Embrionix: Enabling the Future of IP

Embrionix: Enabling the Future of IP


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Embrionix: Enabling the Future of IP

Mon 30, 09 2019


Renaud Lavoie

President, Embrionix


Embrionix was founded a decade ago on a vision of providing the broadcast industry with a simpler, smarter, and more flexible approach to implementing the type and volume of signal processing demanded by evolving technologies and workflows. The company delivered its first product in 2010, made its first large-scale sale into the sports sector, and earned the first of its many patents in 2014.

Since that time, Embrionix devices have become a critical component in high-profile installations worldwide. And, as the broadcast industry began to embrace the idea of IP, Embrionix was ready to enable broadcasters’ IP migration.

Simplifying IP, During the Transition and Beyond

Early on, Embrionix understood that broadcast facilities’ transition to IP doesn’t happen overnight. While some broadcasters opt to make a leap to all-IP infrastructure and operations, most must take an intermediate step in which their infrastructure continues to support legacy SDI equipment. They simply don’t have the luxury of replacing a legacy SDI installation with a shiny new IP-based facility.

In most cases, the IP core deployment for a future-proof broadcast infrastructure relies either on a spine-and-leaf type architecture or a simple core switch to establish signal distribution. To interface with surrounding source and destination media devices that are not yet IP-native, broadcasters still need conversion devices to converge to the IP network. As a result, most broadcasters face the costs and challenges of integrating additional hardware and cabling to support both SDI and IP.

In addressing this challenge, Embrionix has taken a unique approach: building miniaturized and field-updatable signal-processing technology into small-form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules that plug into commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) IP switch ports. Leveraging software-defined signal processing, Embrionix today provides its SDI–IP gateway – or any of a host of other IP–IP processing functions – as an SFP plug-in module installed directly inside the IP switch. The location of conversion and processing functions inside the IP switch makes integration simpler and more cost-effective within the existing switch footprint. The fact that processing is software-defined means that Embrionix devices that today support SDI–IP conversion can in the future be adapted to serve the broadcaster’s evolving processing needs in an IP-IP processing platform without any hardware change.

The game-changing technology was first shown publicly at IBC2015 in Amsterdam when Embrionix introduced it as the patented foundation for the company’s range of advanced SFP solutions for video. In an innovative proof of concept, Embrionix demonstrated the SFPs converting SMPTE ST 2022-6 to SDI and vice versa. The company has since expanded its offering of IP–IP processing options, the newest of which are J2K-to-SMPTE ST 2110, MADI-to-AES67, and audio shuffling and processing.

Taking a Forward-Looking Approach

Replacing an SFP optical transceiver with an Embrionix emSFP Gateway, broadcasters can directly connect SDI equipment to the IP network. Installed inside an IP switch, the SFP can receive or transmit two SDI signals on the connector side and create or receive multiple IP streams to the host connection. As the facility evolves toward full IP, the field-updatable emSFP devices can be reused for other functions, thereby allowing the broadcaster to optimize its equipment investment. Embrionix provides a selection of products that convert SDI to IP, as well as other SFP modules with enhanced capabilities for native IP devices. The platform can run different software programs to define the functionality of the device, and each software program is available as a separate option via a license program. The newly released emVIRTU all-IP core infrastructure and processing platform provides an extremely dense array of Embrionix software-defined IP processors in just 1RU. The platform makes it easy for broadcasters to address a wide variety of media signal processing within mission-critical HD-up-to-UHD IP production environments.

Building on the company’s four years of experience addressing the IP transition, Embrionix has integrated the latest improvements stemming from standardization of SMPTE ST 2022-6, SMPTE ST 2110, and NMOS into its products to ensure they perform to the highest standards and integrate smoothly into complete systems.

Leading the Way Toward Virtualization

Embrionix was ahead of its time in embracing software-defined signal processing, and the company foresees a future in which broadcasters rent micro-services and processing resources as they need them. In this model, which Embrionix emSFP devices already enable, broadcasters need only invest in the edge devices used regularly (e.g., cameras, monitors) and rely on virtualized services over IP networks. Moreover, they can ensure that every investment they make today in IP will not only help to increase revenue and lower costs, but also serve as part of a future-proof foundation for more efficient and economical virtualized workflows.

Offering software-defined SDI–IP gateway processing in a miniatured SFP form factor, Embrionix empowers broadcasters to directly connect SDI equipment to an IP network and radically reduce the cost, power, equipment, and space requirements associated with IP-based broadcast operations. In delivering uniquely economical and accessible standards-based SDI-to-IP conversion, as well as versatile signal processing in the IP realm, this Embrionix technology is driving, democratizing, and simplifying the industry’s shift to IP. Equally or more important during and after the IP transition, the company’s innovative approach facilitates easy entry into virtualized operations and their many benefits.

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