Riedel Communications’ Jake Dodson on IP audio futures and OB truck advances
Posted on: Wednesday 4th of July 2018
Three-and-a-half years into his role as Riedel’s director of product management, Jake Dodson is well-placed to chart the rapid development of broadcast audio workflows, not least with regard to the ongoing adoption of IP technologies. In this new interview he reflects on the issues that still need to be addressed concerning IP transportation, and outlines a notable recent OB truck development.
What would you identify as the most significant trends affecting broadcast audio production in 2018?As widely reported, in its simplest form, the transition to IP, or more accurately, synchronised IP layer 3 networks is a major trend affecting the whole industry. But this is a technology transport argument where the real trend behind this is the desire to find efficiencies in workflows while at the same time increasing the flexibility to ‘spin up and down’productions.This is where we see the drive for increasing numbers of remote productions and a debate about how synchronisation across those WAN boundaries is handled or required.
Perhaps the next big question will be less about how IP may achieve this but more about how the industry funds the investment in IT technologies that typically depreciate in four years compared to a broadcast industry average that is closer to 8-10 years. The implications of this are yet to be fully explored in terms of the funding and therefore impact on the uptake of these new technology blocks.
What do you think is the next big hurdle to be overcome in terms of IP’s adoption by the widest possible group of broadcasters and service providers?
We feel strongly that having automatic discovery and control on our networks will be a huge help. As it is now, getting new gear onto a network is a largely manual operation. Once the NMOS standards are fully implemented, new gear will appear and introduce itself to the network automatically, and then cue the operator to assign inputs and outputs. We’re not there yet, but it’s coming!
Also, training is going to be key. Our broadcast engineers need to learn to speak IP and our IT people need to learn broadcast. Broadcasters speak in terms of getting signal here NOW! And IP people want to issue a ticket and make sure the network is not compromised in any way. These are vastly different time horizons when doing live production so education and communication of needs and expectations will be important.
What is your latest product launch in the IP audio arena, and what should we look out for from Riedel as 2018 progresses?
We have been supplying AoIP products based on standards like AVB, Dante and AES67 for a few years now, and our Bolero Integrated wireless intercom platform is based in a decentralised, AES67 network for the antenna network. At IBC 2017 we introduced the MediorNet MicroN-IP. This is software-defined hardware that turns one of our MicroNs into an IP endpoint for our MediorNet networks. [As a result] getting from a baseband MediorNet environment into the world of IP is as easy as installing a MicroN-IP as a gateway.
Finally, if you had to pick one specific project from 2018 to date that really exemplifies the strengths of the current Riedel range what would it be, and why?
In designing its two new state-of-the-art 4K and HDR OB vehicles, Millenium Signature 12 and Millenium 6, AMP VISUAL TV sought a 100% flexible and reliable networking infrastructure that could remain futureproofed, especially as the company’s broadcast clients continue to migrate toward fully IP-based operations. To meet these requirements, AMP VISUAL TV partnered with Riedel Communications to design and deploy a communication and signal transport backbone based on Riedel’s MediorNet real-time media network.
The MediorNet network delivers core benefits to MS12 and Millenium 6 customers, consisting of integrated components that work together seamlessly and offer flexible system design and connection options. Not only does this approach offer greater efficiency through simpler configuration and an enormous reduction in cabling, but with similar Riedel systems installed in both MS12 and Millenium 6, members of the production team can easily shift from one van to the other as the production schedule demands. Familiarity with Riedel gear allows them to hit the ground running rather than spend time coming up to speed on new equipment and workflows.
Interviewed exclusively for Resolution magazine by David Davies