On AVoX: Datapath

John Storey, CTO and R&D Director at Datapath
(Image credit: Future)

AVT Question: Please share insight into the current state of networked AV and control; what you see as barriers to entry; and what advice can you offer on how AV/IT managers can overcome limited resources or a lack of buy-in.

Thought Leader: John Storey, CTO and R&D Director at Datapath

The past few years have shown how essential it is to collate and share accurate data. Critical decisions are based on information available, so it makes absolute sense to make these decisions with as much relevant information as possible—whether that’s from camera feeds, news sources or other dedicated information sources.

Squeezing sources over an IP network brings visual quality considerations, and perhaps most importantly for command and control, and latency issues." — John Storey, CTO and R&D Director at Datapath

Being able to instantly transform any video wall display for different emergency situations is now a standard practice in many mission-critical and emergency control rooms, but simply having a rigid display on a video wall is underutilizing what is possible for maximum efficiency. As media has become more routable—and that’s very much thanks to AV over IP—you can bring information together in front of operators in many different ways. And with those advances in display technology, a lot of that can now be shared at operator workstations, and beyond if necessary.

To meet the needs for the growing complexity in control room environments, Datapath has brought to market a platform that is as suitable for modest control rooms as it is to large, multi-source and multi-site organizations—able to design, manage, and monitor entire systems from a single interface. 

Named Aetria, this platform provides a central interface for all configuration and control, bringing numerous benefits to efficiency, reliability, and the ability for full and fluid collaboration. Datapath has developed a solution that allows these workstations to operate as their own personal video wall, displaying any content as they see fit, as well as being able to share anything to any display in the control room environment, or even externally.

Datapath has developed a world-first technology that allows optimum quality video to be shared over 1Gb and 10Gb networks simultaneously, with no visual impact on latency and image quality. A 4K video source can be viewed and shared, as both 4K and HD, on a 10Gb network, while also being transferred more widely on a lesser 1Gb network, for example.

It also brings significant security and deployment considerations. Squeezing sources over an IP network brings visual quality considerations, and perhaps most importantly for command and control, and latency issues. Unless the use of encoded video streams (typically H.264/5) for the primary control aspect is immediately written out, the high encoding latency makes real-time control clunky and difficult to use in practice. The commoditization of 10Gb networking components now allows uncompressed or visually lossless compression techniques to be employed that don’t incur the same latency penalty.

Clearly, data security in the control room is vital, and end users need to know that their systems are as safe as possible. With Datapath’s Aetria solution, security is built in. All connections are secured with enterprise-grade AES encryption, and user sessions and APIs are secured with TLS encryption. Finally, the role-based user rights management functionality can be used standalone or integrated with an existing enterprise identity and access management platform.

AV Technology's Thought Leader Series on AVoX

Check out what other industry thought leaders have to say about the state of networked AV. A full list with links can be found at the bottom of the On AVoX, the Intro Article

Cindy Davis
Brand and content director of AV Technology

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology. Davis enjoys exploring the ethos of experiential spaces as well as diving deep into the complex topics that shape the AV/IT industry. In 2012, the TechDecisions brand of content sites she developed for EH Publishing was named one of “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 20 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. From 2000 to 2008, Davis was the publisher and editor-in-chief of Electronic House. From 2009 to present, as the principal of CustomMedia.Co, Davis developed content plans and delivered content for associations such as IEEE Standards Association and AVIXA, content marketing for Future Plc, and numerous AV/IT companies. Davis was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners, and sampling local IPAs.