignacio Lacosta and Jaime Cebrian founded Entropy Studio in 2003. Their partnership and combined talents were immediately recognized within the advertising and film community and the company quickly became successful. Since its constitution, Entropy Studio has made some of the most award-winning spots in Spain, also achieving International awards.

In 2008, the first feature made entirely in Digital Cinema, “Magic Journey to Africa”, takes Entropy Studio at the forefront of stereoscopic visual effects produced in Europe in 3D IMAX.

Entropy Studio wins a Goya award in 2012 with the film “EVA” a futuristic film where we develop a new Artificial intelligent Interface for programing brains of robots.

From 2003, we develop the visual effects for more than 40 Feature films, gving a lot of experience in high quality compositing and VFX post-production.

With Entropy Studio Corp in Los Angeles the company grows, with stunning productions as ZERO, a web series produced with Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender.

In 2015 we make the VFX postproduction of the series QUANTUM BREAK, that is a series that develops inside a Game following the best success Game distributed by Microsoft in 2016 spring.

Role in the project

The main tasks in the VRTogether project for Entropy Studio are to develop. The technics of distortion and preparation of different image video and 3d sources for compositing.

In General, Entropy Studio will be on charge of the postproduction process, helping in the develop a proper pipelines and composite the final 360 images

As well the long experience in hyper realistic finishing will give us a roll of quality control of the compositing images

Finally, Entropy Studio will disseminate the results at appropriate academic, industry events, and standardization fora, and plan the respective exploitation strategies to their key markets, productions, and broadcasters.

Motion Spell is an SME specialized in audio-visual media technologies. Motion Spell was created in 2013 in Paris, France.

Motion Spell was initially created to support the industry activities of an open-source project called GPAC under the name “GPAC Licensing”. GPAC is a multimedia open-source project created in a start-up in 1999 in New-York City around a new set of standards called MPEG-4. MPEG-4 was intended to be an open replacement to Flash. Therefore the GPAC tools go beyond audio and video (interactivity, subtitles, etc.) ; the tools include authoring tools, packagers, streamers, and a player. GPAC is used by big players such as Youtube, Sony, Samsung, x264, etc. Nowadays the GPAC team is dispatched in different entities, mainly Motion Spell and the Telecom ParisTech University.

The motivation of Motion Spell is to push technical innovation from ideas to standards to prototypes. Motion Spell is committed to open standards and open software as a way to disseminate innovation. Then we accompany our customers to integrate our bricks into their products. This means that:

  1. Motion Spell activities have extended beyond GPAC.
  2. Motion Spell builds standards and software. That involves a lot of R&D.
  3. Motion Spell helped some companies being bootstrapped out of our technical activities. These companies focus on market issues and end-to-end workflows while Motion Spell stays on the R&D side.

Role in the project

On a conceptual and technical level, Motion Spell will focus on the development of transmission open tools. Furthermore, Motion Spell plans to explore encoding requirements for VR to participate in the current standardization efforts and first implementations. Finally we will also assist on the playback side to ensure the end-to-end workflow is covered.