EVS complements its live production solution portfolio by acquiring broadcast network infrastructure specialist AXON

EVS strategically expands its global footprint, enabling customers to benefit from the most comprehensive and integrated range of media infrastructure solutions for live productions. EVS, a leading provider of live video technology for broadcast and new media productions, today announces the acquisition of leading broadcast and media network infrastructure specialist Axon.

With development centers in the Netherlands and the UK, and more than 80 team members, Axon has a rich 30-year history of technology innovation. The company has an international presence in the live broadcast infrastructure market, including mobile trucks and data centers, and a product portfolio that complements EVS’ existing live production offering.

As an industry leader in live production, EVS offers high-performance solutions that enable the creation of the most compelling live stories delivered by broadcast and media producers around the world. In early 2020, EVS’ leadership team revealed the PLAYForward program, a global company growth strategy that identified the importance of developing a broader offering of modular and flexible IP infrastructure.

Integrating Axon’s product portfolio will allow EVS to offer customers the most extensive live production infrastructure on the market, enabling optimized resource management, greater scalability and faster deployment across multiple sites for remote live operations. It will also enable EVS customers to implement turnkey solutions to smoothly migrate their infrastructure towards IP and remote production-based workflows.

This acquisition, the largest in EVS’ history, will position EVS as the only technology company able to provide a comprehensive modern media infrastructure solution that includes advanced IP processing, SDI/IP conversion, SDN-based control and monitoring, as well as UHD-4K and IP multiviewer. The unrivalled combination of EVS’ Score Master SDN IP orchestrator, with Axon’s Cerebrum control and monitoring system, Neuron IP stream processing platform and the extensive Synapse modular infrastructure platform, will provide a scalable and redundant end-to-end solution to empower customers everywhere. This mutually beneficial deal also allows EVS to further expand its global footprint and leverage its international presence to accelerate the reach of Axon’s expertise and technology. Additionally, EVS will benefit from Axon’s extensive relationships with channel partners, while also broadening the reach of its industry-leading product portfolio to different distribution channels.

“We’re extremely excited about the opportunities this acquisition will provide us and our customers over the coming months and years,” said EVS CEO Serge Van Herck. “Axon’s strong broadcast reputation and expertise, combined with our shared customer service-focused philosophy, make this marriage a perfect fit. It will enable us to deliver the most comprehensive media infrastructure solutions on the market.”

Axon CEO Michiel Van Duijvendijk commented: “This deal offers a major growth opportunity for both businesses, bringing together two innovative and proven product portfolios to form a unique end-to-end offering. We’re looking forward to joining the EVS team and working together to provide our customers with all the tools they need to power their journey towards IP-based media production.”

Benoit Quirynen, EVS’ SVP Strategy added: “In Axon, we’ve found an ideal partner. Its products match our vision of a centralized control model with distributed scalable resources. The company’s in-house expertise in FPGA and broadcast infrastructure, as well as other operational models, perfectly complement our research and development processes.”

Axon CTO Peter Schut concluded: “Our merger with EVS is a unique combination in the industry. With no overlapping products we will achieve maximum synergies. Our established Synapse modular infrastructure range has a proven track record in the most demanding applications, and the recently introduced Neuron Platform, the world’s first true Network Attached Processor designed for real time IP workflows, are perfect additions to EVS’ product range. Combined with Cerebrum, our popular, powerful and flexible control system, this adds the overarching control layer over both companies’ products. I can see a fantastic shared future for both companies.”

The Axon brand will be absorbed into EVS over the coming weeks and its product portfolio will be integrated into EVS’ global solution offering. The objective is to integrate Axon team members and to further invest in their technology and market expertise.

Axon generated EUR 17.5 million of revenues in 2019. The value of the transaction is set at EUR 10.5 million, plus an earn-out up to a maximum of EUR 2.5 million. The acquisition will be paid by cash and debt.

For all details you can download the press release here.

For frequently asked questions go to the FAQ-sheet.

 

Off the shelf Neuron IP processing and Cerebrum Control and Monitoring products, which are already being used to deliver real world IP workflows, will form the centerpiece of Axon’s PRE-NABSHOW TOUR 2020 that gets underway in March.

A truck equipped with Axon’s powerful technology will visit eight different countries, giving broadcast professionals the opportunity to see the company’s latest developments in action ahead of this year’s NAB Exhibition that takes place in Las Vegas in April. The truck, which will also feature products from partner companies Sony, EVS, Arista, Meinberg and Calrec, will travel to 16 different locations around Europe from March 2nd to 24th.

The Axon PRE-NABSHOW TOUR 2020 allows broadcasters to experience tomorrow’s workflows by getting on board today. The products demonstrated on the truck will be exactly the same as those on display at Axon’s booth at NAB, so this will also provide a perfect opportunity for people who are not going to Las Vegas to get up-close and personal with Axon’s solutions.

“This tour follows on from the success of our IP Innovations Tour, which took place last summer,” says Axon’s CCO Karel van der Flier. “We are focusing on two applications – Live Production and MCR/Playout – for which our Neuron IP processor and Cerebrum Control and Monitoring software are extremely suitable. Customers will have the opportunity to see how these innovative, off the shelf products can bring more efficiency, convenience, flexibility and quality to their workflows. They can also talk to our Product Managers and Solutions Architects and get expert advice on how these new technologies can be adapted to their own needs.”

The set-up in the truck focusses on workflows for Live Production and for MCR/Playout, with Cerebrum IP Control and Monitoring software connecting the systems into one ecosystem. The truck also highlights dynamic HDR<>SDR conversion using Neuron, as well as Neuron’s integration of the JPEG-XS codec that allows the bandwidth of signals with low latency to be reduced for long-haul applications. Axon is also showing how Neuron can solve ST2110-30 stream/channel routing related issues by demonstrating it in conjunction with a large audio matrix/shuffler.

“The worklows in the truck show that Axon Neuron and Cerebrum work seamlessly together with all current standards such as SDI, ST2110, 2020 etc, and also with leading brands such as EVS, Sony, Arista and Meinberg,” Karel van der Flier adds. “We really value the opportunity to work with our partners on this tour and we are delighted that they, too, will be showing new products. EVS, for example, is integrating its new S-CORE Master with Cerebrum, which will highlight how the two products can work together for IP Orchestration.”

Axon’s Pre-NABSHOW Tour 2020 starts at Manchester Media City on March 2nd and then travels to number of other UK destinations before heading to France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Belgium.

The final destination is Las Vegas, where the exact same set up will be on show at Axon’s booth C1325.

Find all tour locations and information here.

Axon is happy to announce that Jeroen van der Voort joins Axon as Director Project Operations. Jeroen will focus on all areas of project management.

Before Jeroen joined Axon, he spent 9 years with Viacom CBS as Director of Broadcast projects and development where he was responsible for portfolio management, building a playout of over 60 channels in Amsterdam (using Cerebrum), implementing complex systems as well as managing a team of project managers.

Jeroen brings a wealth of broadcast experience and started his professional career in 2000 when he joined Mediakabel which was the first company in The Netherlands to develop and distribute Digital TV using DVB-C. He joined Tele2 as a technical product manager to support the rollout of their IPTV platform to monetize their acquired soccer rights and moved to Technicolor, now Red Bee, as a project manager to implement various broadcast related projects for NPO and other Red Bee customers.

Gilze, The Netherlands. December 12th 2019: Driven by growing market demand for 4K production, leading UK Outside Broadcast specialist Cloudbass has become the first company in the world to create a truly end-to-end, multivendor UHD IP HDR Outside Broadcast vehicle based on the ST2110 standard and with Axon’s Neuron signal processing technology at its core.

OB9, a 20 camera truck built from the ground up with help from systems integrator ES Broadcast, brings together best of breed products from many different manufacturers including Arista, Evertz, GVG, Ross, Calrec, Riedel and Sony. It uses Axon technology to seamlessly integrate them into a fast and highly flexible workflow that is perfectly suited to live sports coverage that forms the bulk of Cloudbass’ business. The sophistication of Axon’s technology also allows Cloudbass to future-proof its facilities and stay at the top of its game.

In total, OB9 features 21 Neuron units, each packed with a plethora of processing features such as edge synchronizers and converters. Every unit offers an impressive 200 Gb/s and 64 1080p signals or 16 UHD channels with up to 80 SDI connectors, all in a single 1RU.

“Neuron’s processing power means that it can do a lot more in just one box,” says Cloudbass Technical Director Michael Beaumont. “As a result, we need less hardware and external glue, which reduces the weight of the truck and makes is cheaper and easier to move, without impacting on workflow.”

One of the main technical challenges of this project was integrating the ST2110 standard because different manufacturers use different block packing methods to transmit and receive data. Michael says Axon’s onsite support team helped identify these challenges during the build phase and worked hard to overcome them.

“Axon Neuron accepts streams from any of the kit in the truck no matter what packing method or standard the manufacturer is using, making it by far the most flexible piece on equipment we have,” he says. “By removing the need for lots of external processing, Neuron gives the truck enormous flexibility, which proved particularly invaluable during our first UHD job for Sky Sports Boxing. Having up/down/cross conversion available to every path allowed me to run the truck internally UHD/3G and down-convert all of the feeds required for the other broadcasters onsite. Without Neuron, the amount of extra external glue required to provide frame-sync, colour correction and Up/Down/Cross conversion on every router input/output would be unimaginable.”

Michael adds that combining Neuron with Axon’s Cerebrum Control and Monitoring software was key to best of breed integration and guarantees an unprecedented level of control, all in one GUI.

“In our unique IP environment, interoperability of signals works well but controlling all the endpoint devices is still more complex than in traditional systems,” Michael explains. “Cerebrum helps hide some of the complexities to the operators, and in some cases gives us critical work arounds to issues that are still to be resolved in hardware. A great feature of using Cerebrum with the Neuron platform is having the ability to create visual pages that can control and monitor many different signal statuses usually read from multiple devices. This helps our engineers diagnose issues and faults.”

OB9 was officially unveiled this Autumn and has already been deployed on major projects for Sky Sports, including the UEFA Football Euro 2020 Qualifiers, and for the RugbyX Tournament on ITV.

“We covered eight major OBs in the truck’s first 40 days, which is a very tall order for a truck build that only commenced in August,” Michael says. “Without Axon technology this would have been a very different truck. My hope is that, once even more new features for the Neuron are released and IP connectivity becomes standardised on other items of equipment, OB9 will continue to evolve to keep up with new requirements not even dreamt of yet.”

If you would more information about this exciting project, please visit this link where you will find an indepth Q&A with Cloudbass’ Michael Beaumont.

UK Outside Broadcast specialist Cloudbass has become the first outside broadcast company in the world to transform an existing OB truck from HD-SDI to UHD IP using Axon Digital Design’s next generation signal processing technology.

The transformation allows Cloudbass to offer broadcasters all the flexibility and speed of a fully IP workflow. It also cements the company’s position as one of the most technically advanced broadcast solutions providers operating in the UK.

Upgrading the 20 camera vehicle took just five weeks to complete and involved a total refurbishment of all working areas, as well as the installation of a full IP solution based around Axon’s recently launched Neuron Network Attached Processor (NAP). This gateway product, which was designed to address the needs of complex IP and hybrid-IP environments, supports the latest industry standards by handling uncompressed SD, HD, 3G and UHD signals based on the ST2022-6 and ST2110 specifications.

Michael Beaumont, Cloudbass Technical Director outlined the reasons why the Axon Neuron/Cerebrum solution was chosen: “From the outset we were looking for a future proof scalable solution we could use to effectively “add” an IP layer into ANY of our existing or future fleet. As soon as Axon showed us the initial ideas for the Neuron we knew it would be an exciting product. Our relationship is one of trust and innovation that allowed us to research and develop the build. We now have an outstanding product and concept that can be transplanted into ANY of our trucks. That will help us continually deliver our services cost-effectively for our clients and help future-proof our UHD services. The knowledge. skill-set and determination of Axon has ensured that our partnership is a highly successful one.”

