IP Showcase Unveils Business, Creative Benefits

Mike Cronk (left) and Peter White (right)

Already the long-established networking standard in the IT world, IP is about to become mainstream in broadcasting, studio production and OB vans, where it stands ready to drive a transition of facility backbones from dedicated hardware and video/ audio infrastructures to IP-based real-time production.

The new IP Showcase, located in the North Hall, will feature more than 30 television production equipment vendors, many of them well-known names, who will be showing upwards of 60 IP-based products.

Also within that showcase space will be presentations in the IP Showcase Theater. These will be split between primers of a more technical bent for the engineers, and other real-world presentations on the business and creative benefits of IP systems.

“I have papers lined up with system integrators discussing practical end-user applications of IP,” said IABM Chief Technical Officer Stan Moote, producer of IABM Theater Presentations at IP Showcase. “On a technical track, we have presentations that are teaching people about setting up an IP backbone.”

The showcase product demonstrations and presentations are not tailored as sales pitches. Instead, they are dedicated to educating and energizing show visitors on the whys and wherefores of IP.

The timing of NAB Show’s first-ever IP Showcase could hardly be better. An alphabet soup of standards bodies has come together to drive IP interoperability, with SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) draft standard ST 2110 and AMWA IS-04 at its core.

“SMPTE standards work has supported more than a century of advances in motion picture and TV technology, and we are proud to be a part of the next generation of media standards that support the industry’s migration to ‘All IP,’” said Matthew Goldman, SMPTE president. “We are delighted that the industry is embracing the SMPTE suite of standards for Professional Media Over IP Networks, SMPTE ST 2110.”

“It’s really historic and unprecedented, the amount of effort being put into developing the standards and specifications to support this transition,” said Brad Gilmer, executive director of the IP Showcase and AMWA. “I’ve never seen anything like it in the industry.”

Grass Valley’s Mike Cronk, chairman of the Board of the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), echoed Gilmer’s observation. “I’ve been in the industry 20 years and I haven’t seen this level of cooperation across multiple organizations and vendors in the industry, and broadcasters working on a common set of standards for interoperability.”

This interoperability brings advantages for both vendors and customers. For the vendors, it means, for example, that if Company 1 makes an IP standards-compliant camera, they can be assured that it will work with Company 2’s IP standards-compliant switcher. This means that customers are free to choose “best of breed” solutions for their facilities. It doesn’t take a long memory to remember when the only way to assure that kind of interoperability was to buy a system populated with devices from a single vendor.

“In recent years, our research has shown that 80 percent of end users want to buy best of breed from multiple vendors — not an end-to-end solution from one,” said Peter White, IABM CEO. “They also want to be sure all these products work together seamlessly. This historic initiative shows our members have listened to their customers.”

There have been many billions of dollars of research and development by the computer industry over dozens of years, which has not been lost on those bringing IP infrastructures to the real-time video world. Gilmer said that as the Joint Taskforce on Network Media began to work on the standards, “we set as a precondition to any of the work that there would be absolutely no new invention unless our industry specifically required it.

“And the significance of that is, if there are existing standards or best practices that we can use, then we absolutely should do that.” There are many components of an IP networking system that can be purchased at commodity prices rather than having to buy video-optimized devices at premium prices.

Sessions are planned through Thursday at noon.