AV management and AVoverIP: Where are the developments leading?

Besides UCC, also the topics AV management and AVoverIP were also strongly represented at ISE. Here, too, there were no major leaps in development, but rather a steady development of existing solutions.

AV management systems: Big Data for AV

All in all, this year we have seen again that the importance of AV management systems is increasing. The systems become more open, also towards third party hardware using standard protocols like IP, SNMP etc. or well documented APIs. The collection of operational data for later evaluation is becoming increasingly important. Three major directions were discernible in the further developments.

  • Add-On to the own product: Like last year, there were some manufacturers who offered a management system for monitoring and managing their own products. In most cases, the commissioning for own devices and updates is possible. It is also possible to evaluate how your own devices are used, how often they are in operation, etc.
  • Genuine management systems through which hardware from several manufacturers can be managed: This group includes software vendors who do not develop hardware themselves, such as AVI-SPL and Utelogy, and hardware vendors who open their management systems to third-party devices, such as Crestron with XiO Cloud (though so far without a release date for this feature). The idea behind it makes sense: On the way to the Smart Building, AV management systems are the interface between AV and room management (although there is still a long way to go).
  • In terms of managed services, an interesting development here is that of Barco. The Belgians have introduced a number of features for their AVM Overture as well as their own licensing model, which is intended to address service providers rather than end customers.
  • The third group includes hardware manufacturers who cooperate with IT-based management software providers for a management solution. These include Avocor and NEC, who work with UC Workspace. For example, Crestron cooperates with the IT software provider Domotz for its residential area.

Throughout, one could see that the control function in the sense of media control takes a back seat to the monitoring function. Management, monitoring and collection of usage data are becoming increasingly important. However, the question of what to do with the data obtained from monitoring often remains open. In part, of course, the end customers have to answer this question. They have to decide, or in some cases even find out in the first place, how the monitoring data should be incorporated into their own processes. But the technical side of this question concerns the manufacturers. This is about evaluation possibilities, export functions, sensible file formats for the extracted data and interfaces. The native coupling with bi-tools already available in the companies will play a decisive role.

When it comes to the question: cloud or not cloud, we have the impression that the development towards cloud use is spreading further without finally catching on. Practically every manufacturer is developing a cloud solution, sometimes already more mature but sometimes still in its infancy. As a rule, on-premise solutions are (still) offered in parallel, also in order to address customers with strong rejection of the cloud, which is still the predominant case in Europe. Possible alternatives for the future are of course private clouds.

AVoverIP: the colourful bouquet of solutions remains

UCC und Smart Meeting im Meetingraum

When it comes to AVoverIP, manufacturers continue to rely on the three major standards:

  • Audio-Video-Bridging (AVB) with its open standard based on IEEE 802.xxx. One of the big representatives here is biamp.
  • 1 GBit bandwidth with the compression standards Jpeg 2000 and H.264, which transmit audio and video data very bandwidth-effectively, for example the manufacturer Crestron
  • SDVoE-Alliance with 10 GBit-Bandwidth, ideal for highest quality and compression-free transmission for example the manufacturers IDK, Lightware, VuWall etc.

In addition, HDBaseT and proprietary AVoverIP systems (e.g. from IHSE or Barco) continue to exist in parallel. In addition, the manufacturer Audinate has presented an SDK kit for DANTE-Video. This is very interesting because Dante was previously only suitable for the transmission of audio, but had created a quasi-standard here due to its wide distribution, especially in the event sector. The first prototypes for Dante with video are expected by InfoComm 2020 in June. It remains to be seen which manufacturers from the audio sector will jump on this bandwagon.

Current developments:

  • SDVoE with its 10GBit standard is becoming increasingly widespread. For example, during the ISE 2020 the 50th member of the alliance was announced.
  • Due to the increasing market diffusion of AVoverIP, the components become somewhat cheaper. This is especially true for the SDVoE alliance.
  • With its Enterprise Virtual Matrix, Barco has a system that uses two transmitters and two receivers and can therefore transmit up to 20 GBit audio-video. The manufacturer thus promises compression-free transmission of 4K and 8K signals or even higher resolutions. However, the system was not shown at the ISE.
  • Also of interest was the manufacturer ZeeVee, also one of the founders of the SDVoE alliance. He presented solutions with different bandwidths for different applications. A 10 GBit bandwidth is possible for real-time communication with highest image quality, but smaller bandwidths with H.264 or JPEG2000 compression are also available for digital signage applications. The exciting thing is that all variants can be controlled via a central management system.
  • One difficulty is still the interoperability between several manufacturers. The lowest common denominator between the systems is the TMDS interface standard. This is the basis on which all scalers work and is used as the basis for interoperability. This means that interoperability is always achieved by decoding and re-encoding using additional hardware. This is cumbersome and expensive because additional hardware is required. This also increases latency.
  • Latency and live operation: Low-latency systems enable real-time communication and live operation. The problem with streaming based systems is that current signal-processing systems or content systems do not really support streaming and therefore the latencies of the overall systems are still too high for a real live operation. A possible combination of SDVoE in the area of signal transmission and content processing could be a possible solution.

The agony of choice: When is which system more sensible?

Users must first think about what should be done. For example, how large should the system be? If latency-free audio-video transmission with the highest image and colour quality is required, 10 GBit systems are mandatory. If latency-free transmission between several buildings should be possible, AVB is a good choice (especially if audio quality is important), while SDVoE is more appropriate within a building. For applications where latency is not an issue, 1 GBit systems are the more cost-effective option.

Next week we will continue with our third ISE Trends-Blog. You want to be always up to date about our new blog posts? Then follow our social media channels.

See you next week,

Your Martin C. Wagner

Head of Marketing, macomGROUP

macom experts at ISE 2020 were:
Jens Martin, AV Senior Consultant and AV management expert macomGROUP
Mario Margonari, AV Senior Consultant and AVoverIP expert macomGROUP



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