At the end of 2022, Soliton launched the Zao-X the first ultra low latency video encoder that can operate over 4G and 5G. The Zao-X with its newly modified RASCOW2 protocol that it can now gloat an amazing latency of 65ms over 4G, and 35ms over public 5G, is simply unique in the marketplace. The nearest competitor is 120ms and only then conditional over 5G on a private network.
Soliton has always prided itself on developing low latency live streaming technology. In 2016, Soliton launched the first portable h.265 HEVC bonded 4G encoder for live streaming. Known as the Zao it could bond together multiple 3G and 4G networks for live programs such as news and live sports as a satellite replacement for live streaming from remote locations back to a broadcast center.
Bonded cellular solutions for live streaming were not new, but the latency of 250ms boasted by the Zao with its unique RASCOW streaming protocol, in 2016, exerted a new benchmark in low latency live streaming. Other competitive solutions were typically around 2 to 5 seconds.
With the launch of ultra low latency live streaming comes the launch of other new markets that it helps enable. Many of Soliton’s customers in the past have been broadcasters and users of mobile surveillance solutions such as the police and military. But now Soliton is working with a range of new customers who are developing remote tele-driving platforms and remote operational platforms for machinery, drones, and robots. The fact vehicles and machines are controlled from a far away location, it is imperative from a safety perspective that they can see and operate the machines in almost real time – ultra-low latency video streaming is vital. A delay of more than a few 100 milliseconds could be catastrophic.
Back in 2018, Soliton’s R&D set out to prove the concept of remote operations and teledriving. Obviously with safety in mind, testing was done in a secure location where no harm could be bought to others which this video demonstrates:
2016 – Test driving in private locations
Roll forward to 2022, we now have a bus, complete with passengers, being remotely driven on Japanese roads:
2022 – remote driving on public roads
Soliton has been on quite the journey. Soliton can not only provide proven ultra low latency live video streaming solutions, but also that reliability, quality and self-recoverability is possible in such mission-critical applications, especially over unstable public networks such as cellular. And of course security is a major design factor that is included.
Soliton continues to rapidly innovate. In Q1 2023, Soliton will launch a software version of its RASCOW2 protocol and will be selling integration services for companies looking to OEM ultra low latency live streaming into their own hardware environment. This will have the flexibility to support a range of different cameras simultaneously, with new receiver environments that are customized for teleoperations that will include graphical displays showing not only ultra low latency live video, but will overlay other data metrics deemed fit to show for the remote operator. The network connection can be cellular, 3G/4G/5G and/or Wifi, Starlink or even fixed lines.
Please contact Soliton now for an exploratory conversation on how we can help you with your live streaming needs for remote control of machinery, vehicles, drones and other robotic devices.