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IBC '16: Sony Stresses Open IP Systems
The firm also trials cloud switching with Swisscom and IP production with Euromedia

Sony wants to put the record straight at IBC2016. "We cannot be on our own: We strongly support an open approach to IP," says Olivier Bovis, Sony sales director Europe & head of media solutions.

Having been first of the major manufacturers to launch into IP, at IBC2014, Sony has since found its approach perceived as proprietary—erroneously in its view.

"There is still a lot of confusion as to Sony's position on the subject," said Bovis. "We led the industry with the Networked Media Initiative (NMI—Sony's IP based format) which was an encapsulation of different technologies. We have incorporated standards like AES and SMPTE 2022-6 and we will add TR0-3 as soon as that is ratified as standard. NMI is a bucket in which all these elements take shape."

Sony is a longtime contributor to AMWA and the Joint Taskforce for Networked Media, more  recently joining ASPEN and AIMS. "We have a very open approach, that is fundamental to understand. We are not an isolated corner."

To take this a stage further, the company has a number of demos in the works. Chief among them is a partnership with Swiss telco Swisscom to devise a proof of concept for cloud-based switching.

It tested this first during the Locarno International Film Festival in August. By combining an IP-based production setup in Swisscom's Zurich datacenter with LTE/4G video streaming over Swisscom's mobile network from Sony' XDCAM camcorders in Locarno, the team was able to reduce the entire production turnaround time to just ten minutes. Historically the shoot-to-upload process had taken as much as six hours.

The setup has established a proven remote news production facility for event managers and small and large broadcasters throughout Europe to consider on a pay-as-needed basis, according to both parties.

"Cloud-based production is a game-changer for content creators and owners, allowing production teams to rethink the way they access, process and distribute their media," explained Urs Lehner, head of sales & services for enterprise customers, Swisscom. "This isn't just a case of new technologies, but of new commercial opportunities for customers to introduce service models which move from OpEx to CapEx."

"Over the past 12 months, we've seen Cloud move from a position of ‘great potential' in news production terms to one of ‘great delivery'," said Michael Harrit, marketing director, Sony Professional Solutions Europe. "The speed-to-air improvements enjoyed by Locarno this year are a staggering case of point, and have been driven from a production model which has the dual benefit of reduced capital expenditure. The convergence of IT, telco and broadcast R&D is helping content communities do things quicker, smarter and more efficiently."

The companies are now using Sony's Media Backbone Hive, to explore how connectivity and cloud technologies can modernise production workflows.

Sony is also working with outside broadcast supplier Euromedia to jointly test and implement remote live productions over IP. At IBC, they have teamed to demonstrate a HD connection over IP to Hilversum in the Netherlands, located at Euromedia's United Broadcast Studios, where they are hosting a remote studio. This is also being done also in partnership with Level3.

"On the Sony stand you can see the link up and running and how the operations are shared remotely with Hilversum," said Bovis. "Low latency, seamless switching and reliability are essential in remote production and the solution on show is offering all of that over IP."

For Euromedia the benefits of remote production over IP lies in allowing its production facilities to be more scalable and modular, making the facility provider more agile to flex and grow with changing requirements.

New products announced at IBC and built around NMI include a AV Multiplexer/DeMultiplexer board for video and audio over IP signals, an SDI-IP Converter Unit and a NMI board for the HDCU-4300 camera control system which enables  connection to Sony's IP Live network.  The firm also has multi-viewer software for monitoring an live IP production infrastructure which "drastically reduces the video matrix resources used for monitoring," Sony states.