Ross Video Wins Technical Emmy for openGear

Ross Video wins Emmy for openGear modular frame, creating a universal platform for signal processing cards.

Until now, if you wanted a frame to hold signal processing cards (among other technologies) you had to be locked into any of a number of proprietary designs from individual companies, and that could result in a lot of waste and redundancy.

David Ross, CEO of Ross Video

David Ross, CEO of Ross Video

Ross Video’s initiative to break this roadblock was rewarded with a Technical Emmy from The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) that will be presented on Friday, January 8th, 2016 at the 67th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards in the Bellagio Grand Ballroom at The Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

“I like to joke we made a metal box and we won an Emmy,” said David Ross, the firm’s CEO and majority shareholder after returning to his Ottawa office from a trade show in Amsterdam. “It was pretty exciting and pretty gratifying.”

If it sounds like a non-proprietary modular frame is kind of boring next to other awards such as the Emmy given for “Phonetic Indexing and Timing” won by Nexidia, Inc., or the prize for “Development of High Density Video Switching" received by MACOM, the glory of openGear actually lies in its tremendous relevance to many other companies.

“This is the kind of recognition from the industry we’ve been striving for a long time,” Eric Goodmurphy, director of infrastructure business at Ross Video told The Broadcast Bridge. “We started openGear at NAB 2006 with the idea of making this platform available to all of our customers.”

Eric Goodmurphy, director of infrastructure business at Ross Video.

Eric Goodmurphy, director of infrastructure business at Ross Video.

Previously, all card frames were based on proprietary technology which locked customers into a single equipment provider. But Ross Video believed in open standards.

“Now we have over 80 partners who make cards for our openGear modular frames,” Goodmurphy said. “We provide the frame for up to 20 processing cards, redundant power supplies, the control system of network cards called Dashboard, the front I/O modules and the rear connectors. There is also an Ethernet interface that lets you control the frame remotely. At the end of the day, openGear is just a modular frame, just four pieces of metal bent to hold cards, that provides a gateway for almost unlimited technology to support a myriad of other systems.”

Dashboard control panel

Dashboard control panel

The point is that anyone can create cards for an openGear modular frame, so no customer is ever locked in to proprietary technology.

“When someone joins the openGear community, we give them the specifications needed to design their system to conform to the requirements of our protocols,” Goodmurphy told TBB. “Before the advent of openGear, you could go into any television facility and see multiple racks from multiple manufacturers because none of them made technology that solved all of the user’s needs. With openGear you just need one rack that can hold cards from a wide variety of system designers to meet a wide variety of needs.”

The openGear 3.0 frame offers optional gigabit Ethernet to every slot within the OG3-FR chassis

The openGear 3.0 frame offers optional gigabit Ethernet to every slot within the OG3-FR chassis

To play devil’s advocate, TBB pointed out this robbed Ross Video of the potentially profitable stranglehold of forcing customers to purchase future equipment to match the proprietary design of what they already have.

Goodmurphy just laughed. “Once a facility has picked a trademarked format and a brand-name control system, it is 10 times harder for me as a manufacturer to get in to sell them something new,” he said. “But with an open gear platform, it is much easier to convince customers that they will have many more options for their future purchases. It just makes sense from a business point of view.”

Quint-Split Multi-Image Expandable Display Processor from Cobalt

Quint-Split Multi-Image Expandable Display Processor from Cobalt

And if that doesn’t tweak your excitement about an open source modular frame, Goodmurphy has one more point to make.

“Consider the number of smaller companies who have the ability to design and produce signal processing cards, but not the facility to create their own frame with all the control systems, power supplies, and EMC/EMI (Electromagnetic Interference and Compatibility) certification involved,” he postulated. “This open source approach of openGear gets them into the game.”

openGear rear panel

openGear rear panel

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