Networking Multimedia Applications

Chris Adie (
Thu, 3 Jun 93 10:33:25 WET DST

You may be interested in the following IETF BOF session. If you intend
coming along, please let me know. (The secretariat need an estimate of
numbers so they can allocate a suitably-sized room.)

IETF Meeting in Amsterdam

BOF Session on


(currently scheduled for Tuesday 13 July, 1930-2200)

The ready availability of user-friendly multimedia authoring tools such
as Authorware Professional, Asymmetrix Multimedia Toolbook, Macromind
Director and many more, has stimulated much interest in multimedia
within the user community. Sophisticated interactive multimedia
applications are being developed in many disparate subjects and for a
wide range of purposes. Users are now beginning to ask us, as network
technologists, "how can I make my multimedia application available to
others across the network?".

In a parallel development, existing client-server network information
retrieval tools are being enhanced with multimedia handling features.
Gopher+ for instance has been designed with multimedia data firmly in
mind. The World Wide Web project is currently defining a new version of
its hypertext markup language, to be called HMML - HyperMedia Markup
Language - which includes multimedia support.

A third strand of activity is the emergence of network technologies
capable of carrying audio and video data across the network, initially
driven by multimedia conferencing applications. Network technologies
such as ATM and protocols such as RTP are potentially capable of
handling isochronous multimedia data in an effective way.

This BOF session will focus on issues which link these three strands.
Particular questions to be addressed are:

* What are user requirements in terms of responsiveness, and what demands
this places on the network and server system, and how these might
be mitigated.

* The prospects for making existing interactive multimedia applications
available over the network - eg by writing conversion tools from
proprietary formats to a suitable open format.

* To what extent can existing network information retrieval tools such as
Gopher, WWW, WAIS be used for sophisticated multimedia applications?
What about the tools emerging from the research community such as
AthenaMuse 2 (MIT), Microcosm (U of Southampton), HyperG (U of Graz)?
Do we need another tool, or can we build on what we have?

* How can such tools be enhanced to take advantage of isochronous
data streams?

* What relevance do standards such as HyTime and MHEG have?

The BOF is intended to test interest in the subject, to define issues
that need resoving, and to see whether a WG can be formed to work on
those issues.

Chris Adie Phone: +44 31 650 3363
Edinburgh University Computing Service Fax: +44 31 662 4809
University Library, George Square Email:
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ, United Kingdom