NAB Reflections: Aperi’s Joop Janssen Shares Vision of Virtualization
IP allows floating licenses, which can benefit remote sports production
At NAB 2016, Aperi launched its vision of virtualized hardware that can by dynamically configured via software to handle different applications. Two years later, the vision continued to gain support and key clients, including a role at the upcoming World Cup and Telstra’s DPN network that connects 29 venues with the recently opened Andrews Production Hubs in Australia.
“Multiple leagues and sports broadcasters are doing final tests for deployment, and we are also involved in multiple Telstra deployments, including the advanced Distributed Production Network in Australia,” says Aperi CEO Joop Janssen. “Quite a lot of large customers are seeing the real benefits of going IP, which is the ability to have floating [software] licenses. We offer one box with one card that can run microservices apps on top of it.”
From a workflow standpoint, Aperi uses a service-oriented architecture, allowing virtualized media functions to be dynamically piped among components for aggregate workflows, such as live remote production. Microservers and their virtualized functions can be “strung together” within a single A1105 device or between multiple racks using IP.
One of the key benefits that broadcasters are seeing is the ability to use Aperi hardware to reduce the bandwidth requirements on a production by sending only the camera feeds needed from the venue to a connected production-control room.
“The name of the game is turnaround latency,” says Janssen. “Right now, we are at [a little over one frame]. But multiple leagues and sport broadcasters are doing the final tests for deployment.”
The ability to separate the software for, say, a graphics device from a dedicated hardware box also means that there is the opportunity to move to an infrastructure where a graphics-application license could float among different locations. For example, a license could be used on the East Coast for a sports event, deactivated, and then reactivated on the West Coast.
Aperi means open in Latin, and any software-application developer is allowed to publish its functions on the Aperi platform. Janssen says one of the goals is to hook into orchestration systems and bring a new level of agility to customer operations, even down to a minute-by-minute basis.. Current partners include Ericsson, Macnica, BarcoSilex, and IntoPix, with such capabilities as multiviewers, JPEG2000 encoders/decoders, packet generators and analyzers, and 4K VC-2 and Tico codecs.
“Everybody is starting to understand it and seeing that, from an architectural standpoint, there are real benefits of doing virtualization in IP with floating licenses,” says Janssen. “You pay only for what you use, and you get new functions and format at the speed of a software update.”