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April 26, 2024

Seamless Sync - The Future of Remote Learning and Performance

As digital technology advances, the demand for real-time remote learning, particularly in fields requiring a high level of synchronization like dance and ensemble performances, is growing. Traditional remote learning methods have struggled to deliver a sense of unity, due to latencies in video transmission and the complexities involved in splitting screens for multiple video streams. This often results in a disjointed and frustrating experience for both instructors and students, weakening the overall learning process.

NTT has developed a solution to bridge this gap: an ultra-low-latency distributed display processing technology combined with its All-Photonics Network (APN). The system promises a seamless remote communication experience by displaying videos from multiple points with a tiny delay of less than 20 milliseconds—for reference, the average human reaction time to visual stimulus is around 250 milliseconds. It's a system that can provide real-time video communication with a genuine sense of unity, making it ideal for scenarios such as a dance class where an instructor interacts with students remotely.

NTT's low-latency video transmission is the heart of the technology and a unique approach to distributed ultra-low-delay split-display processing. Unlike conventional systems that wait for all video frames to align before processing begins, NTT's solution starts processing each frame as soon as it is received. This eliminates the delay caused by waiting for the last frame, ensuring that the video streams from different locations are synchronized without any noticeable lag. What makes this possible is the use of Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-based stream screen-split processing, which greatly reduces the waiting time for video frame buffering. FPGAs are customizable chips that can be programmed for different tasks, making them versatile for many tech applications. What's more, the distributed processing architecture allows for the deployment of equipment at each location, supporting multiple locations and viewpoints simultaneously. This is further enhanced by the use of optical fiber transmission, offering uncompressed video transmission with low latency and wide bandwidth capabilities.

Looking towards the future, NTT's technology not only paves the way for delay-free remote visual communication, but perhaps more importantly it gives a real sense of unity among participants, regardless of their physical locations. And it's not just online education that could benefit; the low-latency video solution could potentially be used in a number of different scenarios:

1. Telemedicine and Remote Surgery: Allowing for precise, real-time remote medical consultations and surgical procedures, improving patient care and accessibility.

2. Autonomous Vehicles: Enabling real-time data processing, critical for the safety and efficiency of self-driving cars, including split-second decision-making.

3. Financial Trading: Offering a competitive edge in high-frequency trading by reducing latency, allowing for faster decision-making and trade execution.

4. Emergency Response and Disaster Management: Improving real-time communication and coordination among first responders, enhancing response times and operational effectiveness during crises.

By taking advantage of the capabilities of NTT's IOWN (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network), remote learning and performances can go beyond traditional boundaries and deliver an immersive and interactive experience that mirrors in-person sessions. It's a milestone in the evolution of remote communication, promising a world where distance no longer dictates the quality of our interactions.

NTT—Innovating the Future

Picture: Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor joined the NTT Group in 1999 when he began work as the Public Relations Manager of NTT Europe. While in London, he liaised with the local press, created the company's intranet site, wrote technical copy for industry magazines and managed exhibition stands from initial design to finished displays.

Later seconded to the headquarters of NTT Communications in Tokyo, he contributed to the company's first-ever winning of global telecoms awards and the digitalisation of internal company information exchange.

Since 2015 Daniel has created content for the Group's Global Leadership Institute, the One NTT Network and is currently working with NTT R&D teams to grow public understanding of the cutting-edge research undertaken by the NTT Group.