One of the multiple media events lost to Covid-19 was the Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM) group’s five-day face-to-face in Houston, where vendor participants were due to complete the third IP-focussed Tested event.
The Joint Task Force on Networked Media serves as a self-coordinating group of industry bodies working together on the development of IP technologies for professional media.
The key investigation areas – NMOS registries and controllers, cybersecurity, the umbrella technical spec TR-10001-1, as well as ST 2110-31 – required a very rapid switch to a virtual workshop environment. A second problem was that a planned PICS-driven self-certification model was not ready to use by vendors.
The main Tested programme organiser Ievgen Kostiukevych, said: “The biggest urgency was to at least try providing a fixed similar value for the participants. We distributed results spreadsheets and asked each vendor to self-test. They had to fill in the sheets, submit the results from the automated tools, and provide the stream captures for the 2110 testing. They uploaded everything to an FTP site.”
Kostiukevych, the EBU’s senior IP media technical architect, is one of five members of the new neutrality assured JT-NM Test Board. His colleagues are Willem Vermost of VRT, who was testing lead for ST-2110-31; Andrew Bonney from BBC R&D, who was testing lead for NMOS registries/TR-10001-1; Felix Poulin of CBC Radio Canada, who was testing lead for NMOS controllers; and Gerben Dierick of VRT, who was testing lead for cybersecurity.
The big challenge came with NMOS controllers, because there were no automated tools.
“We asked CBC Radio Canada to come up with the test plan and procedures for the controllers, and execute this plan against participant products remotely,” said Kostiukevych. “We established a global VPN where the participants and controllers were able to connect to a central point. The challenge was that we didn’t know exactly how the vendors were executing the tests.
“We were not able to audit the results and were only able to rely on things sent via the FTP server,” he added. “Given the very short time, we had to create a virtual remote event. We were not able to fully prepare the infrastructure for full-blown remote testing.”
The messaging going out with the program output tells the precise tale. “This testing round, for the first time, we will be giving out full JT-NM Tested badges for NMOS controller products,” Kostiukevych said. “We will also be giving out two new badges entitled ‘self-tested in accordance’ that relate to SMPTE 2110, AMWA NMOS and TR-10001-1. These badges will only be provided to vendors that followed the proper procedures.
“Cybersecurity was done in parallel. There was no dedicated badge, but we did have a test plan roughly based on EBU recommendation R 148, adapted to JT-NM realities,” he added. “Cybersecurity question returns were a mandatory requisite for even entering the program, and there will be a report.”