Whittaker Corp. and Pacific Bell Successfully Demonstrate Industry's First 'Video Mail' Multimedia Application; San Francisco/Los Angeles Test of Video Server Prototype Marks First-Ever Video E-Mail Transmission over Commercial High Speed ATM Network.
The successsful demonstration of Whittaker's video/multimedia server and Pacific Bell's ATM network will help bring to market new store-and-forward, archive and retrieval and related electronic commerce applications for Pacific Bell customers.
The technology test, which ends on Oct. 31, is part of the Pacific Bell Media Park multimedia development and trial program which was launched late in 1994 and links various ATM customers through Pacific Bell's statewide fiberoptic network.
Stationed recently at test bed sites in Los Angeles and San Francisco, representatives of Whittaker and Pacific Bell recorded and instantaneously "e-mailed" video clips, video messages and multimedia files to each other, using pre-production video server systems developed by Whittaker.
This is the world's first implementation of video store-and-forward capabilities using an ATM network, according to Tom Brancati, Whittaker's president and CEO.
"We believe we are positioned to take this product to market in various key industries where real-time or dynamic use of video and multimedia data is critically important," he said.
"We're delighted with the Pacific Bell video mail beta test, helping prove as it does that commercial applications of this technology are practical, and will soon be commonplace," Brancati said.
The successful demonstration of this technology culminates a year-long cooperative effort between Whittaker and Pacific Bell which was created to develop a real-time ATM video/multimedia server system and associated software and digital memory interfaces for applications in wide-area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs).
Conceptually, a video store-and-forward application is similar to existing text-based computer e-mail approaches -- a user keys in a message, stores it and sends it to a designated address or addresses. It's a way for business to manage and remotely share digitized video files immediately, with the click of a computer mouse.
Whittaker's real-time multimedia application video server is a variant of the company's Data Manager server which is currently used in some 500 government and industrial customer locations for real-time access and retrieval applications.
The site used for this test was Winsonic Communications of West Hollywood, Calif., a firm that creates and edits multimedia and video components used in film and advertising production, as well as digital recording.
"This high-resolution store-and-forward capability opens a new communications era for the entertainment, telecommunication, healthcare and other industries," said Winston Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Winsonic Communications.
Whittaker's Brancati expects the entertainment community to be one of the first market sectors to adopt this new networked video approach. Film makers, for instance, can use the ATM-linked video server to perform production and post-production tasks on-line, collaborating with team members and suppliers at varied geographic sites.
For example, producers could scout film locations, identify and license sound effects and video clips, view "dailies," and edit footage on a team basis at several locations.
Healthcare applications of this approach will save hospitals money, improve patient care as well as create new service business revenue. Using the Whittaker server as a real-time repository for radiology and other medical files, a physician can log in, review high-resolution patient radiology files, make a diagnosis, and transmit the results to a physician located in a hospital or clinic at a remote location.
Similar applications exist in the educational and government sector. In the education arena, the Whittaker server system facilitates group or self-paced individual learning using courseware that incorporates recorded lectures, video presentations, databases and virtual libraries all accessed and retrieved in real-time regardless of location.
In addition, as federal and state government places more emphasis on information technology the server can play a major role in promoting distance learning, training and simulation as well as disaster recovery or backup of critical mixed media files.
The Whittaker server supports 96 full-duplex ATM data streams that provide connectivity to various tape, optical storage and RAID disk systems and has sustained throughput of 200 MB per second.
Whittaker will start taking orders for the video server later this calendar year and will make deliveries in early 1996. The company is currently forming alliances and joint ventures that will provide broad distribution of the server as well as creating various service businesses.
Headquartered in Simi Valley, Calif., Whittaker Corp. is a diversified technology company that delivers specialized electronics and aerospace solutions to customers within targeted segments of the communications, aerospace, defense and industrial markets worldwide.
CONTACT: Whittaker Corp.
James Schultz, 805/526-5700, ext. 638