Video over IP is transformative for successful situational awareness & intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
Reliable ISR systems are a key variable and the ability to deliver live, real-time, video in the toughest environments can be challenging. The timely delivery of critical imagery can be the difference between success or failure of a mission. Video systems need to be proven to work in a range of conditions including harsh environments; equipment vibration, extreme temperatures and humidity. In today’s ISR systems, more and more often, these video systems are operating in unmanned aircraft or vehicles.
Mission critical ops rely on the most advanced sensor technology currently available. Unfortunately, limitations do exist in regards to available bandwidth, overall image quality and system latency – what is referred to as the ‘Video Triangle’ in ISR. The allocation of constraints across Bandwidth, Quality, and Latency can be overcome to achieve the correct balance with a robust Video-over-IP platform.
Video that is transcoded to run in an IP system unleashes the benefit of improved video quality that stands up to global dissemination, which means transmitted images no longer being constrained by local networks. These new, more efficient workflows can assist in accelerating the decision-making process during a mission. Operating costs can be reduced while simultaneously providing more detailed information, in real-time, to locations that are local, LoS (line of sight) and BLoS (beyond line of sight).
Top Performance in Latency, Image Quality and Bandwidth
Today portable and mini encoders are engineered to provide less than 200 milliseconds of end-to-end latency. This performance meets the criteria for a variety of onboard transmission use cases. Further still, ultra-low latency encoder/decoder solutions will deliver less than 16 milliseconds of latency of high-definition 60-frames-per-second streams, making them ideal for navigation, vehicles or transmitting true real-time information from screens, turrets, or radars. Latency is critically important as it affects:
- Gimbal operation
- Cursor on Target
- Tactical decision making
- Correct navigation
- Accurate Observation
In today’s tactical situations, all the functions above require communication with minimal or no delay. As an example, challenges arise when military personnel in an armoured vehicle, operating with video assistance, are not able to operate at near-zero latency. In this type of operation, decisions must be made in real time to be effective. Physically, things are moving fast and every millisecond counts! Ultra-low latency is therefore a vital requirement.
ISR Military operations are expensive and quality imagery is essential to justify costs and provide actionable data. In most situations, full 1080p60 Full Motion Video (FMV) is paramount to successful missions to enable the comparison of imagery and FMV from previous missions. Quality imagery combined with no loss of FMV due to communication constraints, leads to effective and productive missions. The sensors on many cameras that are in the field have the capability of collecting high-definition, or even 4K images, so the video systems connected to these sensors should be capable of delivering that content quickly and reliably.
Pushing Video across IP requires the RAW video to be encoded and compressed into a data stream, typically using standard codecs. Advances in Codec Optimization enable video over IP of the modern encoders to compress the video even further, resulting in lower need for bandwidth, whilst increasing quality and reducing latency – all vital in improving performance.
ISR solutions must be designed to overcome the video streaming challenges for the major use cases within military operations, whether onboard a vessel or vehicle, and across all types of theaters. Field-proven solutions should enable personnel to easily disseminate live feeds and recorded video assets in various bit-rates that are optimized for the best network link available. High-quality, reliable ISR Video is more than an operational requirement, it is a necessity. Its demands now reach beyond the first user and so it is critical that:
- sharing is in real time
- user access rights to control video access are maintained
- video is available on multiple displays/devices
- recording content can be enabled for future use
Bottom-line, modern ISR requirements must be capable of maximizing the balance between image quality, bandwidth utilization, and system latency. Video specialist companies such as VITEC strive to provide leading edge, technologically superior video solutions for onboard transmission with low and ultra-low latency video streaming. These include HEVC solutions for fluid transmission of tactical videos and video management solutions for video streams distribution, including STANAG 4609 metadata, all on CoTS products designed for purpose, enabling modern ISR communities to concentrate on the mission at hand.
Read the full article here: GMC August 2020 – Mark Rushton Interview