OCA Alliance Demonstrates Increasing Pace of AES67 / AES70 Development Worldwide

March 23 2018, 04:00
Promoting the AES70 open network media device control standard – aka Open Control Architecture  (OCA), the ecosystem of products and technologies that support the AES70 open network control standard – OCA Alliance member companies presented live demonstrations of development tools and proof of concept solutions at the Integrated Systems Europe 2018 show. Development tools and proof of concept implementations from OCA Alliance members across three continents includes single chip solutions.
DeusO FREQMATER OCA multiple device controller GUI.

At a show with the technological scope of the ISE, the smaller booths can be the ones showing the most significant future developments in AV. This year the OCA Alliance booth merited that distinction. As previously reported by audioXpress, OCA Alliance demonstrations highlighted the accelerating pace of development and implementation of AES70, previewing a new era of integrated AV system control for system integrators, designers and end users alike.

Two major underlying themes of the demonstrations were the power of integrated AES67 / AES70 solutions and the rapidly diminishing scale of such solutions; in some instances down to single chips.

All equipment from the various manufacturers was controlled by AES70. Common AES70 controllers were used to set up audio connections and to control device functions in various ways. These controllers were developed by the equipment manufacturers and by control software companies. “In setting up the booth demonstrations, we encountered very few AES70 interoperability issues, and these were rapidly resolved, with everything up and running in about an hour,” says Ethan Wetzell, marketing committee chair for the alliance.

DeusO (deuso.de), a company whose vision is to "unify the user experience", has been working extensively on web-based, user interface frameworks and multi-device control solutions using OCA. These are tools that have enabled DeusO to deliver user-centric system enhancements for several high profile professional-audio industry clients.

DeusO presented a multi-device OCA control demonstration, aptly named FreqMaster. At the heart of FreqMaster is a web-based controller, built on DeusO’s OCA.js, an open-source JavaScript OCA controller library. In the demonstration, FreqMaster used AES70 to control a PC-based signal processing program with two functions; that of a typical audio mastering processor and of a multi-way loudspeaker drive system. The signal processing program combined five open-source DSP plugins with DeusO’s AES70 device library, to make a complete AES70-controllable PC-based signal processor.

Matt Hardy, DeusO Business Development Manager, explains, “Using AES70 to bring many different kinds of devices and applications under a unifying control solution will be game-changing for future workflow-focused systems.”
Archwave’s, FITCAN’s and Your Audio Systems’ live demonstrations ran on the same LAN with common AES70 controllers to set up audio connections and control device functionality.
Suzhou FITCAN Technology Co. LTD (fitcan.cn) is a new and leading Chinese member of the alliance (having joined in September 2017). FITCAN is a major manufacturer for China’s broadcast industry. Recently, FITCAN has been rapidly developing AES67 / AES70 based integrated signal and control solutions. AES67 is already ratified as an official Chinese national radio interoperability standard GY/T 304 and the process is underway to similarly ratify AES70.

FITCAN’s OCA Alliance booth representatives, led by Technical Director Chen Wu, demonstrated an AES67 / AES70 based 24 channel mixer; “Previously a device of this type would have required many more protocols,” explained Mr. Wu. The FITCAN team also demonstrated an AES67 / AES70 powered loudspeaker solution, a single-chip AES67 / AES70 audio router – combining communications and DSP capabilities – and showed a number of prototype OEM plug-in solutions, integrating the two open network standards.

Newly founded Your Audio Systems GmbH (youraudiosystems.com), – the latest OCA Alliance member company – demonstrated ORCHESTRA, a Linux based platform for building AES67 / AES70 professional audio devices, along with COMO 200, a family of ARM based System on Chip Modules for embedded network audio applications. Together, ORCHESTRA and COMO 200 comprise a modular platform for building cost-optimized Linux based professional AES67 / AES70 network audio products.

Your Audio Systems CEO and founder Petr Kulhavy explained, “Based on the Freescale iMX6 CPU COMO 200 running Linux, ORCHESTRA is a complete end point, network-in, audio-out solution. Extremely low latency, sample-accurate synchronization, multi-platform support and interoperability, make ORCHESTRA an efficient, cost-effective replacement for hardware based AES67 decoders, which offers the possibility of retrofitting existing devices with AES70 – and additional AES67 – functionality.”

Archwave (archwave.net) demonstrated AudioLAN 2.0, an integrable AES67 / AES70 solution. AudioLAN 2.0 provides a unified technology platform, offering AES67 Ravenna and Dante audio transport, AES70 discovery and connection management, and AES70 device control of the audio channels. This powerful AES67 / AES70 integrated solution provides new and unique benefits, with users able to view their entire audio system, send commands from controller to device, and pass audio to anywhere in a network.

Speaking at the end of a hugely successful ISE show, Chair of the OCA Alliance Technical Working Group, Jeff Berryman, stated, “Throughout the show this year, real application functions are appearing ‘above the waves. I think that we can now predict that, within 12 months, there is going to be enough AES70 enabled product to take the message to the user community; to integrators, system designers and the end users.”

About AES70
AES70 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, AES70 provides for powerful, high speed, low cost, robust system control and monitoring of devices from different manufacturers. 

AES70 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. 

AES70 is the standard upon which the Open Control Architecture ecosystem of devices, software, development tools, and technical resources is based. AES70 is not itself a media transport, or a means of programming a network device or system control, or generating a user interface. AES70 is available free of charge to manufactures, system integrators and designers, to implement with their own and third party network devices, as they require. 

OCA Alliance is a non-profit corporation formed to promote the AES70 standard and Open Control Architecture (OCA) ecosystem, as a control solution for professional media networking applications. The OCA Alliance’s purpose is to actively promote the development and adoption of the OCA ecosystem of hardware, software, and developer tools that support the AES70 standard.
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