Eight leading pro-audio companies have established the Open Control Architectural Alliance to support the standardisation of a media networking system control standard for professional applications, writes David Davies.
d&b audiotechnik, Duran Audio, Media Technology Systems, PreSonus, Salzbrenner Stagetec Mediagroup and TC Group have also signed up to the OCA Alliance, whose mission is to secure the standardisation of the Open Control Architecture (OCA), a media networking system control standard for professional applications.
Developed recently by Bosch Communications Systems, OCA is descended from AES-24, a system control protocol developed by the Audio Engineering Society in the 1990s. OCA is not a media transport technology; rather, it is intended to complement standards such as AVB by providing a reliable and rich system control environment.
In combination, says the OCA Alliance, media transport and system control standards will enable the provision of complete multi-vendor media network solutions. Devices from multiple manufacturers will be able to share a ‘common management regime’, allowing system designers and owners the opportunity to specify the components they want without compromising overall integration and usability.
Alliance work will be done in two phase. During Phase 1, the eight founding members will refine the OCA specification and prepare it for passing to a public standards organisation. Active membership is restricted to the founding members, although other companies may become ‘Observers’ on request. During Phase 2, the OCA specification will be transferred to the public standards body, and the Alliance will continue with ancillary OCA promotion and support work. At this point, active Alliance membership will be open to all participants; companies will also have the option of taking part in the standards organisation in the usual way.
OCA Alliance administrator Stephan Lietz tells PSNE that individual company discussions began as far back as September 2010, with the creation of the new unified organisation following in April. Many outside observers will wonder where the organisation fits within the context of AVB, and Lietz insists that its work is “totally complementary to AVnu. Many members belong to both organisations. AVnu is focused on transport issues and the Alliance is focused on system control: two related but very different issues. We absolutely foresee cooperation with other organisations such as AVnu by addressing a corollary problem to be one being addressed by them.”