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Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

Lightware’s latest engineering concept is the UBEX optical scaling extender. UBEX is a high bandwidth, long distance, uncompressed audio-video signal transmission system, which is a revolutionary product (and solution) in the professional audio-video segment: there is no any other company on the market that could serve the clients with Ethernet/IP based, uncompressed, 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 AV transmission system with low or even zero latency distribution.

The design features a new, optical configuration, which allows 4K UHD@60Hz 4:4:4 uncompressed signal extension with latency-free multistreaming. In case of the final version of UBEX the video compression level of the signal can be freely set by the user. Using visually lossless compression, UBEX is able to extend two UHD signals over a single 10 Gbps Ethernet port. This results in a massive cost saving on the required Ethernet switch side, as with UBEX only half the router size is required compared to the needs of other 10 Gbps IP based architectures.

One of the prime advantages of this new architecture is scalability. The maximum reachable distance can be adjusted to vary between 400 m and 100 km, depending on the type of optical modules installed in the device and the signal properties. UBEX has a bandwidth of up to 40 Gbps as the user’s application requires, the number of fibers required for the transfer depends on the link speed and the optical modules used: for 10 Gbps one or two fibers, for 20 Gbps two or four fibers, for 40 Gbps four or eight fibers are needed. Transceiver operation mode is also available.

UBEX can work both in a complex network with the use of a standard Ethernet switch, and it can also work in a point-to-point setup, as a traditional optical extender pair. The extender also features audio, Gigabit Ethernet connections per link, and optionally full speed USB 2.0 USB HID, RS-232 and IR connectors.

In order to make easier the usage and maximize the applicability of UBEX product in big systems a controller was developed for users. This Matrix Management Unit is required to control and supervise a virtual matrix, which can be created by connecting UBEX units as input and output endpoints to an Ethernet switch acting as crosspoint.

Typical applications for UBEX include large office building environments, yacht and other high-end residential systems, rental and staging environments.
The project implementation has started after the market need identification and the technology innovation which could fulfill the needs was demonstrated. The first task was to make a product requirement specification which includes both commercial and technological aspects. To reach this we have involved market partners and potential customers among our own sales, marketing, purchasing, manufacturing and engineering teams.
Based on the product design specification the development has been split into different work packages which could run parallel. This way we could perform the needed hardware, software, and user interface development tasks efficiently synchronized.
The hardware development included electrical schematics, printed circuit board and also mechanical enclosure design. Meanwhile the software and FPGA programming teams were making progress with evaluation boards. These also helped the iterative development as the partial functions could have been demonstrated to stakeholders and even to customers.
The product commercialization and dissemination was started early enough to gather customer attention. Even before the demonstration of a working product was possible, the marketing feedback was positive: The ProAV market showed high demand in the uncompromised video over Ethernet solutions.
On the strength of the market needs and our achievements, we have decided to release a limited functionality product even sooner as the original project plan. Task schedules were modified to launch the product assoon aspossible and make the product unique and future proof on the market with later upgrades.
The potential customers gave valuable feedback on the necessary functions which helped us to prioritize and schedule the rest of the developments.
The hardware of the device performed well on the design verification tests. Both electrical, EMC, thermal and video compliance tests were passed. The software and FPGA programming is done in iterations. New features are added in each new release. The releases are scheduled for 3-5 months intervals and each iteration includes implementation and testing tasks as well.

The null-series production was successful, thus the first batch of mass production was started as well. We have also received some purchase orders from the first customers.

Our sales channels are continuously receiving interest for the product and we are consulting with integrators on potential sales projects.
Lightware’s key market is Pro-AV industry, which shows a standard, continuous development in volume, worldwide.
In the Age of Information everything is about sending and receiving information and the hunger of users are continuously growing. The trend is to create higher standards and impress the users. The higher standards mean more information to transfer which require new technologies and solutions. In order to optimal operating, sustainability and cost efficiency we are always on our way to develop such systems which are able to meet to the new challenges and content the requirements.
With our newly developed audio-video signal transfer system we are going to provide a really usable solution for the market. During the concept design we bear in mind next to the high quality the product must be cost efficient and flexibly usable in big system as well as in small one.
One of the biggest trends in the professional AV industry is networked AV, the ability to distribute audio and video signals over the IT network. AV over IP stands for “Audio-Visual over Internet Protocol”. Essentially, it is the transmission of audio-visual data over a network such as a LAN, WAN, or the internet.
User demand has contributed to the growing popularity of huddle rooms, with many organizations today turning small office spaces into casual meeting rooms and empowering teams with collaborative workplaces. Simplicity, whether for a huddle room or larger meeting space, is key. Automation and artificial intelligence are going to play big roles in the future for the very reason that these technologies will simplify meeting tasks and the overall experience. Business leaders are leveraging real-time, media-rich content in the form of high-definition videos to better communicate with their customers, employees and partners. Audiovisual devices have become common tools in business. AV over IP products can be integrated into existing networks without having to install separate cabling systems. This flexibility gives the opportunity for many AV projects to be converted to a feasible solution, and opens the door for further collaboration of Audio-visual applications and IT services.
The product entered into a sub-segment that provides solely Ethernet based 4K, uncompressed, long distance transmission of 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 signals with low or zero latency, providing the utmost image quality for high-end users even with over 160+ video port networking units. These features are rated a very strong competitive advantage on the market.