This page provides a non-technical overview of the AMWA’s work to create Networked Media Open Specifications. The information has been provided in the form of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask us via the CONTACT button above.
Technical information which has been published, is available at https://amwa-tv.github.io/nmos/
What are Networked Media Open Specifications?
The Networked Media Open Specifications (NMOS) have been developed for use in IP-based infrastructures to provide a control and management layer in addition to the transport layer provided by SMPTE ST2110. The goal is to provide a means for straightforward interoperability between products from a wide range of manufacturers, in order that end users and service providers can build best-of-breed systems.
As in the past, successful sales by a supplier will depend on matching their customer’s needs for functionality. NMOS simply seeks to make the interconnection of products from competing suppliers as simple as possible.
The NMOS family of specifications began with projects for Discovery & Registration, Device Connection Management and Network Control. It has grown to include important subjects such as Event & Tally, Audio Channel Mapping and Interoperable Security. Additional working groups become active as new operational / business needs are identified.
They are a growing family of specifications which are available to both suppliers and end users, at no cost, to support the development of products and services which work within an open industry framework. Wherever possible, the specifications are being developed using Internet standards or Internet-friendly techniques.
Who is supporting this initiative?
The NMOS initiative is supported by the Joint Task Force on Networked Media (JT-NM), comprised of four organisations; the AMWA, EBU, SMPTE and VSF. The work of the AMWA complements and, in turn, supports the contributions from the other organisations.
More than 70 AMWA members, end users and their suppliers, have signed up as participants in this project and are active in the working groups that most directly affect their business. The list ranges from large, multinational suppliers to single person consultancies. The list of end users and suppliers.
The JT-NM works closely with the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) to provide education and advocacy across our industry.
What is the technical basis for the NMOS project?
In 2015, the JT-NM published a Reference Architecture which describes a conceptual model for interoperability. It is designed for contribution that will allow end users and manufacturers to truly benefit from the cost saving, flexibility and scalability of an Internet-based approach.
However, the Joint Task Force did not go as far as working on specifications or encouraging implementations. Instead, they laid out the Reference Architecture and a collection of best practices, leaving it to initiatives such as NMOS and the AMWA Networked Media Incubator project to work out the details and to get implementers together to create interoperable solutions.
What is the Networked Media Incubator?
This is a key project set up to enable the creation of a family of Open Specifications.
The Networked Media Incubator project is sponsored by the AMWA to enable open, multi-vendor interoperability in professional media networks. The activity is focused on getting early tangible results by concentrating on specific technical areas through a series of collaborative development activities and facilitating virtual and physical interchanges between system developers. The technical goals of the group are guided by the JT-NM’s Reference Architecture.
The Networked Media Incubator (also simply called the "Incubator”) was set up in September 2015 as an “umbrella” project, under which the working groups could operate. The number of working groups has grown steadily and most hold weekly or fortnightly conference calls in addition to technical discussions on the Basecamp project forum.
Regular developer workshops take place throughout the year. These are open to any AMWA member which has software to test. The workshops provide a supportive environment where developers share experiences to the mutual benefit of all participants. To encourage openness and discussion, there is strict rule not to speak negatively about any other participant who takes part in a workshop.
What are IS-04, IS-05, IS-06, etc?
These are Interface Specification (IS) identifiers assigned to the NMOS specs. Specifications are formally given an IS number once they reach Specification status. Other supporting specifications may have different numbering, such as "BCP", for Best Current Practice. Details of all specifications can be found by the link at the top of this page.
NMOS APIs are built on widely adopted patterns used on the Internet/Web, using open-source components wherever available.
Where can I find technical details of the specifications?
NMOS specifications are made publicly available (Apache 2 licence) as early as is practical, and at the latest on elevation to AMWA Specification. Note that some specifications are in private repos in their early stages. These are accessible to AMWA NMOS participants (if you are a member who needs access, please contact the Incubator or activity lead).
As well as proprietary implementations, several open-source implementations of IS-04 and IS-05 are available. These are available via the first link above. At the time of writing, they all use the Apache 2.0 license, which matches the NMOS specifications themselves. If you have an implementation you would like added, please create an issue against this repository indicating where it is available from.
How can my company participate?
Any company can join this work by becoming a member of the AMWA and signing the Rules document**. Membership provides access to all current NMOS projects and a shared IPR framework through the AMWA’s IPR policy.
There are three company membership levels plus an individual membership. Details of the range of membership benefits are available via the JOIN button at the top of this page. If you have questions of any sort, please use the CONTACT button above.
Please note that the NMOS Incubator project is "RAND-Z" so it requires any contributions to be made available on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis at zero cost.
** The Rules document exists simply to support open, honest communication and ensure that no participant speaks negatively about a competitor following discussions and / or developer workshops.
Is there an NMOS compliance / certification process?
At present, there are interoperability checklists at workshops and in preparation for public demonstrations but these are for use for testing by suppliers and do not let vendors formally claim compliance.
The AMWA does not currently provide a certification process for NMOS implementations.
When will NMOS specifications become standards?
Development of an Interface Specification reaches a point where it is sufficiently advanced to be formally elevated to an “AMWA Specification”.
However, further versions of NMOS specifications are likely, for example, to support the additional requirements of newer, later specifications. Also, as the professional networked media industry matures we can expect end user requirements to evolve so, although individual versions will become “Stable” and widely implemented, NMOS will not stand still.
This need to accommodate evolving end user requirements does not allow as easy fit with the traditional standards processes which have worked so well for transport streams such as SMPTE ST2110.