AIMS one year on: Harmonic
by Andy Warman, AIMS marketing working group chair and director of product line management, servers and storage at Harmonic
When we think about marketing it conjures up images of organisations promoting products and services, and the process by which they bring them to market. It is almost always a competitive activity with vendors looking to win mindshare of customers. AIMS was founded by members that would otherwise be competitors, so it is tempting to think that this would create a difficult environment for the marketing activities of the AIMS Marketing Working Group, which is responsible for the outbound messaging of AIMS.
AIMS marketing efforts, “to foster the adoption of industry standards for the broadcast and media industry as it transitions from SDI to IP”, have enjoyed great success, with membership well in excess of 50 vendors and end users, phenomenal attendance at AIMS interoperability demos and events at NAB and IBC 2016 with customers asking vendors for AIMS compatible products. None of this would have been possible without cooperation from members in both the AIMS Technical and Marketing working groups.
Being part of the AIMS marketing team, and seeing the market respond to the AIMS initiatives has been both rewarding and enlightening. As the Marketing working group chair, I have had the privilege to work with many of the industry’s marketing and product management leaders. Everyone involved volunteers their time, because we believe the AIMS approach is the preferred approach to IP interoperability as laid out by the AIMS roadmap.
AIMS marketing efforts started with representatives from 12 member organisations, a desire to make the AIMS roadmap the defacto standard for IP-based production and playout workflows, and NAB 2016 less than three months away. By the time NAB arrived there were 32 members and a huge amount of momentum behind interoperability demos, not only at the central booth showcasing 16 members hosted by Arista, but at 20 other member booths spread throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center. AIMS even had a booth, manned by AIMS members taking turns to make sure there was always an expert available to answer questions.
Membership continued to grow, with one or two organisations joining each week
A landmark IBC
The build up to IBC2016 allowed us to reach to new heights. Membership continued to grow, with one or two organisations joining each week and a great deal of press activity as the numbers increased. Since interoperability is so important to IP workflows being plug and play, AIMS worked in conjunction with AES, AMWA, EBU, IABM, IBC, SMPTE and VSF on the IP Interoperability Zone.
Co-located with IBC TV, an all IP production system used to create programming during the IBC show, it provided an ideal setting for interoperability demos that encompassed IP transport of SMPTE ST 2022-6, VSF TR-04 and TR-03 (the basis for SMPTE 2110, which is currently in draft) video and audio between devices, PTP timing showing how synchronisation can be achieved in a network environment, and discovery and registration, which demonstrated how to find and connect to IP enabled devices on a network. Over 30 vendors took part in this landmark event. And members reported great responses to interoperability demonstrations on their own booths.
AIMS marketing efforts are not just centred around membership, interoperability demos and trade shows. The focus now is on how to enable adoption, and let the industry better understand the technologies and ways in which real world systems can be deployed. The media and entertainment industry’s response to AIMS has been exceptional. We anticipate many great things in the future as IP becomes more pervasive and replaces workflows that were once dependent on SDI.