Established two years ago in Beijing, IBM's China Research Lab specializes in speech recognition and language translation for the Web. The work has already reaped some rewards. A special version of IBM's voice recognition software ViaVoice will be shipped with every PC in China, and the lab is working on software to scan in Chinese text, recognize the characters, and publish directly to the Web. IBM researchers hope the technology will help liberate the content stored in Asia's archives and museums.
The lab's most recent invention is HotVideo, software for building hyper-links into Web video. The breakthrough, explains IBM Digital Library director Willy Chiu, was the creation of metadata that tracks objects in the video stream without placing extra stress on the system. IBM researchers came up with the video format--HVF--to describe the link's temporal and spatial locations and the resources associated with it, explains Jeane Chen, manager of interactive media solutions at IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center.
HotVideo lets a Web publisher identify a hot link in a number of ways, such as outlining the object with a rule. A visitor to a Web catalog site, for instance, can click on a model walking down a runway and instantly link to a transaction system to purchase the outfit. A video link could also lead to text, graphics, video, or an executable file. Chiu expects that it won't be long before Web sites will offer video-based catalogs.
Publishers of DVD disks can also create video links to the Web so customers can download new content. To make the disks upgradable, publishers need only add a mask to a disk during production. CNN Interactive is one of HotVideo's initial test sites.