“The build was achieved by using a core infrastructure of seven fully populated Neurons to provide IP Gateway, routing and processing” adds Adrian Richmond, Axon’s Director of Sales for the UK, Ireland and Africa. “Neuron is packed with features like edge synchronizers and converters for processing streams before they enter the core router. It also offers an impressive 200 Gb/s and 64 1080p signals or 16 UHD channels with up to 80 SDI connectors, all in a single 1RU. By acting as a bridge between SDI and IP, Neuron allowed Cloudbass to decide what equipment it wanted to keep and what it wanted to replace. Anything that couldn’t be connected directly to Cloudbass’ new IP switchers could be easily channeled through Neuron and brought into the IP domain.”

Dear Axon partners & customers, thank you all so much for attending our pre-NAB truck tour, we received an amazing response with great feedback. Under the current circumstances we feel that postponing any further travel is the responsible thing to do for now, we’ll be in touch to reschedule dates and continue the tour when things settle down so please have a regular look at our website. On behalf of the Axon team, see you later this year!

This customizable control and monitoring system, which is fast becoming the control solution of choice for many of the world’s top broadcasters, offered the advanced functionality and broad range of features that TF1 needed to manage its audio/video processing, multiviewer and tally/UMD management.

Cyril Bernard, TF1’s Support & System Manager, says: “When we planned to replace our traditional central router with a new Riedel distributed audio/video router, we realized that we needed a versatile control system that could handle incoming feeds and audio returns for our control rooms. We looked at various systems on the market but chose Cerebrum because it met all our criteria and was so simple to use that even non-technical staff such as journalists could easily get to grips with it.”

By acting as the nerve centre for all routing Cerebrum simplifies multi device monitoring and control onto one easy-to-use interface. It supports a wide range of devices from different manufacturers – including routers, production switchers, servers, receiver decoders, multiviewers and waveform monitors – using either SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) or third party protocols.

TF1 operate five television channels in France as well as several special interest pay-TV channels and their digital offshoots. Part of the TF1 Group, the broadcaster has an average market share of 20.3%, making it the most popular domestic network in France and its channels among the most viewed in Europe.

“Intuitiveness and responsiveness were key to the success of this project,” says Richard Couzon, Axon’s Business development manager for France and French-speaking countries. “TF1’s set-up requires complex switching to take place in a very short timeframe, so they needed a system that could be customized to meet their exact needs. Although router control was the main requirement, TF1 also wanted a system that could be expanded to other devices such as multiviewers, intercom systems and tallies. Cerebrum met all of these criteria and was also very cost effective.”

TF1 will expand the system in early 2019 so that it can control more devices.

For more information on Cerebrum.

Neuron is a fantastic complimentary processing platform for our large scale centralised production environment, the virtualised platform fits in very well with our all IP facility and our resource sharing vision, says Marc Segar, Director of Technology at NEP Australia. The new frames will be spread across our data centres and processing available anywhere on the network and with its 100Gbs architecture it’s one of the most efficient and dense products to date. Eventually we will extend this to other geographies creating one of the largest private production clouds in the world’, according Segar.

NEP Australia is a part of the NEP Worldwide Network, the leading production partner supporting premier content producers in the broadcast and live events industries across the globe.

His appointment took effect from September 11th. With more than 25 years of experience in Technical Management and Sales, Derks is an industry veteran; starting out at broadcaster RTL and most recently focused on delivering live IP streaming solutions. Derks is not new to Axon, having worked with the team from 1998-2014.

Derks commented on his new appointment: “It’s fantastic to return to the Axon team, which was my second home for almost two decades, at this pivotal stage in the company’s development. With the upcoming introduction of Neuron, Axon’s new Network Attached Processor, it’s an exciting time. I’m very motivated to help Axon remain an industry leader and passionate to help our customers succeed in revolutionising their operations.”

“The need for in-depth technical knowledge in the sales process has become more important over the years, especially as the industry moves to IP” added Karel van der Flier, Axon’s CCO.  “Customers want our sales people to be credible sounding boards on a technical level. With Marc expanding our team we have this covered.”

Marc Derks will be at this year’s IBC with the Axon team on stand 10.A21.