Audio on the network

Audio is increasingly moving to IP networks. Tim Kridel explores some of the ways this shift affects pro AV - including in ways that aren’t so obvious.

What changes as audio moves to IP networks? A lot, and some of it has nothing to do with traditional debates over Audio Video Bridging (AVB) versus Dante versus everything else.

Case in point: Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), a new iteration of the AVB protocol that’s designed for industrial control applications rather than pro or even consumer AV applications. AVB/TSN capabilities are added to standard Ethernet to support applications that require tight synchronization, low latency and deterministic arrival of data packets.

Granted, those capabilities are useful for audio, but they’re even more valuable for non-AV applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT), a big, catchall category that spans everything from automotive to financial services to building management to security. Some AV integrators are already expanding into the latter two IoT applications, which is one reason why AVB/TSN is worth keeping an eye on.

Another reason is because some major AV vendors have already committed to AVB/TSN. One example is Biamp Systems, which sees AVB/TSN as a natural extension of what it already offers.

“We make machines that talk to other machines in terms of media, control and clocking,” says Graeme Harrison, Biamp executive vice president of marketing. “That’s exactly the IoT: machines talking to other machines.”

Biamp also sees AVB/TSN as a better way to facilitate those conversations than AV-specific protocols.

“That’s not a play for Dante, Livewire or any of the other proprietary protocols,” Harrison says. “I love audio, but the reality of where we are at the moment is part of building infrastructure.

“One problem with our industry is that we do a really poor job of talking to the rest of the world about why what we do is important. All we’re doing is building this wall around our industry that other people, like IT departments, can’t see into and can’t see why what we do is important to them.”

In the full article Tim Kridel talks to Dante developer Audinate, AVB backer AVnu Alliance as well as Barix, DiGiCo and Symetrix. Read now in InAVate’s digital edition.

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