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Commercial Integrator Europe Q&A: Rick Kreifeldt on the present and future of AVB (part two)

In the second half of our Q&A, Kreifeldt responds to criticisms about the high prices of AVB-specific switches.

David Davies

With the recent news that digital audio and conferencing specialist Xavtel Communications has been accepted as a Promoter Member of the AVnu Alliance, Commercial Integrator Europe decided it was high time to catch up with Alliance chairman and president Rick Kreifeldt. In the second part of our Q&A, Kreifeldt responds to criticisms about the pace of AVB device certification and the high prices of AVB-specific switches…

How would you respond to suggestions, as aired in some quarters, that the certification process has been rather slower and less impactful than expected?

When the market demand is strong for a technology like AVB, it can seem like it takes forever, but proper, robust test development for any new technology takes time. AVnu Alliance’s timeline is not significantly longer or shorter than other testing of this type. AVnu Alliance’s test house, UNH-IOL, develops tests for many other network and connectivity technologies, and has since the beginning of Ethernet. We strongly believe that the comprehensive compliance and interoperability testing process is part of the long-term advantage of the AVB open standard.

The price of AVB switches remains a sticking point for some. What is and can be done to address this issue?

AVB may appear expensive because of the need for AVB-aware switches; however, the big advantage is that with an infrastructure of AVB switches in place, adding new devices doesn’t require adding infrastructure. They are as close to ‘plug and play’ as we have in today’s AV-IP networks, saving IT managers a lot of time when new components have to be added. Additionally, they are future-proof, allowing tech managers to protect their investments without the costs associated with expanding proprietary systems.

AVB is open standard and therefore there are no expensive licensing fees that come with proprietary equipment. As a true industry standard that is not controlled by one company, AVB allows for open interoperability across devices and brands, bringing economies of scale and driving down costs down overall. As more AVB and AVnu-certified products come to market, hardware prices will drive down.

Additionally, solutions such as XMOS’ Daisy-chained AVB end-point solution can help bring down costs for small-scaled systems.

What AVB-related landmarks should we look out for as we start to think about 2015?

We have seen a huge increased interest in broadcast and pro video this year, and we believe that in 2015, you’ll be able to see more broadcast studios utilising AVB for live production as well as within the studio. The first of many to come is ESPN with the Digital Center 2 installation using 100% AVB equipment for its audio network.  You can also look out for many more AVnu-certified product announcements.

In terms of what’s to come for AVnu Alliance: we have made significant movement toward the evolution of the standard, expanding range, functionality and applications. Our members have worked very hard to build upon the AVB specifications for new demanding applications and market segments that are increasing interest in the technology. In the coming months we will announce a fourth market segment and we expect to show products utilising the enhanced AVB standards in 2015.

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