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Audio was allotted a refreshingly chunky 45 minutes immediately after the mid-afternoon coffee break during last week's SVG Europe FutureSport forum at Lord's cricket ground.

The first audio session, which was the second part of the "Say You want an (IP) Revolution" strand and was entitled "Audio Anyplace, Anytime", was always going to be a somewhat lively affair, despite the participant's recent intake of caffeine. The session Chair, SVG Europe's Managing Editor David Davies, was joined by Calrec's very own Henry Goodman, Lawo's Director of R&D Stefan Ledegerber, Thomas Riedel, CEO of the eponymously-named network specialists, Vinnie Macri of ClearCom and Greg Shay, the Telos CTO.

The purpose of the session was to discuss how networked IT infrastructures are helping with the distribution of audio, particularly during large-scale sports productions. This is an especially dynamic area of the industry where opinions on the way forward are as varied as the protocols which are being developed, and their implementations.

The discussion was wide ranging; from the opportunity to merge audio monitoring into comms systems; the advent of remote production using commodity networking technology (a topic which Calrec’s Patrick Warrington presented at the Tonmeistertagung in Cologne last month – sign up for our newsletter here to receive that White Paper later this month!); and the concept of incorporating viable audio production technology into a mainstream IT networks.

What it did illustrate is that while vender interoperability fulfils the promise of AoIP, there is still a great deal of indecision over formats. The next stage relies on cooperation, and there is no room for one company with ambitions to become an 800lb gorilla. Calrec are signed up with AVB, Ravenna, Dante and AES67, and we see that as the most practical way forward.

And while it's fair to say that at this event all of the panelists were enthusiastic about the direction of travel for audio IP, some questioned the speed, the route, the purpose of the journey and - in several cases - the fare.

Trade associations, such as the newly formed Media Networking Alliance, set up specifically to promote AES67 with education and training programmes, continue to push for greater cooperation. That’s how it should be.

This Friday the Audio Networking Forum in London will further the debate, and should provide some much-needed clarity. With representatives from AES67, Ravenna, Audinate and Calrec, the event seeks to put these network protocols into perspective. It will look at the different technologies currently offered and look at how audio networking is already being used across various disciplines. The day will be split in two, with the first part of the day looking at the technology and the second part looking at how it is being used, including a Q&A with Sky’s Martin Black about Sky’s ground-breaking audio network infrastructure at their Harlequin TV Centre in London.

“The Audio Networking Forum will appeal to anyone working in broadcast, live production, postproduction and music production who is curious about how this most important issue in audio will impact upon their work, business, costs, efficiencies and technologies,” says organiser Zenon Schoepe.

For more information and for tickets, visit their page here.


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