A project to trade digital audio-visual works using ATM

The ATM network has left the laboratory/standardisation stage and is appearing on the market. In Europe the ATM Pilot has been running for over a year and several extensions are foreseen in 1996: more switching nodes (in Italy, in addition to Rome and Milan, there will be nodes in Turin, Bologna, Bari etc.) and Q.2931 signalling. ATM connections between Japan (and other advanced Asian countries) and North America – Europe are also becoming common place. ATM will therefore provide worldwide service soon.

In parallel to the “public” arena ATM equipment are being introduced into many organisations as an upgrade of the existing Ethernet-based infrastructure. The advantage is not only the order-of-magnitude increase of the bandwidth (100 Mbit/s compared to 10 Mbit/s) but the transparency of the corporate network to the public network for both data and real-time traffic.

DG XIII B of the Commission of the European Communities (CEC), the body administering the ACTS (Advanced Communication Technologies and Services) R&D programme is actively seeking to promote acceptance of ATM thoughout the Union. The current Call for Proposal, due to close on 1st March 1996, provides room for projects addressing specific instances of potential businesses made possible by the use of ATM.

ATMAN (“soul” in sankrit) is a proposal of a project with a duration of 2 years that would create the conditions for the establishment of a company whose business would be to:

  1. collect digitised audio-visual (AV) clips through ATM outlets;
  2. perform value-added operations on such clips and
  3. sell clips worldwide through ATM.

The merit of the project would be to provide a clearly motivated use of ATM that benefits producers of AV information (even free-lance), telecom companies and service providers worldwide.

To reach the goal the project would need to carry out the following development/adaptation activities:

  1. satellite receivers interfaced to ATM (to be sold to customers; it is assumed that in many cases AV clips would come from remote places where only satellite connections via portable terminals would be available);
  2. software to manage large multimedia data bases;
  3. equipment to operate bitrate conversion of AV streams;
  4. hardware and software to watermark/scramble;
  5. hardware and software to preview AV clips and download clips via ATM (to be sold to customers);
  6. general information on Web pages including preview of some still images (if internet bandwidth so allows, even some animated clips);
  7. billing software.

Further the project would need to integrate all components and show their operation in real conditions. The successful completion of the project would create the conditions for the establishment of a commercial company.

It is understood that the CEC sees favourably the participation of non-European partners in ACTS projects. However, non-Union partners will receive no funds.

Partners needed in the project are:


European broadcaster


Worldwide association of right administration societies


European telecom


Software company


Japanese telecom


American broadcaster


European broadcaster