London-based media compression algorithm maker Deep Render has raised $9 million in new funding. According to the company, if video content platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) used Deep Render technology, it would save them billions a year in content delivery costs, while video chat apps (Zoom, MS Teams) could give consumers a higher video quality experience without additional costs.
Angling to get out of the lab and into the market, Deep Render’s new streaming capital arrives via a Series A round led by IP Group and Pentech Ventures to the tune of $6.3 million, and a grant from the European Innovation Council at $2.7 million.
For the vast majority of us, long gone are the days of the spinning circle overlay as we wait for video content to buffer. Fair enough. And while we take the “Who’s watching?” message for granted these days, one pause to think about what’s going on behind those smiling icons, and it’s enough to take your breath away.
Over the course of that little forced global experiment in living at the office, I’d venture to say that you and I have never been mor thankful for the umpteen amounts of readily available content delivered to the black mirror, all the while not giving a second though to the strain it’s put on the pipes that feed our eyes, ears, and brains with tiny bits of data that when assembled in the correct order, delight.
However. The amount of data on the internet is doubling every two years, 90% of which is video. Quote simply put: there’s too much data traffic and too little bandwidth, or at least networks that aren’t equipped to handle it.
And this is to say nothing of the carbon emissions generated by video streaming. To put things in context, one hour of video streaming releases the same amount of carbon emissions as traveling 300 metres by car. Every year, YouTube streams 365 billion hours, Netflix 70 billion hours, and Twitch over 22 billion hours. You do the maths.
Now, if/when Deep Render gets their way, they say they can offer 5x better compression performance, effectively reducing carbon emissions by 80%.
“If something doesn't change soon, the free and open web as we know it will cease to exist,” explains Deep Render co-founder and CTO, Arsalan Zafar. “The impossibility of matching data growth and demand to infrastructure expansion is a ticking time bomb. It’s a threat for big tech companies whose business models rely on sustained content delivery to users. It’s a threat for governments spending billions of taxpayers' money on upgrading their networks. It’s a threat for consumers faced with poor experiences, or huge costs. And fundamentally it’s a threat to the planet through rising, streaming-related emissions.”
Compression without limits
If you’re still tracking with me, you can guess where I’m going with this: the answer is compression technologies. Now, toss in a healthy dose of AI software already embedded in the hundreds of million of devices already afield, and you’re starting to pick up on what Deep Render is laying down.
Deep Render has built a video compression algorithm that shrinks video sizes all the while leaving relative streaming quality untouched. But wait, there’s more: instead of improving on the decades-old traditional video compression systems, Deep Render has completely reinvented the technology to mimic the neural processes of the human eye.
"Five years ago, Chri (Besenbruch) and I founded Deep Render to bet on AI Compression and the AI-Accelerator hardware ecosystem," added Zafar. "After years of hard work and exceptional R&D, we've built the world's first AI Codec. This is an iPhone moment for the compression industry, which will never be the same again.”