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Standards – who needs them?

Thu 03, 05 2018

We have heard about interoperability, microservices and vendors collaborating, so what does this mean for standards? Are industry standards such as SMPTE ST 2110 more important than ever – or an anachronism in an age driven by IT? What about other emerging standards such as NDI? Two leading systems integrators, who have delivered IP projects in the wild, debated the importance of standards in the transition to IP, and asked whether they are always answering the right question.

Daf Rees, Deputy Director of Operations, Arena TV

  • Are standards necessary? Please briefly explain your answer.

    The move to media over IP infrastructure and workflows represents a paradigm shift from the existing linear co-axial model, and in that context, standards are crucial to guarantee interoperability between vendor-diverse equipment and to give system architects the confidence that the system will work as designed. This is the key to encouraging the adoption and deployment of the technology.

  • How could the standardization process be accelerated – or should we be expending our efforts elsewhere?

    At publication, a standard should be robust and unambiguous, yet careful not to impose a workflow. It’s a difficult balancing act which, understandably, takes time to reconcile. That said, it’s important the standards bodies work to keep up with the appetite for the technology.

  • What were your top takeaways from other sessions at the IABM conference?

    It’s interesting to see how AI is taking a hold on the industry, with sessions citing applications as diverse as automatically logging live material and personalised content curation and delivery. There seem to be many areas within my sphere of the industry – live content creation, where AI applications could be deployed to make the production process more flexible and efficient. ‘The cloud’ was also a regular refrain from the stage, with low latency connectivity and cloud based apps and processes making inroads into every aspect of the acquisition, contribution, post and distribution elements of production.

Marc Risby, CTO, Boxer Systems

  • Are standards necessary? Please briefly explain your answer.

    The world needs standards, interoperability is essential. Defined standards also mean it’s possible to make products to convert between standards, so we can make decisions based on what works in a given situation and still make oneself compatible.

  • How could the standardization process be accelerated – or should we be expending our efforts elsewhere?

    This is hard! If you ask 27 different people for their input on a standard, you’ll get a tonne of answers and a lot of debate. My feeling is that the industry as a whole has to understand that adapting to our customers’ ever-changing needs means that we need to reach consensus quicker and move forward. If necessary, we may need to look at amending and updating standards as use cases change in a way we haven’t in the past.

  • What were your top takeaways from other sessions at the IABM conference?

    That our customers want more meaningful partnerships not blind pitches of new products, that we need more young blood in the industry and that John Ive plays a mean guitar!

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