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Q&A: The importance of unlimited file-sharing for emerging technologies

(Image credit: Image Credit: ChingChing / Shutterstock)

Why are VR/AR/8K files so large? And how much data do they actually store?

File size is a huge challenge for these technologies, as is the need to transfer and share these files in post-production. Because VR requires multiple camera angles of the same shot, and 360 videos are formatted to accommodate the screens of computers and mobile devices. Combine these together, and the amount of data needing to be stored on these files is gigantic. 

In terms of actual size, a single minute of ProRes UHD file (3840 x 2160) is around 5.3GB, making a single hour of 4K footage about 318GB, take this one step further, 25 hours of 4K ProFes equals roughly 7.76TB. There is also a common misconception that an 8K file will be double the size of a 4K file, when actually every leap in the chain actually squares in data amount, meaning a 10GB 4K file isn’t 20GBs in 2K, it’s actually 100. 

Is it likely that we will see a larger number of these files being shared as these industries expand? 

There is no question that as these industries continue to grow, so too will the number of people working within them. The amount of funding go into VR/AR grew by 85 per (opens in new tab) cent from 2015 to 2016. It’s only natural to think that as more money goes into VR/AR, the teams required to produce these virtual experiences will need to grow.

One also has to think of the ways in which these technologies will be used going forward, there has been huge amounts of success for Pokemon Go, which showcases some of the advantages of AR, however once these industries start breaking into the commercial segment, their projected growth skyrockets, with experts predicting VR revenue could hit $75bn (opens in new tab) by 2021. This will mean an increasing number of individuals, and VR/AR studios will be sharing huge files on a day-to-day basis.

What are the current restraints within file-sharing, especially for these emerging technologies?

The two major constraints within file-sharing at the moment are data caps, and download speeds.  The majority of file-sharing companies do not allow users to share files over a certain size, especially for free. Some of the most popular file-sharing applications can have limits as low as a few GBs, which forces the user to have to invest money into being able to share their content. Even with premium services the datacap often only allows files up to 20GB. 

As we’ve already discussed, these industries are working with files that are far bigger than that, and therefore by forcing emerging industries to pay for these services, it can damage an individual’s ability to collaborate and showcase their work. 

The second issue relates to the speed in which these files can actually be transferred.  Currently, the average internet download rate is 36.2Mbps, which would mean it would take roughly two and a half days to download the file. There is no question that VR studios or similar organisations will have extremely fast internet and therefore this time will be cut down considerably. 

Why is free file-sharing important for these industries? 

Within these industries, there can be huge numbers of people working on a single project, working across a multitude of devices, from tablets to laptops. The ability to share a file with these people simultaneously, without having to spend vast amounts of money to negate data caps, is vital to success. The biggest victim to fall under this issue however is the individual, or the freelancer who is working on a project and doesn’t have the funds to invest in a paid file-sharing system, not only does this damage their ability to share their work, but also to collaborate with others to improve the project. There have been countless studies done which show that success is amplified when multiple people are working on a project, compared to a single individual. Take this one step further, there is a staggering amount of evidence which shows international collaboration massively increases the opportunity for success. The science world is a great example of this, with the number of papers with authors from multiple countries more than doubling between 1990 and 2015. Apply this to emerging technologies, and international collaboration is key to VR/AR reaching its fullest potential. 

What are some of the challenges for file-sharing companies when trying to accommodate for larger files needing to be shared? 

There are two major challenges in sharing large files whilst maintaining speed and stability of the transfer; one, increasing rate of device diversification and second, increasing device mobility. These two technological advancement leads to volatile network environment. Send Anywhere tries to overcome these challenges by allowing users to send and share files via peer to peer system, overcoming device and platform barriers. Peer to peer file sharing system has advantage over cloud system in that is can send files more quickly because the file does not get stored in the server. Another effort we make in order to provide stability in file sharing is to analyse the user pattern to maximise server efficiency. 

What can file-sharing companies do in order to support? 

File-sharing companies can support these industries by predominantly offering an unlimited option when it comes to data; the current restrictions simply will not help these industries collaborate, share content with each other or an audience and grow. There can also be an argument made for ensuring files can be shared, and received across multiple devices, this includes phones, tablets and personal computer systems, as people are increasingly looking to share while on the move. There could also be a case for file-sharing companies to work with VR studios specifically for VR files, this could mean being able to share a condensed  versions of the file, or a file directly to a VR-device.          

Will unlimited file-sharing ever be completely free? 

There are already a few options available in order to send unlimited amounts of data for free. The Windows applications for Send Anywhere allows users to send unlimited amounts of data for free, across any device. It is likely that we will see more companies shift towards this as files continue to grow, and the demand for free file-sharing applications grows. 

What advancements do you see happening in the file-sharing industry over the next 5 to 10 years?

One thing we expect that will greatly influence the file-sharing industry is the rapid development of the 5G network, with greater connectivity, large files from VR & AR technology would have greater shareability. Another change we will see is more device diversification and increasing needs for data transfer between these devices to be seamless for users.  

Send Anywhere

Founded in 2012 in Seoul, Send Anywhere, the brainchild of Estmob Inc., is a file sharing application that takes an easy, quick, and unlimited approach to file sharing. Easily, it lets you transfer any file type, across any platform, all without requiring signing up or logging on. Quickly, given network conditions, it finds the most viable network path to ensure an efficient transfer. As for unlimited, you can send any sized file, as many times as you want, all for free. Originally just for Android, Send Anywhere now works across Amazon Kindle, Android, iOS, Windows PC and Phone, Mac, Linux, Web Widget, API, WordPress Plugin, and for Samsung Printers. Send Anywhere also has a special technology partnership with Samsung Galaxy.

JeHoon Shin, CTO, Send Anywhere (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: ChingChing / Shutterstock

JeHoon Shin is the CTO of Send Anywhere, a South Korean file-sharing company which launched in Europe in July. JeHoon is responsible for leading the technological innovation within Send Anywhere and optimising the file-sharing process.