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In September 1993, the Canadian Institute for Telecommunications Research, in collaboration with the IBM Toronto Laboratory Centre for Advanced Studies, initiated a major project on broadband services. The goal of this major project is to provide the software technologies required for the development of distributed multimedia applications. Of particular interest are “presentational“ applications where multimedia documents, stored in database servers, are retrieved by remote users over a broadband network. Emphasis is placed on efficiency and service flexibility. By efficiency, we mean the ability to support many users and many multimedia documents. By service flexibility, we mean that the application is able to support a wide range of quality-of-service requirements from the users, adapt to changing network conditions, and support multiple document types. The research program consists of six constituent projects: multimedia data management, continuous media file server, quality-of-service negotiation and adaptation, scalable video encoding, synchronization of multimedia data, and project integration. These projects are investigated by a multidisciplinary team from eight institutions across Canada. Multimedia news has been selected as a target application for development, and the results from the various projects have been integrated into a multimedia news prototype. In this paper, the system architecture, research results, and the prototyping effort are presented.
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