Delivering Streaming Video to Draw Sports Fans Back To Arena Seats

Achievement date: 

A teams of scientists designing a system for delivering streaming video to a large group of users in a crowded venue—particularly the sports arenas where WiFi now fails—was selected to participate in a New York City combine program. The NYC Media Lab combine brought industry partners and a $25,000 grant to the research team, part of the NSF-funded Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), an Engineering Research Center (ERC) with headquarters at the University of Arizona.


The combine program enabled the team of Columbia University students, led by CIAN professor Dr. Gil Zussman, to research the potential market for their multicast system. The team is now focusing their video casting system on helping draw fans back to sports arenas, particularly small- and mid-size venues that can’t afford massive WiFi installations, and that have seen ticket sales suffer as fans discover they can better see the game at home.


Arenas, lecture halls, and other large venues have struggled to deliver wireless services to their crowds, particularly streaming video. WiFi networks provide limited multicast support at a fixed low rate. But WiFi operates without a feedback mechanism, limiting its reliability for high-quality content delivery. The Columbia students have developed their Adaptive Multicast Services (AMuSe) system for content delivery over WiFi multicast to many users.

In development with Bell Labs, AMuSe includes an efficient feedback mechanism and a multicast rate adaptation algorithm. AMuSe is well-suited for adaptive bit-rate video streaming in which a video file is segmented to chunks and each chunk is encoded in several video rates. For each time slot, an adaptation algorithm determines the optimal rate and transmits the appropriate chunk.

The AMuSe system was one of nine selected for the NYC combine in its inaugural year out of 60 concepts entered from nine New York City colleges.