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Scalable Software Defined Network Architectures for Cooperative Live Media Production exploiting Virtualised Production Resources and 5G Wireless Acquisition

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VIRTUOSA (Scalable Software Defined Network Architectures for Cooperative Live Media Production exploiting Virtualised Production Resources and 5G Wireless Acquisition)

Berichtszeitraum: 2019-09-01 bis 2020-08-31

Live content is of cultural and social interest for all citizen in Europe and globally; these are e.g. sport or music events, daily news, governmental speeches, or historical events. The market of live content is on the rise globally.

VIRTUOSA addresses the needs of the Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry to increase efficiency and reduce costs for media production to meet the growing consumer demand for more content on more channels and more devices and for more live content.

VIRTUOSA will transform traditional live media production through Virtualisation of network and production resources. It is a new generation of media networks based on IP technology, software-defined networking (SDN) technology, high performance computing, and cloud computing. On top, VIRTUOSA will use 5G in media production.

Our VIRTUOSA solution will make live media production more effective, simply scalable, and less costly. It enables sharing production facilities, equipment, resources, and talents across locations with >1000 km in distance. Production costs will be reduced by up to 40% while more live content will be produced simultaneously.

Our VIRTUOSA product consists of three core elements (see photo 2):
1) Architecture: a tailor-made Network Architecture solution for SDN-based LAN & WAN and 5G acquisition;
2) Equipment: high performance SDN-based Media Server and Media router (Ethernet/IP switches);
3) Software for Media Network Management and Service Orchestration.
According to the need of our end-users - broadcasters, content producers, media service providers - tailor-made solutions for installation at their facilities with and without the connection to remote locations (remote studio, stadium, event) will be designed.

The overall objective of the VIRTUOSA project is to demonstrate and validate our new VIRTUOSA product in operational environment and to complete commercial and production preparations for product launch within this project.

Key objective is to validate our VIRTUOSA products in a live production set-up combining broadcast facilities and remote studios connected by IP networks (both LAN and WAN), combined with remote live contributions from cameras connected via a 5G network (see photo 3). Our VIRTUOSA solution involves VIRTUOSA products developed by NEVION and MELLANOX as well as 3rd party equipment from various vendors.

This will be done in three phases:
Phase 1: LAN pilot system for LIVE Media Production at a broadcast facility using IP based Local Area Network (LAN) to connect studio, control room and studio equipment.
Phase 2: WAN pilot system for LIVE Remote Media Production using IP based LAN and WAN (Wide Area Network) to connect a broadcast facility with a remote location (e.g. studio, sports event).
Phase 3: 5G pilot system for Live Remote Media Production including 5G wireless content acquisition to connect to a professional camera using 5G wireless networks.
In Period 1, the VIRTUOSA Consortium has successfully verified and validated the first VIRTUOSA pilot system - the LAN pilot system (Phase 1) - in an operational environment, namely for live media production in broadcasting facilities using an IP based Local Area Network (LAN) to virtual connect studio, control room and studio equipment.

The LAN pilot system is a complete VIRTUOSA product solution tailor-made for the use in IRT’s broadcasting facilities in Munich (Germany). This involved setting up an IP-based studio, built on industry standards (SMPTE ST 2110 and NMOS) and integrating equipment from multiple vendors, including: video cameras, a vision mixer, and a server from SONY; a multiviewer from TAG VIDEO SYSTEMS; an audio mixer from STAGETEC; a media analyzer from TELESTREAM; a PTP-compliant time and frequency synchronization from MEINBERG; IP switches from MELLANOX; software-defined media nodes from NEVION; and all of it managed by the orchestration and SDN control system from NEVION.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have done an initial setup and tests at NEVION in Gdansk, Poland (see photo 4) and have shipped the LAN pilot system as entirety to IRT’s facilities for final setup (see photo 5) and independent verification and validation in an operational broadcast environment by IRT engineers.
IRT has conducted a long list of standardised tests for system verification and validation in operation. The test results have proven that the VIRTUOSA LAN pilot system and its components are fully compliant with the relevant SMPTE, AES and IEEE standards. On top, the VIRTUOSA LAN pilot system has demonstrated an extremely high stability, suitable for high quality live media production. The technical tests did not show any critical problems in the whole LAN pilot system. All components have worked problem-free and has shown a high reliability.

In parallel, the Consortium has promoted the VIRTUOSA project and its first success through various communication and dissemination activities focusing to raise awareness and gain traction in Europe and abroad as one of the frontrunner in the use of Virtualisation and 5G.

Key activities in numbers:
- 4 press releases
- 49 articles in the press (press release coverage)
- 11 other articles in the press
- 2 videos
- 17 event contributions.

At least 60 articles published in the press and presentations on 17 events, both of which mostly international, have led to a great visibility of the VIRTUOSA project and its results and success, of each of our companies, and of the awarded EU funding in Europe and globally.
Estimated 1.1 million people have been reached worldwide in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East/Africa; about 4,650 people directly in events.
Outstanding is VIRTUOSA’s reach out to international industry associations (i.e. IABM, International Trade Association for the Broadcast & Media Industry) and international industry working groups (i.e. AIMS, Alliance for IP Media Solutions) which are the representants of the Media industry and act as multiplying bodies to reach out to a huge number of potential customers. This stakeholder group helps to cross-disseminate and widely multiply the key messages and results of the VIRTUOSA project.

Check out deliverable D6.4 Periodic Report on Communication activities for activities done in Period 1.
At project end, we will have three market ready product solutions, full-scale tested and technical, operational, and economical validated, build up our supply and distribution network and be ready for market launch.

The VIRTUOSA project will significantly boost our growth, enhance our profitability, and enable scalability of our business towards European and global business opportunities, while creating new jobs.

VIRTUOSA will aid solving the industrial and societal challenges of the Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry to increase efficiency and reduce cost for media production to meet the growing consumer demand for more content on more channels and more devices and for more live content, which will make the European M&E industry more competitive. Moreover, VIRTUOSA supports EC’s Media Policies that empower European citizens to enjoy seamless and interactive experiences and letting them access any content from anywhere in Europe.

VIRTUOSA will support H2020 objectives to strengthen the industrial leadership in Information and Communication Technologies (i.e. Digitising European industry, HPC, Cloud, 5G, Future Production Networks).
Photo 4: Initial setup of the LAN pilot system at NEVION in Gdansk, Poland
Photo 1: Project logo & Partners (NEVION, MELLANOX, LOGIC, IRT)
Photo 5: Final setup of the LAN pilot system at IRTs broadcasting facility in Germany
Photo 2: Products for cooperative LIVE Media Production developed by NEVION and MELLANOX
Photo 3: 3 Use Cases: Live Media Production in facilities (LAN), remote (LAN/WAN), 5G acquisition