EVS’ Score Master powers live IP production at Cisco Live 2017
Cisco TV, professional television studio and production services for worldwide IT and networking leader Cisco, produces countless of hours of broadcast-quality television for the company’s high-profile events and other initiatives worldwide each year.
It’s difficult to imagine any studio set up more sophisticated than the one at Cisco Live 2017, held in June at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas Nevada. More than 27,000 Cisco partners and industry professionals converged for four days of networking, education and inspiration-sharing. A global audience—including online, on digital signage and guest rooms—tuned in to Cisco TV 24/7 to see action from the event’s main stage and insider interviews, including Emmy Award-winning guest keynote speaker Bryan Cranston and performer Bruno Mars. Eight to nine hours of daily coverage was live, with replays overnight.
Cisco TV was outgrowing their current production workflow. The size and scope of this year’s Cisco Live event and their planned coverage required a larger router and expanded infrastructure. At the same time, Cisco wanted to show the world that IP is ready to handle the demands of live TV production and how per-flow IP routing provides the level of control, policing and monitoring required for the highest-quality and most reliable live television.
While the live TV needs of the event took priority, the onsite studio also represented an ideal time to test EVS’ new native IP routing system in real-world conditions. Given EVS’ and Cisco’s longstanding relationship and partnerships in recent years, it was an ideal time to implement EVS’ new Score Master IP routing technology into Cisco TV’s extensive onsite TV production studio.
Score Master is a broadcast controller that uses SDN network control methods to guarantee flows of bandwidth-demanding and latency-sensitive live media like live television feeds. At Cisco Live, the technology sat on top of Cisco’s IP media fabric of Nexus 9K switches and DCNM (data center network manager) that controls the network switches. The Score Master was able to handle all the routing required for event, dynamically routing native IP flows as needed from a simple web interface.
Fully AIMS compliant, Score Master orchestrates any IP flow in a Cisco spine-leaf network, supports clean switching and integrates with any existing control surface.
In addition to orchestrating the IP media fabric, Score Master interacts with nodes connected to the network using predominantly the NMOS family of specifications. The solution also includes smart edge devices as software tasks on the network—whether for an XT4K, Dyvi video production switcher or other device for any production component of the network—with dynamic multi-vendor configuration.
Extremely easy to use, the controller hides the complexity of the underlying routing and switching, making only what’s needed visible to the user.
Score Master met Cisco TV’s need for a larger routing system that would perform fast, easily and with 100% reliability. No losses or drops at any time were acceptable. Cisco’s Todd Schembri, chief engineer for the broadcast studio, explained that the EVS controller also “allowed us to thread things more effectively and gave us much more flexibility. I had some concerns coming in since the system is new but working with EVS has been great. They’ve been very supportive and the system performed flawlessly.”
This native IP live routing technology is a critical part of a new way to build a network fabric based around the data center management layer. The technology also fits into Cisco’s Media Blueprint an open system for media that aims to transform and empower workflows not completely replace them.
According to Cisco’s Bryan Bedford, global business development lead, it’s a collaboration that made sense, both due to the companies’ partnership track record but also to EVS’ history of technical innovation. “We sought a best of breed partner,” says Bedford. “If you look at the portfolio of solutions that EVS currently has and new solutions and innovations they’re building, it was only natural for us to extend our partnership to areas around live content and live environments like sports, live studios and broadcast centers.”
Cisco Live represented a successful test of a system under the strain of real-world conditions, paving the way to countless uses of the system. “We started with EVS in the sports and entertainment space, focused on venues and transforming the customer and fan experience,” explains Bedford. “We’ve segued that into the ability for consumers, content owners and broadcasters to change their workflows and provide more experiences to consumers at home – and on virtually any device.”
Looking ahead, Bedford concluded: “EVS has such a great market share and a technology advantage in the industry that Cisco certainly needed to collaborate with them, both today and moving forward.”