AES and OCA Alliance Join Forces on Open Standard Media Control Protocol

October 8 2014, 08:00
The AES and OCA Alliance will be working together at the forthcoming 137th AES Convention in Los Angeles towards the ratification of the alliance’s proposed Open Control Architecture as an AES public standard. At the same time, the alliance will be exhibiting on the exhibition floor (booth 1152), explaining and demonstrating the benefits of the OCA standards-based control and monitoring architecture, with a live demonstration of control and monitoring across networked audio devices from different manufacturers.

OCA defines communications protocols for reliable and secure control and monitoring of AV device networks of 2 to 10,000 nodes. AES project “AES-X210” is currently working to render OCA into a ratified AES standard. At the convention - October 9-12 at the Los Angeles Convention Center - alliance members will be participating in panel discussions to increase the understanding of the benefits and impact of the upcoming AES standard for manufacturers, designers, specifiers and end-users; on Saturday 11 October, from 14:00 to 15:00, OCA representative Ethan Wetzell will present Networked Audio: N11 - How Standardization has Benefited Our Industry and How a Command and Control Standard Can Generate Growth and Innovation. 

The live product demonstration on the OCA Alliance booth will comprise three products, from alliance member manufacturers, interconnected by a common Ethernet and under common control and monitoring by the OCA protocol. The Focusrite RedNet 4 with Ethernet networked studio interface, the Bosch Audio Processing Switch (APS) and the d&b audiotechnik D80 amplifier will be controlled by a proof-of-concept OCA software application, developed by alliance members. With common control and monitoring of parameters on all three devices, the demonstration will illustrate the real-world benefits of the standards-based Open Control Architecture.

Of these products, the d&b audiotechnik D80 amplifier is already commercially available with OCA built in. It was deployed, using OCA control and monitoring, by UK sound production company Skan on The Other Stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, and by Eighth Day Sound on several recent major concert tours, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z On the Run tour, Lady Gaga, Eminem and Rihanna The Monster Tour, One Direction, Kings of Leon and The Black Keys. The reaction to the OCA functionality has been extremely enthusiastic and fully positive. In the coming months more products incorporating OCA will become commercially available from OCA Alliance member companies.

Jeff Berryman (pictured), the OCA Alliance’s technical workgroup chair, states: “The equipment is interoperating as expected. I am pleased to report that, both in demonstration and also in the field, Open Control Architecture is proving to be a major success. The next step is for the AES to complete its process of ratification of OCA 1.3 as a public standard."
OCA (Open Control Architecture) is an open control and monitoring standard for professional audio and AV media network devices. From a single device and controller to networks with almost any number of devices and multiple controllers, OCA provides for powerful, high speed, low cost, robust system control and monitoring of devices from different manufacturers. 

OCA can be used in conjunction with any available transport protocol (Dante, AVB, AES67, Cobranet, etc.). Offering interoperability across different media transports and manufacturers’ devices, it enables whole new levels of complex system integration and options as to how and where network devices can be deployed. The architecture operates on commodity Ethernet networking hardware or via standard 802.11 Wi-Fi. 

Control functionality allows system professionals to change and monitor all operating parameters of a network device, including the creation and deletion of signal paths, parameter adjustments for signal processing objects, network device firmware updates and management of access control. Control can also be limited to provide simpler ‘operator’ functionality; for instance, providing just level, mute, power on/off and fault indication. 

OCA is not itself a media transport, or a means of programming a network device or system control, or generating a user interface. OCA is available free of charge to manufactures, system integrators and designers, to implement with their own and third party network devices, as they require. 

The OCA Alliance is a non-profit corporation formed to secure the standardization of the Open Control Architecture (OCA) as a media networking system control standard for professional applications. The OCA Alliance’s purpose is to actively promote the adoption and standardization of Open Control Architecture (OCA) as a media networking system control standard through marketing, education and training, and to develop future standards and other documents, that augment, enhance or extend the primary OCA standard, for the purposes of enabling and promoting increased interoperability and reliability, for a variety of transport standards. The current members of the alliance are Attero Tech, Audinate, Bittner Audio, Bosch Communications Systems, d&b audiotechnik, Focusrite, Harman Professional Group, LOUD Technologies Inc., PreSonus, RCF, Salzbrenner Stagetec Mediagroup, TC Group and Yamaha Commercial Audio.
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