AIMS one year on: Macnica

IBC2016 Interop Zone with David Culley
John Burton, Marc Levy & Laura R
Opinion
November 15th 2016 at 12:36PM : By

Manica president John Burton, CTO Marc Levy, and director of business development Laura Richardson, give the VoIP perspective on the first year of the AIMS organisation

At Macnica, we're pleased to congratulate AIMS as it approaches its one-year anniversary. By any measure, AIMS has accomplished a tremendous amount in a very short time to raise the profile of live-contribution video-over-IP technologies. Much progress has been made in the drive to create open standards for IP video transport, but there’s still work to be done on the new ST2110 standards. (Note: ST2110 is based on the VSF Technical Recommendations TR 03 and 04. This standard is currently in draft form. AIMS doesn’t develop the standards – it is an industry body with a mission to promote open standards)

While many AIMS members are video equipment manufacturers, Macnica – a developer of intellectual property for video-over-IP transport – is coming at this from a slightly different angle. Macnica has a long history in high speed networking and Ethernet switching, and that history has given us insight into the challenges of migrating broadcast studios from dedicated cabling to IP-based infrastructure.

Macnica saw the inevitability of a transition from baseband SDI to IP as the primary means of moving uncompressed media streams throughout a broadcast studio and began developing intellectual property that leveraged our networking expertise. We have seen the VSF interoperability testing grow from four participants including Macnica in 2012, to well over 30 companies at the most recent interop event in August 2016. AIMS played a large role in driving up this participation. These interoperability events are an opportunity for companies to verify interoperability of their solutions and identify ambiguities or inefficiencies in the standards.

AIMS has adopted a ‘big tent’ strategy by bringing together as many companies as possible

Critical for broadcasters

We believe that well-defined standards for IP transport, with products proven to be compliant to those standards, are critical for broadcasters to take advantage of the flexibility offered by this challenging migration. AIMS is uniting key industry players together to enable this migration and has also united important industry organisations around a common goal.

As the standards solidify, the focus will shift to the underlying requirements for robustness in challenging real-world networks. For example, ST2022-7 (Hitless Diversity) is a key requirement for redundancy in the studio environment. During the August 2016 interop, a small subset of companies, including Macnica, participated in the ST2022-7 testing. We would like to see that number grow.

AIMS has adopted a “big tent” strategy by bringing together as many companies as possible to help move video-over-IP technologies forward – and this can only result in stronger and more open standards in the long run. Considering the number of manufacturers rushing to jump on the ST2110 bandwagon, AIMS has done an admirable job of uniting the industry. Additionally, planning is underway for a compliance testing program that will allow products to be certified as compliant by an independent third-party organisation. Macnica is involved in the working group to structure this program.

So what’s our net impression of AIMS’s first year? Great progress, with the foundation laid for a bright future. We look forward to seeing the industry adopt a comprehensive, flexible, scalable, and interoperable set of standards. For our part, Macnica remains committed to supporting these standards and bringing quality products to the industry.