For the past two years, the IP Showcase has been the destination at industry trade shows for IP-related education and demonstrations. Mike Cronk looks back at the IP Showcase at IBC2018 and what it says about the future of standards-based IP infrastructure for real-time media applications.

IP promises to transform how broadcasters and other media companies use and access live video, audio, and data within production, playout and delivery workflows. The broadcast industry reached a crossroads when it faced the choice of pursuing a standards-based approach to IP or pursuing multiple alternatives and directions.

Mike Cronk

Mike Cronk

The industry chose the standards-based approach, uniting behind SMPTE ST 2110/ST 2059 and AES67. The result of this decision enables vendors and end users to focus on deployment and operational needs without the hurdle of technology chose and interoperability concerns.

Since IBC2016, the IP Showcase has been the harbinger of IP technology — the place people have gone during major industry trade shows to learn about the latest advancements on the road to all-IP infrastructure. As such, it has been instrumental in helping the industry to galvanise behind the standards-based approach to IP.

IBC2018 was the first IBC show since the publication of documents within the SMPTE ST 2110 Professional Media Over Managed IP Networks suite of standards, the foundational standards for essence-based transmission of video, audio, and metadata. Consequently, at this IP Showcase, we went from watching the progress of the early adopters to seeing how the industry as a whole is moving through the IP transition.

The sponsors — Audio Engineering Society (AES), Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), and Video Services Forum (VSF) — were able to give visitors a real sense of why they should be considering IP now.

In other words, IP Showcase visitors could clearly see what’s in it for them. It was the largest and best attended IP Showcase thus far, hosting nearly 2,000 visitors – twice as many as IBC2017 – a signal of increasing interest in adopting standards-based IP for real-time professional media applications.

With the SMPTE ST 2110 standards now firmly established and being successfully deployed, the industry has entered an era of IP-based interconnectivity, even for live productions.

IBC2018 saw new types of demonstrations and a new level of education, including a number of vendors displaying interoperability using the AMWA IS-04 and IS-05 specifications for automatic discovery and registration of devices in IP workflows. Such demonstrations showed strong industry progress toward a level of interoperability beyond the transport layer.

In terms of education, the IP Showcase Theatre highlighted the tremendous body of knowledge that is developing related to the transition from SDI to IP. Presenters spoke on what they’ve learned about deploying IP systems successfully and provided practical information such as how to configure one’s network for PTP. In the coming weeks, all of the IP Showcase Theatre presentations will be available online in PDF form and many of the presentations will also be available in video form.

While past IP Showcases focused on demonstrating interoperability, the IBC2018 IP Showcase was the first to focus on the tangible benefits of transitioning to IP-based media networks. Through interactive demonstrations, visitors could clearly see that SMPTE ST 2110-based IP networks make it possible to:

  • Build an infrastructure capable of handling any format.
  • Simplify device discovery, registration, and connection management.
  • Choose from a wide range of IP audio devices, with compatibility between AES67 and SMPTE ST 2110-30.
  • Choose from a host of interoperable equipment that can ensure system resiliency and protection from data loss.
  • Design deterministic IP systems with commercial-off-the-shelf IP switches.
  • Build an infrastructure that simplifies and reduces cabling.

Now, with the foundational protocols of the SMPTE ST 2110 suite well established, as we look to 2019, the IP Showcase partners are working together to craft future events which provide solid educational opportunities and introduce new standards and open specifications that enhance the scope and utility of IP based workflows. IP promises to transform more than just the transport layer.

With advances and common approaches to discovery, registration, channel grouping, tally, and reliable transport over the Internet, our industry will be able to build more agile, more flexible and more powerful systems, faster than ever before. We look forward to our continued collaboration with the industry as we work towards this goal.

Mike Cronk is Board Chair at Alliance for IP Media Solutions  (AIMS)