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Review of 2014: Part 2 – Dante triumphant?

Acquisitions, athletics, AVB and Atmos… we reflect on the year that was

On the networking front, 2014 was unmistakably the year when Dante – the media networking protocol developed by Sydney, Australia-headquartered Audinate – came into its own. Microphone and headphone giant Sennheiser announced its support for the technology in April, at NAB in Las Vegas (its great rival in the professional marketplace, Shure, signed up to Dante in June 2012), and in June – just nine months after announcing its 100th OEM partner, Studio Technologies – Dante reached another milestone with news of its 150th licensee in the form of Kramer Electronics, revealed exclusively by PSNEurope. (Pictured is Audinate CEO Lee Ellison.)

Complementing the seemingly irresistible rise of Dante was the AES launch of the Media Networking Alliance, formed to promote adoption and support adopters of the newly ratified AES67 standard. AES67, an Ethernet-based networked audio-over-IP interoperability standard, is a layer-3 protocol suite based on existing standards and designed to enable interoperability between various IP-based audio networking standards, such as Dante, the broadcast-focussed RAVENNA, Livewire and Q-LAN.

But for every winner there are dozens of losers, and by September David Davies, writing in PSNEurope, was posing the question ‘Has the AVB dream lost its lustre?’ in response to the rival networking technology’s “perceived loss of momentum and […] image problem” for use in pro-audio applications.

Although Audio/Video Bridging remains strong in the broadcast and automotive sectors (Jan Eveleens, CEO of Axon Digital, presented a two-hour session on AVB for broadcast at the European Broadcast Union Network Technology Seminar in June, and there are a number of ongoing schemes relating to AVB deployment via infotainment and driver assistance cameras), Davies was forced to conclude: “The sheer number of companies behind AVB and the considerable investment already made in related products strongly suggest that the project will not come to an ignominious conclusion. But, as this article has demonstrated, direct and specific questions persist that must be addressed clearly, comprehensively – and above all, publicly – if AVB is to achieve the kind of mainstream success originally envisaged.”