Display as a Service from DFKI wins CeBIT Innovation Award 2013

Imagine pixel transport with no video cables, no limitations, and no distortion! DaaS – Display as a Service – transforms an unlimited number of individual monitors into a virtual display or a gigantic display wall. This technology was honored today with the CeBIT Innovation Award 2013. Federal Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka presented the prize at the official opening ceremonies in Hannover. Receiving the award and representing the entire DFKI graphics team on stage was Alexander Löffler, researcher at DFKI and participant in the Software Campus.

A picture says more on 1000 displays! Acting as service providers in a network, images and screens of any resolution can supply or display pixels with Display as a Service, respectively. At CeBIT 2013, the prize-winning technology is demonstrated to the public with an interactive heterogeneous display wall and a reconfigurable display of tablet computers (Special exhibit: CeBIT Innovation Award, Hall 9, E50). Minister Wanka explained: “To accelerate the time to market innovative ideas, researchers need support from both government and business. We hope this award to Display as a Service will promote the rapid implementation and help making the prize-winning results available and useful to all.”

DaaS modifies, enhances, and extends the utility of displays and frees monitors from their video cables. DaaS brings mobility to images. “The CeBIT Innovation Award is a fantastic recognition for me and the entire team and an extraordinary acknowledgment of our intensive research effort,” said Alexander Löffler. “We focus on applications that provide a clearly visible benefit and viewing convenience for all users. Winning the CeBIT Innovation Award brings great visibility to the DaaS technology, which will give a huge boost to its broad implementation.” DaaS establishes a peer-to-peer communications model between all sources and displays, ensures the partitioning of the image content based on the current mapping, and allows the synchronized real-time presentation of the content across multiple display devices. Dr. Heinrich Arnold, head of Telekom Innovation Laboratories and member of the Software Campus steering committee said: “The CeBIT Innovation Award to a participant in the Software Campus class of 2012 is the best affirmation of our selection process and the selection results. Software Campus is an outstanding program to supplement the support available to young researchers in the IT industry.”

The CeBIT Innovation Award instituted by Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Deutsche Messe AG offers, for the first time, a prize for outstanding development in the areas of design, user friendliness, and human-machine interaction. More than 70 researchers and developers from German research institutes, technical universities, universities of applied sciences, and companies submitted their ideas. “The high quality of the submitted ideas is what I find most impressive. Some very difficult decisions had to be made by the jury,” said Head of CeBIT Frank Pörschmann. He added, “I am very satisfied with the results and proud of the fact that we could publically present the first CeBIT Innovation Award to these outstanding innovations in 2013.” The first place prize for Display as a Service is endowed with 50,000 Euros. The four winning exhibits in the competition are on display for viewing at the BMBF stand (Hall 9, E50).

The project, headed by Alexander Löffler, a member of the research group at the DFKI headed by Prof. Philipp Slusallek and in collaboration with the Intel Visual Computing Institute (VCI), explores future user experiences enabled by novel advances in the transport of pixels over standard IP networks. The Intel VCI in Saarbrücken is a collaboration between Intel, the DFKI, Saarland University and the Max Planck Institutes for Computer Science and Software Systems. Intel CTO Justin Rattner said on the occasion of the opening of CeBIT: “Display as a Service and the new usage models that it enables, are impressive. At Intel we are convinced that Display as a Service could revolutionize professional display wall solutions and enable highly attractive new services for consumers and businesses.”

Saarland Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer expressed her “sincere congratulations to Alexander Löffler and the DFKI team on winning the CeBIT Innovation Award 2013.” She continued, “Wednesday is traditionally Saarland Day at CeBIT. I look forward to my visit to Hannover to speak with the exhibitors, especially, this year with our prize winners in Hall 9.”

Until now, the connection between a pixel source and the monitor that is to display these pixels has been achieved via VGA, DVI, or HDMI interfaces and the respective cables. These cables can only provide a fixed point-to-point connection. Currently, it is only possible to connect a source to multiple monitors through the addition of some very costly special hardware. “DaaS, as a generic software solution, has the potential to do away with specialized hardware and to revolutionize the use of displays: “Connect to every display, anywhere, at all times – with just a click,” according to the prediction of Prof. Philipp Slusallek, department head at DFKI and co-director of the Intel VCI. “With DaaS, we have made dedicated video cable connections, plug adapters for today's diverse interfaces and, above all, the expensive graphic splitters and video switchers obsolete – simply to be replaced by a small piece of software.”

DaaS has all the advantages of a switched network, while offering maximum flexibility to present pixels from several sources on multiple displays. It makes no difference whether such walls are constructed using a uniform grid, for example, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), or heterogeneous, arbitrarily combined display devices of various resolutions and pixel densities. Every display is registered with its own absolute spatial position and orientation in the system, which ensures the correct compensation for display bezels and any potential gaps while presenting image data over the entire display wall without any distortion.

The researchers in Saarbrücken are now collaborating with display manufacturers in an effort to have DaaS installed directly in the televisions. Today, these are no longer simply display devices, but rather, highly evolved high-performance multimedia devices with processors and network interfaces, which are, in principle, capable of fulfilling all the requirements that DaaS needs in order to open its value added viewing benefits to the world.

The aim of the CeBIT Innovation Award is to promote design and development competencies for the digital world and to further expand existing potentials. The prize is awarded to the most outstanding innovative ideas for interactive IT systems that demonstrate the greatest possible user friendliness, with simple and intuitive operation. The annual competition is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) together with Deutschen Messe AG. The award is endowed with a total of 100,000 euros and is being presented for the first time at CeBIT 2013. More information: www.cebitaward.de

Press photo for Display as a Service – Caption:
“A display wall comprised of totally different equipment - monitors, tablets, or projectors linked via the network – shows a video stream large surface and visually correct, independent of actual display resolution and without special hardware.”


Photo credit: Royalty free use for print and internet. Photo: André Mailänder

Visit Display as a Service at CeBIT in Hall 9, Stand E50.

DFKI at CeBIT 2013: www.dfki.de/web/news/cebit2013

More information provided at: www.daas.tv

DFKI Contact for Display as a Service:
Alexander Löffler, M.Sc.
Research Department: Agents and Simulated Reality
E-mail: Alexander.Loeffler@dfki.de
Phone: +49 681 85775 7743

DFKI Contact:
Reinhard Karger, M.A.
DFKI Company Spokesperson
Phone: +49 681 85775 5253
Cell: +49 151 1567 4571
E-mail: Reinhard.Karger@dfki.de

DFKI Press Contact at CeBIT: Heike Leonhard, M.A.
DFKI Communications Department
Cell: +49 174 3076888
E-mail: Heike.Leonhard@dfki.de