NAB 2023: Ross Video calls for industry involvement in open-source cloud control standard Catena

Ross Video is encouraging other vendors and end users to help develop its control and configuration standard Catena, which aims to ease the shift to cloud computing for live production.

Speaking at NAB 2023, John Naylor, Ross Video VP of Product, DashBoard and softGear, said the aim of open-source project Catena is to provide the industry with a straightforward way to integrate products and services from a range of vendors, with a simple approach to control, status reporting and configuration.

Ross Video's John Naylor at NAB 2023

Ross Video’s John Naylor at NAB 2023

He said: “The problems we are trying to solve with Catena are the inevitable issues that will arise if every vendor comes up with their own control system and customers try to make all these different control systems and different products interoperate.

“Ross Video has already solved that problem on the ground with openGear, which now has 150 partners and different vendors, all using the same operations control protocol. So having solved that problem, we now need a cloud-scale protocol that can run securely.”

OpenGear was launched in 2006 to provide a modular infrastructure platform for manufacturers. The platform offers a combination of hundreds of signal processing solutions with universal control and monitoring within Ross Video’s DashBoard ecosystem.

“What Catena does is build on the openGear protocol to be secure, cloud-scale and multivendor from the get-go,” said Naylor.

At NAB, Ross Video announced that the Catena standard will now reside under the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ (SMPTE) Rapid Industry Solution programme, which was established following the partnership between the Open Services Alliance (OSA) and SMPTE.

SMPTE has labelled Catena a “top priority” for the SMPTE/OSA partnership and said that it will “revolutionise multivendor interoperability in hybrid cloud environments”.

Naylor said: “With SMPTE, we will define this control protocol and the security around it and the device model, so people will be able to model devices or services and it will work on-prem, in the cloud and in the fog in between, so it doesn’t matter where your device or service is. Catena will deliver everything the openGear protocol does; discovery, control, configuration, monitoring, status alerting – all in a secure way, at cloud scale.”

Naylor added that Ross Video is hoping to drive adoption via open source software projects hosted on Github that have been live on the development site for a few weeks.

“There is some software up there that already defines the interface, which is protobuf (Protocol Buffers) – a Google technology for describing messages and serialising them over networks in a highly efficient binary format. And, via (open standard file format) JSON, which makes the software human-readable and writable so people can inspect the device models as JSON, author them, and convert them to binary, so it’s super-efficient.”

With Naylor leading the teams responsible for Ross Video’s control and monitoring offering DashBoard and its signal processing platform softGear, a Ross-based Catena proof of concept is also in the pipeline, he said.

“We’ll be using the same SDK that we are developing as open source in our products…other manufacturers are welcome to join our open-source project. It is a private project on Github, but we’ll support as many seats as are reasonable. So any vendor or customer that wants early access to the code or to help us write the code, we are walking the walk of open source for the benefit of the industry.

“We did it with openGear and it worked, but we learnt that if we had made an SDK available that option would have been better and faster so we want to fix that this time around, because with the cloud, there is a paradigm shift taking place.”

For more information on Catena visit Ross Video.

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters