With the big game coming up millions of viewers are gearing up to catch all the sporting action on the field. The scale of the actual game day as an event is staggering and yet, with every passing year, the kind of technology that goes into powering the game and beaming it live to audiences across the country gets increasingly more sophisticated. Let’s delve into one such aspect: The game is typically covered by over 100 cameras, 250 microphones and a dozen outdoor broadcasting trucks. Capturing, bundling and transmitting all that audio-visual magic to our television and digital screens requires incredibly powerful yet easy-to-use systems.

Denver Broncos-September 05, 2013 of the NFL game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Sept. 5, 2013 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by: Gabriel Christus)

At Cisco we strongly believe that simplicity is key to making advanced technology easily deployable and useful to the world. This is enabled by two key technologies that we have been working on – Professional Media Network (PMN) and Audio Video Bridging (AVB). These technologies were developed in close collaboration with the media and entertainment industry who are looking to extend and upgrade their current technology to Ethernet and IP technologies. Besides providing functionality such as low latency, zero packet loss, low jitter and high security, PMN and AVB together provide Software Defined Networking (SDN) APIs for monitoring, analyzing and troubleshooting.  These network extensions allow the media and live entertainment industry to take their current technology setup, irrespective of how it may have been implemented, and manage and expand it in a fashion that has never been available before.

The drive to 4K, 8K and HDR (High Dynamic Range) is forcing broadcasters to transform the traditional Serial Digital Interface to IP protocol to increase agility and reduce capital and operational expenses. The new Ethernet and IP base preserves the existing media workflows ensuring existing applications work seamlessly while meeting performance and scale standards. As an added bonus, very little retraining is required for production staff.

AVB Blog1These media innovations are also transforming the use of A/V technology in enterprises by providing a seamless plug-n-play of AV endpoints, better video experience and significantly improved audio quality in large conference rooms and auditoriums. New use cases like reducing noise in open work spaces (like synchronized audio delivery of a performance in a stadium) are also enabled by these changes.
The applications of these innovations are immense. From televised mega shows and live entertainment events, to simple video conferencing, users can now enjoy a much more immersive experience including functionality that was previously unavailable. Whether a highly-publicized sporting event like the big game or the magic of a live musical concert, Cisco is the dependable infrastructure powering it all. This, to me, is technology innovation within core networking with an eye to the future.

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Anand Oswal

No Longer with Cisco