If you’re not hooked up to WiFi, video chatting on your smartphone can be a pretty choppy experience. Users often run into frustrating problems like highly pixelated or frozen frames, lagging video or audio, and connection losses.
Mobile video chat programs such as FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts use a lot of bandwidth, which is the amount of data you can send in a given period of time, usually limited by your smartphone coverage plan.
“Constant video transmission is very expensive,” said Nigel Ward, Ph.D., professor of computer science at The University of Texas at El Paso. “When you’re using something like Skype, it repeatedly takes pictures of you and sends them. It [takes and sends pictures] about thirty times per second.”
This constant transfer of large data in mobile technology — where bandwidth is limited and costly — can result in the annoying problems users experience in video chat. To help prevent the glitches and save users money, Ward recently came up with an idea that may dramatically improve mobile video chat by reducing the amount of bandwidth the chats consume.
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