Today, users must choose between using unsecured wireless transmissions that draw down batteries just to prevent eavesdropping on video streams. The new selective encryption technique could cut battery usage, claims Wei Wang, engineering professor at South Dakota State University in Brookings who headed a five university research team.
"We want to achieve good quality and strong security with limited battery and limited computing power," said Wang.
By dissecting the content of streaming video files, the researchers identified those elements that require detailed rendering and separated them from those requiring less resolution without affecting the overall video. The encryption routines then dedicate more resources to the encryption of important elements, while using faster encryption routines for the elements that can get by with less fidelity. The result is less energy used to encode and decode streaming video.
Wang’s team has demonstrated that single image files can be dissected to discern those areas that need detailed rendering and those that don’t require strong encryption. For instance, a scanned bank check requires high-fidelity for rendering its numbers and amounts, but weak encryption is sufficient for solid color.
The researcher hope to convince industry to adopt their technique of use in adjusting encryption accuracy on the fly to reduce power consumption in mobile devices.
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