Founded in 2009, Argon Design is a technology consultancy providing innovative and technologically advanced solutions for a range of clients from start-ups to major multinational organisations. Based in the world renowned Cambridge cluster, Argon Design provides electronic and software design services, and also develops products and intellectual property that complement the consultancy business.
Argon Design won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category, in recognition of our innovative and industry leading Argon Streams product.
The growth in demand for high definition video for both TV transmissions and internet streaming has driven the development of ever more complex video codecs, such as HEVC/H.265 and VP9. These codecs provide higher levels of compression for the storage and transmission of video, but at the cost of higher complexity in both the encoder and decoder. Argon Streams is used to verify that the video decoders, required to play back such video content on mobile phones, computers and set top boxes, are fully compatible with these new standards.
Argon Streams are conformance test bit-streams providing full coverage and verification of HEVC/H.265 and VP9 video decoders. The bit-streams are derived directly from the video codec specifications using Argon Design’s advanced compiler technology. The compiler turns the written specification into software tools that can generate a set of bit-streams and then measure their coverage of the specification. The process uses directed random numbers to ensure that the set of bit-streams provides comprehensive coverage testing of all functions, values, ranges and cross coverage combinations in the specification; thereby covering the whole space of valid bit-stream parameters. Argon Streams is used by most of the world’s top semiconductor manufacturers and leading Semiconductor Intellectual Property companies.
Alan Scott, CEO of Argon Design, stated that “This Queen’s Award for Innovation is the crowning achievement of a hat-trick of recent awards for Argon Streams; complementing the BEEA New Product of the Year and the NMI Innovation of the Year awards, both won by Argon Streams in 2015”.
As an electronics and software consultancy, the Argon Design team has a record of successful and innovative product development across a range of markets. From mobile devices to financial trading systems, medical devices to multimedia chips, tele-presence to deep packet inspection – our innovative solutions have helped to create exciting products offering significant business advantages to our clients.
The Argon Streams product is part of a key focus area for our consultancy projects; embedded video, including the design of video encoders, decoders and mathematically complex image processing systems. Our team has world-class expertise in the development of hardware encoders and decoders for video standards such as H.264, H.265 and VP9 and in the application of machine learning to solve complex image processing challenges.
Argon Design is currently developing another novel product in the video area, Argon360, which is a hardware solution for stitching live video from multiple image sensors to create a 360° panorama view. This will allow both professional and consumer cameras to be developed which capture all-around video for stunning immersive experiences and applications where the video is ‘directed’ after it has been captured.
A further key focus area is High Performance Trading (HPT) where our experience of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), implementation of complex logic in hardware and high speed networking provides the perfect technical foundation for the development of ultra-low latency financial trading systems.