New SDVoE Alliance Aims to Standardize AV over IP

Based on off-the-shelf Ethernet switches, Software Defined Video Over Ethernet (SDVoE) Alliance says it will speed up and optimize the transition to AV over IP when it launches at ISE 2017.

In an industry that simultaneously complains that it has too few standards and too many acronyms, SDVoE has something for everybody.

The Software Defined Video Over Ethernet (SDVoE) Alliance aims to speed up and optimize the transition to AV over IP by bringing manufacturers together around a standardized hardware and software platform.

SDVoE network architectures are based on off-the-shelf Ethernet switches, according to the alliance’s site, which it says results in substantial cost savings and greater system flexibility and scalability over traditional approaches including HDBaseT.

All AV distribution applications that demand zero-latency, uncompromised video can benefit from SDVoE technology.

Markets that benefit from SDVoE technology include education, healthcare, enterprise, entertainment, hospitality, retail, houses of worship, government, military, industrial and security, according to the site.

“What we’re trying to do here is different,” says a source associated with SDVoE who requested not to be named until the alliance’s manufacturer members are announced publicly in January 2017.

The integration industry has spent the last several years focusing on creating new AV transport technologies, points out the source. “AV over IP enables us to be more flexible. You don’t have to have dedicated cables. We wanted to standardize on a set of performance requirements for AV over IP.”

Uncompromised, Zero-latency 4K AV over IP

SDVoE is both a hardware and software platform and the alliance says it enables matrix switches, KVM extenders, video wall controllers and image processors. It can also be integrated into sources and displays, according to SDVoE.org.

More about the technology from SDVoE’s website:

As the AV industry inevitably transitions to AV-over-IP solutions, simple AV switching and signal distribution are commoditized by the ultimate bit-moving technology – Ethernet. So where will AV manufacturers add value? Creating powerful endpoint signal processors and software applications are key. Endpoints that convert between AV signals (HDMI) and Ethernet may contain processing engines that reformat and reconstruct audio and video signals (scaling to a display, establishing a video wall, downmixing audio, etc.). The software that creates user experiences by managing those endpoints is the other area ripe for innovation.

SDVoE technology is the standardized interface between endpoints and software. It provides the momentum to create new classes of applications. By eliminating the bulky matrix switch, which is so costly to develop, the barrier to market entry is dramatically lowered. New players will enter and create applications for broad adoption, as well as for specialized niches not addressable with hardware-based solutions.

SDVoE technology is:

  • The most widely adopted networked AV standard in the industry, delivering HDMI over Ethernet with zero latency
  • The only turnkey solution for zero-latency AV over IP available to AV equipment manufacturers
  • Complete with an API that allows OEM software to define a wide range of AV applications

More on the SDVoE Alliance

SDVoE Alliance calls itself a nonprofit consortium, but it doesn’t intend to reveal its member companies until January as a prelude to Integrated Systems Europe 2017 where it expects to make a splash.

“We have established our founding membership but we’re not ready to disclose them by name yet,” says the source. “That will come leading up to ISE.”

It’s important to note about the founding members, adds the source, that “they are not exclusively AV box manufacturers.” While that group is represented it also includes chip manufacturers, software makers and others.

“My concept in going to recruit this membership is No. 1 it only succeeds as an eco-system. If there were just a few box manufactures there are limits to the value that has. When we can expand that and and bring in hardware manufacturers, software manufacturers, switch vendors … bringing them all together, it makes it much more powerful to the IT guy.”

Being able to sell to customers’ IT departments has been something with which AV-centric integration firms in particular have struggled. “One of the key purposes of this alliance is to be able to more easily open the door and have that conversation with the IT side of the house,” says the source.

“Defining our own set of performance standards around the technology and being able to speak to them in the language that they understand – the language of manageable endpoint devices, if that’s how the IT guy wants to see it, let’s present it to them that way so we can make the sale and get the good AV experience to those users.”

On SDVoE.org, the alliance lays out several priorities:

  • Offer end users increased flexibility, more applications tailored to their particular needs, and the opportunity to reduce both capital and operating expenses
  • Enable more cost-effective architectures for AV signal distribution using off-the-shelf Ethernet switches
  • Provide a reliable and more versatile alternative to point-to-point extension and circuit switches
  • Facilitate true AV/IT convergence such that uncompressed zero-latency video, data and low-bandwidth video can simultaneously share a single infrastructure platform
  • Bring ecosystem partners — AV equipment manufacturers, AV software developers, switch manufacturers, chipset designers, technology providers and system integrators — together under a single banner to foster collaboration
  • Drive the transition to Ethernet-based AV systems by bringing awareness to new opportunities, educating the industry, and offering training in the new paradigm

The integration industry, SDVoE acknowledges, has been burned by promises of standards that took exceedingly long to be reflected in actual products.

“We’ve done it the opposite way,” says the source, adding that there are already 35 existing products that meet SDVoE performance standards. “So as soon as we hit with the alliance we’ll be able to name manufacturers that already have [SDVoE-compliant] products on the market.”

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