A SWOT analysis for MPEG

A Strength-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) analysis has been carried out using the following parameters.

1.              Scope of standards

2.              Use of standards

3.              Membership

4.              Structure

5.              Communication

6.              Leadership

7.              Process to develop standards

8.              Capability to innovate

9.              Client industries

10.           Liaison/collaboration

11.           Business model

12.           Brand

  1. Scope of standards

·       Scope covers the entire protocol stack of the digital media area

·       Scope extends to other areas (genome, neural networks, more?)


·       As digital media mature, it gets more difficulty to start new projects

·       Often work areas are well attended only when (technical) people see “the beef”

·       Scope requires large membership – conflict with ISO/IEC Directives


·       In the traditional digital media scope

·       In the extended scope: see Analysis of possible data compression areas (v3) (WG 11 N18400)


·       Compression is important but customers need more (how much more?)

·       MPEG is compression-centric but other groups have different approaches while using the same words (e.g. AR/VR)

·       Reduction of WG 11 scope

·       Breaking up WG 11

  1. Use of standards

·       Global/cross-industry standards à tools for globalisation

·       Toolkit approach allows wide re-use of technologies (e.g. CABAC in video, genomics and neural networks)

·       Used by virtually all industries: more than 1T$ in devices, 230 B$ pay-tv, 2.8 T$ installed base of devices (global data, 2018)


·       Many WG 11 standards do not have high quality SW, content creation tools etc

·       There is no mechanism to analyse “lack of success” of a standard

·       Rigid “business model” à loss of market share


·       Use our enormous and competent  brain power in traditional and new fields

·       Comply with directives while keeping ecosystem intact


·       Break up to comply with directives

·       Membership is not granted for ever; members may leave because our standards are no longer attractive or profitable

·       Break up à net loss of experts accustomed to current scope

  1. Membership

·       Membership competent in all areas of scope, hence large (>1500 experts, >500 attending, both growing), global (>30 countries)



·       % of experts from companies directly using standards is shrinking

·       % of experts working for NPEs is growing (experts’ growth is good)

·       % of academic members is growing (25%, research growth is good)

·       ISO/IEC directives say that WGs should be “limited in size”

·       No presence in JTC 1


·       Use our enormous brain power in traditional and new fields

·       Comply with directives while keeping WG 11 ecosystem intact


·       Break up to comply with directives (WG 11 considered too large)

·       Membership is not granted for ever; members may leave because our standards are no longer attractive or profitable

·       Break up à net loss of experts accustomed to scope

  1. Structure

·       Not designed by committee but result of 30-year long learning process: Subgroups, AhGs, BoGs, Joint meetings, Chairs meetings

·       Ecosystem of interacting subgroups developing integrated stamdards

·       Powerful IT tool supporting document management, meetings, work plan etc.

·       Processes enabled by structure well understood

·       Structure develops standardisation strategies


·       Technical structure with insufficient awareness of market needs

·       No dedicated component to generate great new ideas of standards


·       Lost opportunity: TC on Data Compression

·       Opportunities as suggested by this SWOT analysis

·       More effective collaboration via Joint Working Groups (JWG)


·       Loss of glue à less attractive standards

·       Moving functions with proven results to unproven SC 29

·       WG status à delay in responding to industry needs

  1. Communication

·       Web site, press releases, white papers, MPEG columns, video tutorials, Reference Software, social networks, liaisons, AhGs, CfE, CfP, verification tests, roadmaps, workshops, …


·       Messages often too technical, insufficiently addressing user needs

·       Text of scope of standards needs improvements

·       Insufficient/uncoordinated presence in academic circles


·       More industry engagement when defining work plan/work items

·       Communicate to industry at start of project not only at end

·       Communicate to industries less sensitive to the value of standards

·       Active and coordinated presence in journals and conferences


·       Some client industries are led astray by clever messages because they underestimate/do not understand the value of standards

  1. Leadership

·       Consolidated and experienced leadership

·       Ready to delegate authority to AhGs-BoGs

·       AhGs-BoGs allow identification of new leaders


·       Static leadership

·       New leaders identified in AhGs-BoGs not put to good use


·       Regenerate leadership by creating a new entity and associated WGs, JWGs and AGs

·       Envisage new means to provide candidates for nominations of chairs/convenors by Secretariat


·       WG status constrains expression of leadership within JTC1

  1. Process to develop standards

·       Thorough implementation of ISO/IEC process

·       Major extensions to seek technology and prove value of our standards (CfE, CfP, VT etc.)

