Lawo Unveils New Home For Managing And Securing IP Infrastructures

While many professionals have come to understand how to configure IP-based infrastructures to handle the distribution of audio and video files, managing specific devices on the network has been extremely complex, at best. Recognizing this, Lawo has developed a new software management platform called Home that makes it easy to set up, manage and benefit from the flexibility, scalable nature and signal-agnostic design that comes with IP infrastructures.

Home addresses production orchestration concerns via a single user interface. This UI leverages the company's Unified Experience (Lux) software while providing a framework for conceiving, designing, and building solutions that spans the entire Lawo product portfolio. However, the capabilities provided by Home are not limited to a single, independent UI. For example, Lawo’s mc² console control surfaces also integrate Home functionality to take advantage of the LUX design language. The company’s existing Signal List has been updated to reflect the new interaction patterns. While it is still instantly recognizable on the network, it is now more powerful and flexible to accommodate remote production across the globe, according to Andreas Hilmer, director of Marketing & Communications at Lawo.

The platform lets users take advantage of an IT-centric approach to scaling these networks up or down, via microservices, to gain the most efficient use of available resources. Setup and configuration time is cut significantly while security and signal management help orchestrate smooth and reliable workflows, both locally and remotely. It’s a network discovery and processing solution that Lawo said broadcasters and production teams have been asking about for the past year.

A new UI makes it easy to discover and share devices on the IP network and utilize them for a specific production one day and another the next.

A new UI makes it easy to discover and share devices on the IP network and utilize them for a specific production one day and another the next.

“Setup efficiency is key to what we do,” said Jason Taubman, senior vice president of technology for Game Creek Video, a mobile television production provider in the U.S. “Often our trucks are asked to arrive at an event at 12:00 and we’re expected to be on the air, fully functional, by 7:00 PM that same day. We don’t yet have a single application that pulls it all together and does all of the discovery and everything else to make our workflows go seamlessly.”

The software is designed to connect, manage, and secure all aspects and instances of live production environments, providing the tools and centralized services for effective interaction of engineers with their tools.

Home makes it easy to set up cloud-hosted deployments, whether they are hosted locally, remotely, or even at a third-party data center. It’s cloud-native design makes it able to run anywhere, irrespective of the system’s size. With Home, the cloud starts at the home facility, private and locally. It then turns an array of devices, setups, sites, hubs, and data centers into a powerful and agile network that can be used for one production one day and another—with a completely different system configuration, the next. It allows you to spin up or down processing functionality on demand to precisely meet the needs of your current production and then release the computing resources for use elsewhere when you are done.

“Cloud-native means that you can create virtual audio and video audio processing services from pools of computing resources,” said Patrick Warrington, Head of R&D at Lawo. “These resources may be private or public cloud services and can be hosted locally or remotely when connected over IP networks.”

Home’s device management comes with a built-in quarantining process to separate unknown devices from the operational network.

Home’s device management comes with a built-in quarantining process to separate unknown devices from the operational network.

Inside the Home app, discovery of devices is automatic, while registering and admitting them to the network is accomplished with the push of a button.

Registration and discovery of existing solutions and simplifying the deployment of setups, two key challenges to smooth production workflows, is handled by an agile management strategy that features automatic discovery of compatible devices, which are registered in one central location with their name, location, status, and type. This applies to both, Lawo and third-party solutions, like NMOS IS-04/5.

Devices unknown to Home will get quarantined when they appear in the network, guarding the network against interoperability problems. All registered resources show up in an inventory list, which acts as the entry point into device–specific configurations. And due to its cloud-native architecture, Home serves as the mission control for these processes. It provides fast access to device parameters through a unified user interface made for easy tweaking, irrespective of the end point being controlled.

“The interoperability between devices on a network today is not straightforward and needs mechanisms to have an easy implementation of different vendors,” said Christian Gobbel, CTO at HBS, specialists in host broadcast services. “NMOS ISO-5 and ISO-4 is not fully supporting all features of the more complex equipment in our installations.”

Seamless operability is addressed by giving operators the ability to control device parameters directly via Home’s intuitive user interface, without the need for a separate controller. This makes operations more efficient.

Lawo's Home infrastructure management platform ensures successful local and remote productions using IP signal processing and routing.

Lawo's Home infrastructure management platform ensures successful local and remote productions using IP signal processing and routing.

Lawo is quick to point out that Home does not replace the broadcast controller: it complements it and helps to speed up configuration and operation. An extensive array of aspects can be edited within Home, such as settings on the routing page, audio parameter control, connecting virtual mixers to physical surfaces, channel mapping and stream parameterization, labeling, and license management.

Finally, Home addresses content security to protect content created by a production crew and transported over a network— whatever its origin and route. Lawo's Hilmer said that while a robust security system needs to cover all aspects of media infrastructure and content creation, the key to Home lies in its simplicity, its initial design and deployment as well as in its on-going maintenance and support. It uses a system-wide authentication strategy based on a centralized user management system, with dedicated user roles, groups, and rights. The LDAP-based service allows users to authenticate either locally, within Home, or via their own corporate IT infrastructure.

In addition, Home’s architecture is designed for managing services such as transport layer security for user interfaces, control data and media essences. Well-established IT security mechanisms, including HTTPS, RADIUS, MACsec and IPsec, are used.

At the end of the day, the Home platform makes it easy and less costly to deploy new services by leveraging IP’s true potential. Discovery and registration, security, device management, operability and agility are all important components of the new Home infrastructure management platform. It’s a home for all the tasks required to ensure a successful IP production that provides access to the right processing tools when they are needed most.

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