Seven leading A/V manufacturers – AudioScience, Avid, Biamp, d&b audiotechnik, L-Acoustics, Luminex and Meyer Sound – have worked together under the umbrella of the Avnu Alliance to form Milan, a standards-based network protocol to promote deterministic, interoperable, future-proof media networking in pro A/V applications.
Milan is designed as a user-driven protocol that aims to ‘guarantee that all Milan devices will work together’, offering integrators convenience, reliability and flexibility. It builds on the technical benefits introduced by the IEEE Audio Video Bridging (AVB) open standards, including time synchronisation, ‘guaranteed quality of service’, and risk-free coexistence of control and media data on a single network, while adding further defining device requirements at both the network and the application layer for compatible media streams, formats, media-clocking, redundancy and controller software.
‘After carefully considering what end users were trying to accomplish, and the challenges and risks associated with using other protocols, AVB was a natural choice for implementing a high-quality media network,’ said Jeff Rocha, director of product management at L-Acoustics. ‘We also recognise that there has been no application-layer interoperability defined above the network foundation. This application-level interoperability is critical to delivering on the promise of AVB: simple, reliable network operation, guaranteed performance and sustainability. Milan leverages the benefits of AVB to deliver a user-driven solution for networked A/V that guarantees interoperability among pro A/V devices.’
Henning Kaltheuner, head of business development and market intelligence at d&b audiotechnik, noted how his company started exploring this solution 18 months ago. ‘We discovered a compelling benefit to unify our vision with Milan,’ he said. ‘We knew for certain, in an industry dominated by companies that want to market products to customers, that we needed to focus on the customer experience. We aim to change the conversation around network standards to be about providing the best possible end user experience with a convenient, truly interoperable and deployable solution. We knew the only way for us to influence change in this direction was to join together to harness our collective power to move the entire industry.’
As a development extension openly managed by the Avnu Alliance’s pro A/V segment members, a new testing and certification programme is currently in development to support Milan for implementation by manufacturers.
‘The Milan initiative is a long-term approach to change the way the pro A/V market does A/V networking,’ said John McMahon, Meyer Sound’s VP of solutions and strategy, and Avnu Alliance’s pro A/V segment chair. ‘We encourage companies seeking a technically superior network, that guarantees interoperability and is not limited by the confines of proprietary products, to join us and participate in building out this ecosystem.’
Mr McMahon’s call was immediately heard by PreSonus, which has joined the Avnu Alliance in a show of support for the Milan protocol.
‘By joining the Milan initiative, PreSonus demonstrates its full support and we look forward to working with Avnu partner companies and Milan leaders d&b, L-Acoustics, Meyer Sound, Avid, AudioScience, Luminex and Biamp to continue driving the future of A/V networking using AVB technology,’ said Jim Odom, president of PreSonus Audio Electronics. ‘The goal of this organisation is to eliminate the guesswork about whether a particular product will function as part of a larger A/V system. The commitment to the standards all members now adhere to will ensure the highest levels of functionality for creating the most advanced and sophisticated A/V systems.’