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AN IP-BASED ENVIRONMENT ALSO BRINGS ADVANTAGES IN TERMS OF CONTROL AND SECURITY. Policies and parameters, such as routing paths and quality of service, are dictated exclusively by an intelligent routing control system that is able to fully exploit the speed and raw power of a datacentre environment. In addition, the importance of standards that attract a broad industry consensus and lead to widespread interoperability in any technology sector is impossible to overestimate. A major contribution to SDI’s long-term success has been its plug-and-play nature and the confidence that all products based on SDI from virtually all vendors will interoperate. That is why Imagine Communications, through its work with AIMS, the Alliance for IP Media Solutions, is helping to set the roadmap for adoption of open standards in IP connectivity. The goal in setting up AIMS was to take the standards already available, work done by great bodies like SMPTE, AMWA, VSF and EBU, and get people using them. AIMS published its roadmap that sets out an open, collaborative way in which IP connectivity can be implemented in all areas of broadcasting, including live production. It is the only set of IP standards in the industry that has been developed using a collaborative, non- proprietary approach. As a result, it has the support of more organisations than any other - over 50 vendors large and small to date, along with a whole host of other bodies - and most importantly, the standards that AIMS is promoting are available now. Even though the SMPTE 2110 specification is currently in draft, it is composed of standards that are currently in use in live settings, eliminating the need for vendors and media companies to delay implementation of solutions using those standards. During IBC 2016, AIMS worked with exhibition organisers to create a new feature in the exhibition, the IP Interoperability Zone. This saw more than 30 separate companies in one area, across dozens of applications, demonstrating real, practical, working standards-based interoperability. Unless the same level of confidence that media companies currently have in SDI interoperability exists in the IP realm, a swift and orderly transition to a more versatile and flexible environment is impossible. Without assurances of widespread interoperability, broadcasters and other media companies are prone to postpone critical investments in technology, sitting on the sidelines until they know for sure that the new infrastructures and workflows they are constructing today will not need to be demolished if a change in direction - or technology suppliers - is required in the future. Finally, broadcast professionals are also dealing with concerns around the fragmentation of the supply chain. In an SDI-only world, most media companies are able to contract with a few or even a single technology supplier. The transition of operations to an IT-infrastructure invites an entirely new field of suppliers and technology partners into the media space. Even though many of the suppliers of IT-based equipment are among the largest companies in the world, they are largely unknown as critical suppliers of broadcast technology. To mitigate these concerns, some broadcast technology leaders have forged close ties to leading IT companies, assimilating the expertise to assist media companies in the design, operation and maintenance of IP-based video production plants. It’s safe to say that media companies today are building out IP-based greenfield installations that meet and conceivably exceed a traditional broadcast plant in terms of agility and cost efficiency, without compromising performance. However, very few media companies are yet positioned to make wholesale moves to IP, which means more are following a hybrid transition path that allows for the graceful migration to an all-IP plant. KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 120 December 2016 | 45