NAB 2016

SVG@NAB Perspectives: Cronk, Hilmer, Reynolds Report on AIMS Strategy

The global standardization effort toward interoperable live IP-based video production is shaping up as perhaps the biggest talking point at NAB 2016. There is increasing pressure to move from baseband video to the flexibility of IP-based production, but plenty of issues need to be overcome to allow a smooth transition. At the show, the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) took the time at its inaugural meeting to lay out a roadmap for the future.

AIMS logoAIMS is a non-profit trade alliance that promotes the open non-proprietary standards that broadcast and media companies use to move from legacy SDI systems to a virtualized, IP-based future. With the support of SMPTE and the European Broadcasting Union, AIMS promotes the open standards that broadcast and media companies use to move from legacy SDI systems to a virtualized, IP-based future — quickly and profitably.

AIMS exists to bring broadcasters, technology vendors, and industry standards organizations together in a collaborative effort to eliminate fragmentation and maximize hardware and software interoperability through a set of IP broadcast standards. Validated and tested by broadcast and equipment suppliers, AIMS guidance is intended to deliver a practical upgrade path from SDI to IP as well as to future technologies, such as cloud-based production and distribution.

At NAB 2016, AIMS Board of Directors Chairman Mike Cronk noted that, for a body like AIMS to be of service to the industry in the standardization process, “you need technical robustness and you need market awareness of real-world implementations. You also need member companies of sufficient size to help push it forward in the marketplace. For instance, LiveIP is doing great work in Europe with the EBU and Belgian broadcaster VRT. We are all working together to see these standards really used out there in the marketplace.”

Said Vice Chairman Steve Reynolds, “We need a roadmap that allows customers to adopt the right pieces of technology to solve their problems.” He explored that roadmap, explaining that the operational backbone for AIMS interoperability is SMPTE 2022-6 for uncompressed live IP production. The model also has the ability to handle discrete audio, independent of the video, working with AES67. AIMS has adopted VSF TR-04 and VSF TR-03 with IEFT RFC-4175 and SMPTE 791 and SMPTE 2059 — all in an effort, he said, “to provide a platform for audio, video, metadata, and timing, each operating independently of each other.”

Financial Officer Andreas Hilmer provided an update on current activity at AIMS. “We have 30 member companies as of today, the latest to join being Avid, Dejero, Ikegami, IntoPIX, Matrox, NEC, and TVU Networks. We have more than 80 reference sites around the world for real-world interoperability — 11 of them multivendor installations involving four or more vendors.

“We have adopted a common marketing approach to foster this pathway to the IP world,” he continued. “This whole thing is not just a concept: it’s real-world. AIMS is not talking fancifully; this is really happening.”