Jan 20, 2022
Mosquito Tone! Does this give the impression that it has something to do with mosquitos?
Well, it does relate to tones with the buzzing sounds similar to the noise made by a mosquito but it is not directly related to ultra-sonic mosquito repellant devices in any way.
Humans can hear the sounds between frequencies of 20 Hz to 20 KHz.
Mosquito tones are high-frequency tones, normally above 17 KHz.
These tones are inaudible by adults but can be heard by teenagers. Yes, you read it correctly! Teenagers can hear mosquito tones but adults cannot. That is because it is normal for people to lose their hearing as they age and as a result, they are unable to hear the higher frequency sounds. With age, the audible audio frequency range continue to narrow down with losses towards the high frequency. The actual audible range can vary across individuals who are similar in age.
While there are both desired and undesired uses of mosquito tone in various applications, presence of mosquito tone is generally not acceptable in the media content delivered by various content delivery services. Presence of mosquito tones can cause severe degradation in user experience for the younger population. Infants & toddlers hearing systems can be severely impacted by the presence of such tones as the adults will not even notice their presence while unknowingly exposing kids to them for an extended period of time.
It is therefore important for content providers to ensure mosquito tones are not present in the delivered content. This is where the challenge comes in.
Most of the QC operators working with content providers are adults and as a result will inevitably miss the mosquito tone even if it is present in the content. So, performing a full manual QC of the audio is certainly not sufficient to detect this. Missing such signals can prove to be very expensive for content providers in terms of increased churn as well as related legal liability, as this could be potentially harmful to the public health. In case of delivery mediums like television, the negative effect could be very wide-spread due to the inherent broadcast nature of the delivery medium.
Therefore, since it is clear that manual QC for detection of these tones will not work, using a QC tool that can performance a reliable detection of mosquito tones is necessary.
Venera’s QC tools – Quasar & Pulsar, perform audio spectrum analysis and can reliably report the presence of mosquito tones in the content. Users have the flexibility to define the frequency range for these tones, and all the mosquito tones in that range will be reliably reported for user’s review. Moreover, all such tones can be detected in an automated manner, thereby improving the workflow efficiencies significantly while saving content providers from any claims downstream.
Visit www.veneratech.com/pulsar to read more about Pulsar™ and request a free trial.
Visit www.veneratech.com/quasar to read more about Quasar® and request a free trial.
Mar 31, 2021
We have achieved something that has been near and dear to my heart for a couple of years, as it relates to our Cloud-based QC capabilities. And that is how we extended the capability of our Quasar native-cloud QC service to the level that I don’t believe anyone else has actually reached! And we call it “Quasar Leap”.
When we started the development work on Quasar®, our native cloud QC service, the goal was clear. We didn’t want to just take our popular on-premise QC software, Pulsar™, run it on a VM and call it “cloud” QC. We made the deliberate decision that while we would use the same core QC capabilities of Pulsar, we would build Quasar architecture from grounds up, to be a ‘native’ cloud QC service. And we did accomplish that by being the first cloud-based QC to legitimately call ourselves ‘native’ cloud. And the phrase ‘native’ cloud meant capabilities like microservices architecture, dynamic scalability, regional content awareness, SaaS deployment, usage-based pricing, high grade content security, and of course redundancy.
But we wanted to go even further. And that was when the project we code named ‘Quasar Leap’ came about. To borrow and paraphrase from one of my all time favorite TV shows, Star Trek, we wanted to “take Quasar to where no cloud-QC had gone before”! (Those of you who are Star Trek fans know what I am talking about!).
Quasar was already able to process 100s of files at the time, but the goal of ‘Quasar Leap’ was to show that Quasar can process ONE THOUSAND files simultaneously! Of course, anyone can claim that their solution is robust, scalable, reliable, etc, but we set out to actually do it and then record it to prove that we did it!
This was not a marketing ploy, although to be honest, I knew there would be great appreciation and name recognition telling our customers and prospects that we can QC 1,000 files simultaneously. But there was a practical and quite useful benefit of doing so. After Quasar’s initial release, we found out when we started to push the boundaries of how many files Quasar could process simultaneously, there were some practical limitations to our architecture, even though we were already way ahead of our competition. And while we could easily process a few hundred files at the same time (more than any of our customers had needed), when we tried to push beyond that, the process could break down, and impact the reliability of the overall service.
So because of project ‘Quasar Leap’, our engineering team took a very close look at various components of our architecture. And while I am obviously not going to give away our secret sauce (!), suffice to say, they further enhanced and tweaked various aspects of our internal workflow to remove any bottlenecks and stress points, to make Quasar massively and dynamically scalable!
And then we decided instead of just ‘saying’ that we have the most scalable native-cloud QC solution, we would ‘actually do’ it and record it!! And I can now tell you confidently that we have actually done that! That, we actually submitted 1000 60-minute media files, watched our Quasar system dynamically spin up 1000 AWS virtual computing units (called EC2s in their terminology), and process (QC) those 1000 files simultaneously, and then spin down those EC2 instances once they were no longer needed.
With the new scalling capabilities, 60,000 minutes (1000 hours!) of content can be processed in about 45 minutes which even includes the time of spinning up of the EC2 instances! To put things in perspective, 1000 hours of content, equivalent of approximately 660 movies, or 20 seasons of 7 different popular TV Sitcoms, can be processed in just 45 minutes! To say it differently, with our massive simultaneous processing capability, approximately 1300 hours of content can be processed in one hour!
If you say to yourself “that is great, but who has that much content that they need to process them that quickly”, I have an answer! Actually a three-point answer:
- You will be surprised how many media companies have PETA bytes (that is with a “P”!) of content sitting in cloud storage! They face the daunting task of managing a cloud-based workflow to monetize that archived content by restoring, ingesting, transcoding, and ultimately delivering that content to audiences. And one step that is naturally important in this workflow is ensuring that all of that content goes through content validation at various stages before delivery to the end user. And that is where this massive simultaneous QC processing ability of Quasar will be much needed to minimize delays in this effort.
- Some of our customers get content in bursts with strict delivery timelines. Ability to process that burst of content immediately offers significant business value in addition to workflow efficiency.
- And let’s not forget the main gain from the ‘Quasar Leap’ project, which was the behind the scene tweaking, in some cases revamping, and enhancing of our underlying architecture. And that has resulted in a solid platform, which will benefit ALL of our Quasar SaaS users, whether they have 100,000 files or 100 files, or even a few files! It ensures reliability, scalability and confidence in that they can rely on Quasar to meet their QC needs regardless of their normal volume or any sudden increases (bursts) in their content flow due to an unexpected event or last minute request.
All that effort for ‘Quasar Leap’ by our talented and dedicated development team, conducted during the challenging time of the pandemic, is finally complete! The new release of Quasar with all the architectural changes resulting from the ‘Quasar Leap’ project has rolled out.
According to Tony Huidor, SVP, Products & Technology at Cinedigm, a premier independent content distributor, a great customer of ours, and an early benefactor of ‘Quasar Leap’: “Given the rapidly growing volume of content that uses our cloud-based platform, we needed the ability to expand the number of files we need to process in a moment’s notice. Quasar’s massive concurrent QC processing capability gives us the scalability we required and effectively meets our needs.”
And now ‘Quasar Leap’, giving us the ability to massively scale up our simultaneous processing capability, is ‘live’, and “our Quasar native-cloud QC has gone where no other cloud-QC has gone before”!
Learn more about our Quasar capabilities here, or contact us for a demo and free trial!
And as Mr. Spock would say: “Live Long & Prosper”!
By: Fereidoon Khosravi