OCA Alliance Promoted Open Control Architecture/AES70 Standard at ISE 2016

February 15 2016, 03:10
The OCA Alliance has successfully promoted the new Open Control Architecture (OCA) AES70 standard  at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2016 show in Amsterdam. The association promoted a display of the latest developments and introduced the OCA MicroDemo development platform to other manufacturers and system integrators. PC-based Control Specialist Beckhoff also announced OCA (AES70) integration at ISE 2016.
The OCA Alliance exhibited for the first time at ISE 2016, leveraging the momentum created with the recent announcement of the technology standardization as AES70.
The new Open Control Architecture (OCA), an open control and monitoring standard for professional audio and AV media network devices – has been officially standardized on January 2016 by the Audio Engineering Society Standards Committee (AESSC) in the newly published AES70-2015 standard for audio applications of networks - Open Control Architecture. 

With the ratification of OCA as AES70, now an officially an open standard, the OCA Alliance – a not-for-profit association - is focused on mobilizing professional audio and AV industry manufacturers to invest in expanding the possibilities of audio networking, leveraging the benefits of a common media networking system control technology for professional applications, complementing existing audio network protocols and solutions, including the new AES67 audio interoperability standard.

The message at ISE 2016 highlighted how the standard has already seen successful implementation in the field on commercially available products from alliance member companies. Combining AES70 system control with standard media transport will bring a complete media network solution to the market, one in which devices from diverse manufacturers can readily interoperate. In particular, AES70 includes a complete Discovery specification which will compliment media transport standards and solutions such as AES67.

However, AES70 may be implemented with any media transport mechanism, including Dante, Cobranet, AVB/TSN and analog cable. Speaking for the OCA Alliance, Jeff Berryman, chair of the OCA Technical Workgroup and the AES writing group for AES70 says, “The availability of an interoperable control, configuration, monitoring, and diagnostic architecture for media networks will provide new opportunities for highly integrated systems. Such systems will be able to exchange control data and information in ways previously not possible.” More information about the new OCA / AES70 standard can be found here.
The open source OCA MicroDemo board features a ST Microelectronics STM32F215VET6 102MHz Cortex M3 processor running FreeRTOS, includes IwIP stack and tinysvcmdns DNS-SD. The board includes Ethernet 10/100, USB 2.0, 8 switches and corresponding status LEDs, 2 shaft encoders, 8 bargraph indicators, two state LEDs, 2 rotary shaft encoders, and two isolated relay outputs.
ISE 2016 was a particularly important forum for different manufacturers and system integrators to learn more about the possibilities of a compatible remote control and monitoring language over commodity Ethernet networking hardware or even via standard 802.11 Wi-Fi. OCA is available free of charge to designers to implement with their own and third party network devices, as they require. From a single device and controller to networks with almost any number of devices and multiple controllers, OCA/AES70 provides a powerful, high speed, low cost, robust system control and monitoring of devices from different manufacturers. 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.   

Mike Sims of Attero Tech and Jeff Berryman,
Chair of the OCA Alliance Technical Workgroup,
during the OCA MicroDemo presentation
at the ISE Audio Solutions Theatre.
OCA Alliance at ISE
Exhibiting for the first time at ISE 2016, the OCA Alliance promoted a display of the latest developments with the direct support of alliance members from multiple manufacturers and media network experts. A live demonstration on the stand included products from multiple manufacturers (including Bosch, d&b audiotechnik, Focusrite and others) operating with different network transport platforms under a single interoperable control system, and demonstrating the multi-controller benefits of OCA; with control simultaneously available from OCA hardware, an iPad app and Chrome browser-based GUI.

Also being demonstrated was the OCA MicroDemo board, a new compact and lightweight reference design and the first fully-featured OCA implementation to illustrate how efficiently OCA can be implemented in even the smallest devices, such as wall controllers and hardware designs where software and hardware resources are limited.

Another important moment was the presentation of the OCA MicroDemo at the ISE Audio Solutions Theatre, lead by Jeff Berryman of Bosch Communications (Chair of the OCA Alliance Technical Workgroup) and Mike Sims of Attero Tech. The presentation featured a complete description of the OCA MicroDemo hardware reference platform and firmware stack, co-developed by Bosch, Focusrite, and Attero Tech. Target applications for the MicroDemo stack were outlined, with an explanation of how the OCA Alliance plans to make the MicroDemo hardware design and firmware stack available to interested manufacturers.

Explaining the initiatives, Ethan Wetzell, Platform Strategist at Bosch Communications and OCA Alliance member, said, “OCA was always intended to be a technology that could address the requirement to scale upwards in order to deal with the kinds of massive system control applications that other available technologies simply could not address. However, it was equally important to design the architecture in a way that could simultaneously be implemented in compact and resource-constrained hardware. This is critical to implementation in devices such as wall controllers and other edge devices that are key components of an OCA ecosystem. The OCA MicroDemo demonstrates this wonderfully and compliments the other products on demonstration, to illustrate just how flexible OCA can be in both function and implementation.”

Beckhoff Introduces OCA (AES70) Integration
During ISE 2016, PC-based control technology specialist Beckhoff, also exhibited its versatile product portfolio and range of automation solutions. The company’s interfaces, supporting multiple protocols for media and building services, were shown at ISE now with added support for Open Control Architecture (OCA).
With the recently introduced support for OCA (Open Control Architecture), Beckhoff is expanding its expertise in the area of media technology.

Beckhoff implements open automation systems based on PC Control technology. The product range covers Industrial PCs, I/O and Fieldbus components, Drive Technology and automation software. Products that can be used as separate components or integrated into a complete and seamless control system, available for all industries, from CNC-controlled machine tools to intelligent building automation to stage and media technology.

Beckhoff’s scalable automation platform now adds OCA/AES70 support to other interfaces such as DMX, SMPTE TimeCode, Crestron, Bang & Olufsen, Art-Net and Streaming ACN (sACN). As
Michel Matuschke, Vertical Market Manager Stage and Show Technology at Beckhoff, explained, ”The OCA implementation went very smoothly. We like the high technical quality of the standard and the ease of implementation. Our modular system is now even more flexible as a result and also allows remote control and operation of professional audio systems, as well as the integration of our over 400 types of signals into the OCA world.”

Speaking for the OCA Alliance, chair of the Marketing Workgroup, Marc Weber adds, “As a market leader in the automation and building sector, Beckhoff has created a global control protocol standard in that market with its EtherCAT Ethernet-based fieldbus system. The OCA implementation now opens up this vast interoperability within the media and entertainment sector, with the ease of integration and reliability of Beckhoff control technology. This represents a further major milestone towards making the vision of OCA (AES70) reality.”

Current members of the OCA Alliance are Atlas Sound, LP/Innovative Electronic Designs, Attero Tech, Bittner Audio, Bosch Communications Systems, d&b audiotechnik, Focusrite, Harman Professional Group, LOUD Technologies, Rational Acoustics, RCF, Salzbrenner Stagetec Mediagroup, TC Group, THAT Corporation, and Yamaha Commercial Audio.
www.aes.org | www.oca-alliance.com
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