·       ISO process a tool for better standards, not a bureaucratic duty


·       Ad hoc nature of chairs coordination meetings

·       At meetings there are so many interesting things happening but not enough time to follow them all


·       Better support of standards development, e.g. MPEG-I Project Plan à needs secretariat support


·       Break up à destruction of subgroups ecosystem

·       Inability to use all available time to check drafts during ballots

  1. Capability to innovate

·       All WG 11 standards are results of internal bottom up process

·       High innovation capability, 180 standards, work plan, N18400 etc.

·       New ideas fed continuously in the process (e.g. Video Coding for machines)


·       Context-Use Cases-Requirements represent market insufficiently

·       Digital media is maturing

·       Traditional innovation process may not be enough


·       Add “market-aware” entity co-competing with Requirements to study proposals for new standards/investigate new areas from business & technology viewpoints


·       Break up à reduced capability to innovate

·       Parts of traditional areas are being lost – new areas are hard to exploit

  1. Client industries

·       WG 11 never had a “reference industry” à always sought to provide standards to client industries: 3GPP, ARIB, ATSC, BDA, CTA, DVB, ETSI, ITU-T/R, TTA

·       WG 11 has an array of industries following our lead


·       Proportion of client industry following our lead is shrinking

·       WG 11 is appreciated by many non-ISO industries, less by closer ones

·       In ISO you are considered for your level, in industry for what you are


·       Recover old client industries – acquire new client industries


·       Break up à weakened MPEG’s “emporium” image

·       Some industries abandon us not because our standards are best but because we cannot compete on other features

·       Consortia may build their own specs based on our building blocks rather than propose new work to WG 11

  1. Liaison/collaboration

·       WG 11 always sought collaborations with neighbouring fields: e.g. 3GPP, AES, IETF, ITU-T SG 16, Khronos, SCTE, SMPTE, VRIF, W3C

·       Ongoing collaborations: ITU-T SG 16, TC 276/WG 5

·       Earlier collaborations: ITU-T, TC 276,  WG 1, SC 24

·       Regular contacts with VCEG on many items of common interest

·       Broad scope offers more opportunities to collaborate and provide better standards


·       WG status reduces ability to deal with some other bodies authoritatively


·       More collaboration vital to the success of MPEG standards (e.g. SC 41, SC 42, OIF etc.)

·       Joint Working Groups for effective formal collaborations

·       More collaborations based on common interests, not on break-up


·       Less collaborations=less opportunities to develop good standards!

  1. Business model

·       Best standards that remunerate good IP

·       Royalties fund more good IP for future standards


·       Currently Business Model is weak because it has not been allowed to adapt

·       Resistance to changes even of limited scope


·       Extend Business Model retaining strength


·       We will become irrelevant if we stay exclusively with our outdated Business Model

  1. Brand

·       Developed industry agnostic and global digital media standards

·       Led media industry from analogue to digital

·       Gave industry opportunities of new business models

·       Enabled sustained expansion of the digital media industry

·       Highly appreciated by industry

·       Sustained production of new digital media standards

·       Imprinted even in consumer minds


·       A brand must be continuously cultivated

·       A strong brand may become just an icon if not supported by new facts and/or a reminder of importance lost


·       Can regain full industry confidence if EVC standard and licensing terms are successfully released

·       We can deliver both the old way (VVC) and the new way (EVC)


·       Failure of both EVC & VVC will be a fatal blow to MPEG brand

·       Break up à end of MPEG brand

·       Reduced scope à reduced value of brand