BEAVERTON, OR—AVnu Alliance headed to InfoComm 2015 with momentum building behind its open standards-based deterministic networking technologies, new leadership and an evolution of the ecosystem’s title. Proponents of AVB/TSN, combining the IEEE’s Audio Video Bridging standards with newer, backward- compatible Time Sensitive Networking enhancements, were slated for representation at InfoComm’s dedicated AVnu Alliance Pavilion and at individual member booths.
The alliance, an industry consortium promoting AVB/TSN through product and design certification, recently announced a new president and chairman at the inaugural conference on Time Sensitive Networking and Applications (TSNA) in Santa Clara, CA at the end of April. Gary Stuebing, manager of engineering, IoT standards/architecture at Cisco, was elected as the new AVnu Alliance president, and Kevin Stanton, senior principal engineer at Intel, was named AVnu Alliance chairman.
According to Patrick Prothe of Biamp Systems, the new AVnu Alliance pro AV segment chair, the realignment of the platform’s name just makes sense. “It’s the next evolution of AVB—AVB being focused on the pro audio industry. But TSN, Time Sensitive Networking, refers more to what it does and is more applicable to all four segments: pro AV, automotive, consumer electronics and industrial controls,” he explains.
“The key point is that this technology is becoming ubiquitous and useful across all of those [segments],” adds Intel’s Greg Schlechter, pro tem AVnu marketing workgroup chair. “By doing it in a foundational way, anything that needs to be real-timed and deterministic can utilize this foundation.”
Supporters within the broadcast industry have been promoting AVB/TSN as the inevitable ultimate networking solution. The highest profile broadcast installation to date is at ESPN’s new Digital Center 2 in Connecticut, which opened in June, 2014, where AVB replaced the plant’s previous MADI-based transport infrastructure. “It’s incredibly impressive what they’ve been able to do with AVB and the gains they got out of it, and how it affected their whole architecture,” says Schlechter, who has visited the facility.
“What I heard at [the] NAB [Show] was people beginning to realize the value” of a networking platform that combines both audio and video, he continues. “People are used to those being separate systems; once they realize they can combine them, it makes perfect sense.”
Adds Prothe, “The big promise is that it’s so scalable and essentially futureproof, wherever the technology goes.” The list of certified AVB switch and audio end points has been growing, including the recent addition of Meyer Sound CAL, the first ever AVnu-certified loudspeaker. Video product certification is expected to be in place later this year, according to Schlechter.
Certified AVB products being highlighted at InfoComm 2015 include Meyer Sound’s CAL, the Extreme Networks X440 switch and AudioScience’s Hono AVB Mini I/O interface. Products from Biamp Systems, Coveloz, Cisco, Intel, Pivitec, Riedel and Revolabs will also be present.
L-Acoustics will be making its first U.S. trade show appearance since announcing in April that it has joined the AVnu Alliance. Total membership of AVnu Alliance is now “85 to 90” manufacturers, says Schlechter. “It’s definitely gaining momentum,” says Prothe.
According to Genio Kronauer, head of the electronics department at L-Acoustics, “We believe in standards and interoperability, so IEEE’s AVB/ TSN standard, certified by the AVnu Alliance, is a natural choice for us. We believe that L-Acoustics’ high-end user-base will bring significant contributions to growing the AVB/TSN market in the professional domain.”
AVnu Alliance also planned to move forward with its AVB/TSN educational agenda at InfoComm 2015, including, for example, a presentation by Meyer Sound’s Jeff Koftinoff, “Deploying Large-Scale AVB Networks,” on Friday, June 19. “There’s going to be a series of educational presentations on the AVnu Alliance booth on a variety of AVB/TSN topics,” said Prothe in advance of Info- Comm. “There will be one covering the application of live sound, an installed audio application and Extreme Networks will be doing one on troubleshooting. Then, there will be a product showcase of a suite of products showcasing the AVB ecosystem.”
On the manufacturing and development side, says Schlechter, “A lot of people have been clamoring for AVB and a lot of them have been able to architect or use the reference designs.” Indeed, the catalog of reference designs has been expanding. Earlier this year, XMOS announced that its hardware and software audio endpoint reference platform had been AVnu certified. The platform is intended as an affordable, scalable and production-ready solution enabling XMOS customers to build a wide range of AVB-enabled audio products, from single speakers and microphones to complex multichannel mixing desks and multi-port conferencing systems.
“AVB standards have huge benefits for our customers; by selecting XMOS our customers can add the enhanced functionality that AVB provides and through software development quickly create a portfolio of AVB enabled products,” says Paul Neil, vice president product management, XMOS. “We chose to pursue AVnu certification to provide our customers fast time-to-market with a proven, flexible, scalable networked audio connectivity solution.”
Coveloz, Pivitec and UMAN are also among the developers that have introduced AVB reference designs, says Schlechter. “That promise of having many different types and price points for reference designs, if you want to incorporate AVB—that’s really starting to fill out.”