The AES and OCA Alliance have established an AES standards project to consider Open Control Architecture as a standard for control and monitoring of professional media networks.

The goal of the project – AES-X210, Open Control Architecture (OCA) – is to produce a public, open and royalty-free communications protocol standard for reliable and secure control and monitoring of interconnected audio devices in networks of two to 10,000 elements. When complete, it is hoped that OCA will find broad acceptance in the media systems industry, and open a new era in standardised, interoperable control of devices from diverse manufacturers.

OCA will be a control and monitoring standard, not a media transport standard. It is intended to operate seamlessly with a wide range of media transport standards (such as AES-X192, High-performance streaming audio-over-IP interoperability, which is currently in development and IEEE AVB). Together, these standards will enable complete network application solutions for future media networks that include both media transport and system control functionality.

OCA is substantially based on work done in the early 1990s by the AES24 project, a pioneering effort in network system control. Although AES24 never reached full standards status, it offered a number of advanced concepts, which have found their way into various developments over the years.

The AES-X210 task group, part of AES working group SC-02-12 on Audio Applications of Networks, will be meeting to render the current OCA 1.1 specification into standards form and progress it through the AES’ open standards process. During this period, the OCA Alliance will undertake various initiatives to support the work of AES-X210, and to define proposals for future extensions to the standard. The full standards participation policy is available from the AES Standards website.

‘AES Standards has been deeply involved with standards for digital audio since starting work in 1977,’ says AES Standards Committee Chair, Bruce C. Olson. ‘The AES-X210 project to standardise OCA takes us to the next important milestone by integrating control with transport of audio over a variety of networks. Combined with a number of other projects in this exciting area of audio the AES continues to lead the world in audio standards, which enable a thriving marketplace for compatible products from competing manufacturers. We are very pleased to collaborate with the leading manufacturers in the OCA Alliance on this standards project.’

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