Open Control Architecture was conceived around 10 years ago and was born of an analysis from about a dozen manufacturers of the existing technologies and solutions at that time. Although the available protocols were fine for what they were intended to do, none were able to cover all of the use cases and needs that professional media networks required. Thus, the effort began to create an open public standard that would provide an object-oriented architecture for device control. One that could work with tens of thousands of devices while also being able to put into lightweight implementations, support features such as encryption, and perhaps most importantly, be something that multiple manufacturers could use when integrating their products into a common system.
The major part of OCA has been the creation of AES70, the open standard for control.
A deeper dive...
At its heart, AES70 is an object-oriented framework that contains a device model and the mechanisms needed to communicate with the parameters contained within. The device model very specifically stops at describing parameters while not defining implementations (such as how an algorithm works), to allow devices to retain their unique features. OCA simply uses its classes and class structure to provide a definition for the various parameters of devices to allow it to be interacted with. Classes can also be derived from the standard objects to create new classes if a manufacturer has something “outside of the box” in their device. This solves the problem of having to decide whether to adhere to the standard or create something proprietary that nothing else can understand- because this is a feature of AES70, discoverability and interoperability is baked in.
One reason the topic of control in a media network is such a complex one is because it covers so many different areas and connection topologies. In addition to parameter control, there are other things that need to be handled — connection management, transport channel routing for example – and are just as critical to the completeness of the solution. In this regard, AES70 has taken a holistic view of control and can include these features and others. Additionally, the use of multiple network protocols which include TCP, UDP, and websockets, provide designers and implementers with the flexibility needed to make the implementation choices appropriate to their products’ design requirements.
AES70 is on the market today in dozens of products from multiple manufacturers. A growing number of products are available.
The OCA Alliance helps expand this ecosystem of products, standards, and development tools to deliver standardized device control and provide a complete media networking solution.