Audio Networking Achieves Critical Scale as Latest Statistics on Adoption Reveal

March 6 2020, 00:15
Now in its 7th year of reporting, audio consultancy RH Consulting has released its latest ‘state of the union’ on networked audio products. Recognized across the AV and Broadcast industries as the benchmark for tracking trends in networked audio, the report details the latest statistics on adoption of networked audio products, covering Dante, Ravenna, AVB, Milan and other protocols. Increasing adoption of the AES67 interoperability standard is a notable trend.

In this latest report by RH Consulting, the number of products on the market exceeds 2,600 for the first time and there are now 319 manufacturers selling products with audio-over-IP capabilities. And that number is going up all the time, with just over a 20% increase in products since RH Consulting last
published the research in mid-2018. "This equates to more than one new networked product coming onto the market each working day," notes Roland Hemming, audio consultant, project manager and principal at RH Consulting.

“The report shows that the growth of networked audio products continues apace. Significantly, it also highlights a 50% increase in AES67 compatibility, driven by the two leading protocols, Dante and Ravenna. AES67 is the interoperability standard for audio-over-IP published in 2013.

On the report's Products per Protocol analysis it notes that 319 manufacturers ship networked audio products, a 25% increase in 18 months. That’s almost one manufacturer a week joining the networked audio club. Also, some manufacturers ship more networked product SKUs than others, with German broadcast manufacturer Lawo leading the way with 76 networked audio products, narrowly beating Yamaha with 75.

The report was also forced to adapt to the market evolution since the previous edition. RH Consulting is no longer following the still-in-use but no longer commercially relevant CobraNet legacy protocol, while the introduction of the Milan protocol within the AVB offerings was now added as a separate category. Still, as Roland Hemming notes "we have separated out products that are specifically AVB Milan compliant, from other AVB products that are not compatible with Milan."

The new report also focus the main protocols "that are open to multiple manufacturers," no longer including QSC's Q-Lan as a separate protocol, and identifying Wheatnet, which is currently used by only one manufacturer but is "theoretically open to be used by others." Q-Sys devices are now included in the Dante and AES67 compatible product count.

"AES67 adoption has grown 50% in 18 months to 1459 products - that’s 65% of all networked audio products and that’s likely to be a conservative number," Hemming reports. "Of the 1459 products that are AES67 compatible, 85% (1,237 products) are Dante. The other 222 AES67 products are either Ravenna, Livewire+, Wheatnet and a few ‘native’ AES67 products. AES67 compliance is difficult to count as it isn’t entirely clear how many Dante manufacturers have updated their products. To be sure, we’ve only counted those that are Dante Domain Manager (DDM) compliant, but its possible that others have upgraded to AES67, without going as far as the DDM upgrade." Hemming also confesses that the new report was still not able to confirm how many products are currently ST2110 compliant, which is currently the main focus among most manufacturers.

"Compiling the report is always a fascinating exercise as it provides empirical data on the adoption of networked audio, which can only be of benefit to anyone involved. Clearly, the advent of AES67 has had a big impact on adoption – as it was intended to do – and ST2110 will probably have a similar effect, although we don’t have enough data on that yet.”
The full report is now available here.
related items