Broadcast News

Bookmark and Share

BFV's Big Interview: Axon

News Image
Broadcast Film and Video exclusively talks to Axon CTO Peter Schut, who joined the firm in 1994.

Peter and his team have pioneered many developments in high-end audio and video monitoring and processing.

The firm is set to launch the Neuron at this year's IBC show which is the world's first Network Attached Processor (NAP) for Broadcast IP environments.

Peter also talks about the future of IP and the exciting plans the firm has for the future.

Hi Peter. Could you tell us a little bit about the company and how it has evolved during your time there.
Actually, at the time of this interview, I am two days away from my 24th anniversary with the company. Starting as a very small firm Axon made its first steps into SDI infrastructures. We evolved as a medium size player in what we today call the glue market. Through the original modular range, called FR-range, we transferred to a more powerful system called Synapse in 2001. I think it is fair to say that Synapse has been extremely successful in those years.

When we started Synapse we had no clue what we all were going to do in the future. If you look today, we added multiviewing, IP, Dolby processing and all stuff that was not available in a modular system in early 2000. Today all those functions have been added in the modular system.

Also, in the last three to four years, the move to IP has caused us to rethink how to look at the market. We expect that the standard connectivity speed for infrastructures will start at 25Gb/s and that was the point where we had to conclude that our Synapse modular system was not the most efficient way of going into that direction.

That started the design and birth of a new product line called Neuron.

You've got a number of exciting demonstrations at IBC including the launch of Neuron. What should visitors expect from your booth?
Well, this is indeed the first introduction and what they can expect to see is the physical unit. They will see the first steps into its massive amount of functionality that we are going to deliver before the end of this year. This is a full IP to IP processing capability, IP to SDI and SDI to IP, including up down cross and audio processing. The road map is very vivid for this product and I would expect that the Neuron platform will show very interesting updates in future shows. On top of that of course the control via Cerebrum. Cerebrum has become a very important part of our company. At the moment it is our fastest growing product. Currently we win a lot of new customers who move from, let's say a more established control system, to the way more flexible and powerful Cerebrum.

How important is IBC to Axon?
IBC, in our home-country, is very important to us. It is the show where we do our major product launches. We have been participating for 27 years and it is the show which we all look forward to doing. The five days are exhausting but also give a lot of energy!

There have been many discussions taking place surrounding IP and its role now and in the future. How is Axon contributing to the dominating landscape of IP?
As I said earlier, the move to IP is a definite direction that is now going to happen. After a five-year chasm at first IP actually did not work. In the middle of that chasm, it worked a little but the customers were not really convinced that this was going to be the future. We can now say that the skepticism in the direction of IP is gone. I think that 90% of our customers are involved in rethinking their infrastructure topology. IP is the way to go, and will be part of the future of our industry.

Axon's Cerebrum delivered Host Broadcast Services for Wimbledon 2018. What made your solution ideal for this event?
The complex IP infrastructure, which simultaneously offered dual level UHD, HD-SDI, SDR UHD and HDR UHD, required a reliable and comprehensive control system to seamlessly integrate and manage the latest technologies from GVG, Arista, EVS, Phabrix, Calrec and Evertz in a unified IP workflow. Cerebrum provided both power and flexibility and scales effectively to allow multiple users on the system. It simplified our workflow by minimising engineering bottlenecks and eased to configure at speed.

In a fast-paced production environment, familiarity and ease-of-use for skilled operators is critical. This is where Cerebrum comes into its own. It gave NEP a really simple user-friendly graphical interface that enabled the crew to get their heads around the workflow, to customise it and quickly preconfigure a show file to be pulled up later. They could get to work and focus on the production, without concern for the complex and changing technology layer underneath.

After the recent appointments of Michiel Van Duijvendijk and Karel van Der Flier, how has the company used and benefitted from their significant experience of live sports production? Is live sports production an even larger focus going forward?
Yes, that is actually a fact and it is happening as we speak. The customer relationship that Karel and Michiel have in the live sports broadcast environment opens doors that were closed before. Not only with NEP as a more important customer for the near future but also in areas, like the Americas, where we historically have not been very strong.

What are the future plans for Axon, any upcoming projects or products you're working on?
We want to sell a lot and live on the Bahamas, no just kidding!
 Our focus for extension you will see in the Cerebrum and Neuron product lines. Synapse will still grow but at a slower speed then before. Synapse is in a pure SDI environment still a very powerful product and we expect that for many years to come. When it comes to a true IP and pure infrastructure then the Neuron platform is just more efficient, powerful and futureproof. I expect that by the end of this year, 2018, 70% of the R&D department will be working on features for the Neuron platform.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us.

This article is also available in the September edition of Broadcast Film & Video. Here.

Top Related Stories
Click here for the latest broadcast news stories.

AIMS Returning To IBC For IP Showcase
The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) is returning to IBC this year to help host the IP Showcase. AIMS members are working toward standards-based
Sony Expands Solution Capabilities To Unlock Full Potential Of IP
Sony has expanded the capabilities of its IP Live Production System solutions by announcing further support for SMPTE ST 2110 in both HD and 4K. "The
Barix Launches IP Former
Barix has launched of IP Former, the company's newest innovation for adding IP networking capabilities to new or existing loudspeaker designs. Replaci
Media Industry On The Brink Of IP-Centric Future
Growing market demand is converging with rapid accelerations in standards, protocol and interoperability. The convergence means the media industry has
Cloudbass Transforms OB Truck From HD-SDI To UHD
Cloudbass has become the first outside broadcast company in the world to transform an existing OB truck from HD-SDI to UHD IP using Axon Digital Desig
Axon To Demo Live IP Interoperability At IBC
With IP now a reality, there are still challenges to overcome, such as fast and seamless switching, network management and IP control and monitoring.
Embrionix To Exhibit SMPTE ST 2110 IP Conversion And Processing Solutions
Embrionix has announced it will feature its range of software-defined (SMPTE ST 2110) IP conversion and processing solutions geared toward simplifying
Nevion Announce Baseband To IP Converters
Virtual media production company, Nevion, has announced the launch of a series of baseband to IP converters in the Flashlink product family, as part o
Grass Valley Extends IP Portfolio At NAB
Newly-absorbed into the Belden Brand, Grass Valley is to expand its IP portfolio with the launch of the IRG-3401 IP Gateway module and Kaleido-IP X310
Diversified To Host Daily IP Roadshow At NAB 2019
Diversified is gearing up to host its daily 'IP Roadshow' at NAB 2019, featuring the likes of TSL Products. The initiative will see a full solution in
Qvest Equips Herold Studios With Future-Proof Sound Facilities
Qvest has equipped leading international postproduction house Herold Studios with new, future-proof sound facilities. The upgraded facilities include
PHABRIX To Take Part In IBC IP Showcase
PHABRIX is to take part in the IP Showcase at IBC 2018, demonstrating SMPTE ST 2110 support on its handheld Sx and top of the range Qx Series. The IP
The IP Showcase To Appear At METExpo 2019 In Australia
The IP Showcase will make its first appearance in Australia at METExpo (Media + Entertainment Tech Expo) 2019 in Sydney, 17-19 July. The IP Showcase w
Lineup Of Educational Presentations Announced For IP Showcase Theatre
The full lineup of educational presentations have been announced for IBC 2018 in the IP Showcase Theatre. The organisers at the IP Showcase include th
Artel To Demonstrate SMPTE ST 2110-30 Compatibility In IBC IP Showcase
Artel Video Systems is to demonstrate SMPTE ST 2110-30 and AES67 compatibility in the IP Showcase at IBC 2018. The demonstrations will highlight the i