A small keypress for an engineer, a giant leap for broadcasting!

Stockholm November 1st 2017: Yesterday afternoon we tapped on the keyboard and pushed the source code of the IRIS Codec Call Monitor (CCM) out on Github. This is the end of step one – the internal work – and the real start of the Open Source project. All of the CCM is now Open Source and available for free download from Github. As a public service company, it feels right for us in Sveriges Radio to contribute to the world of open source software and make our in-house system available for other radio stations, as well as everyone else that is interested in this management platform for ACIP-compatible audio contribution networks.

An invitation to cooperation

CCM is licensed using the BSD 3-clause license, a license approved by the Open Source Initiative. This license means that you can freely download and use the software. If you make changes, you are invited but not obliged to contribute back to the project. We hope you do, so we can make improvements, bug fixes and write documentation together.

We are new to this, so please bear with us as we learn how to work together in an open source project. We are working to create mailing lists and the needed infrastructure for cooperation in the project. We have focused on getting the source code published, so these platforms have been on the back-burner until now. Github has an issue tracker and other tools we can use until we have the rest of the tools ready.

The plan ahead: Making release 2.0

One thing that we are working on now that the code is available is how to integrate our internal development with the open source platform. We want our systems to run the same source code, we want our developers to work in the open on Github together with you. This is our focus right now.

The way we see it, this first release is a giant leap forward, but not the final step. We still have our internal code repository and you will not see all the changes made. If we find bugs, we will make changes to both repositories, our internal and the one on GitHub. The challenge now is to merge these processes into one, so that we will leave our internal code repository and focus all our work on Github. This means that we will have to adapt our deployment routines, modify configuration code in the software and implement new test systems. In order to get the code out on the Internet, we had to make the decision to do this as a second step. We will keep you posted on the progress. It’s a story by itself, how to take internal code – and development – and move it all out in the view of the public.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Today, we are celebrating and are very proud of our accomplishment so far. We are expecting you to bring us down to firm ground, to tell us where to go next and how you want us to interact with you. The future of the IRIS CCM is now shared between us and all future users out there. We are excitedly awaiting the first signs of feedback. Fork the code on GitHub, file an issue, fix some typos, add new functions and generate a pull request. We are waiting by our keyboards.

Follow us on twitter as @irisbroadcast to stay up to date!

 

 


Learning by watching, using and participating: BareSIP

 

While we are still working on preparing our code for launch, we’re learning by looking at various other project, participating in the work and studying licenses, way of handling bug reports, mailing lists and much more. What makes a project successful? What are the winning factors? Is it just about getting thousands of likes on Facebook or is there something else to look for?

Apart from all the open source libraries we’ve used to build the IRIS CCM, there’s one small piece of software we are using for experimenting and production – BareSIP – we would like to talk about in this blog post.

BareSIP is, compared with other projects we’re using, a very small project. While projects like Kamailio have a large group of developers contributing, committing and making decisions, bareSIP has a team leader, Alfred Heggestad, that writes most, but not all, of the code. The project has been around for many years and is very stable. It’s been tested at SIPit test events and implements a lot of the recent SIP additions. When bugs are filed, questions are asked there is always a response. Things move forward in the project.

BareSIP is built on a media and a signalling library

Alfred has created a set of libraries to build SIP implementations. LibRE is the signalling library and libREM is is the library for all multimedia handling. These libraries has been used in many implementations, both by Alfred and third party developers. Softphones for cell phones, embedded software, server implementations and much more. BareSIP is built on these libraries and started off as an example of what you can do with the libraries.

BareSIP comes without a user interface which makes it very good for use when building larger systems. It supports audio and video and is easily modified if needed.  As a developer, having a command-line SIP implementation is very handy for testing or embedding in scripts.  If you are interested, you can find the source code on GitHub.

As a summary, we see BareSIP as excellent software and a successful open source project. Alfred has done great work and we owe him our thanks. Many hours of live radio every day is produced using BareSIP. But you won’t find the project on social media, the web site is very down-to-earth and there are no BareSIP-con conferences.

A successful project is not about the social media likes

When evaluating software to use, it’s not always about the size of the team or the code. It’s not always about a fancy user interface or a state-of-the-art web site. A history of managing the code and staying on top of the standards used is important. Responsiveness and open-ness for contributions is also a plus. Fast responses on mailing lists and bug trackers adds to the karma of the project.

We have a lot to learn as we move forward and rest assured that we’re not standing still. Code is cleaned up, we’re testing installations and we’re trying to find inspiration to write a lot of helpful documentation. Mailing lists are soon coming up and we will try to be as responsive as Alfred!


Building a platform is a complex project

The IRIS platform has been in use for many years in Swedish Radio and we continue development of it, not only in the NXG project but also for daily use in all our radio stations. Building this, a lot of open source code has been used – both in the IRIS CCM and in the general platform. That’s how you build platforms today – you start with a set of libraries and tools, and you keep adding as the platform grows more and more complex.

We are currently going through all the licenses used by libraries in the CCM, the codec call monitor, trying to find out how they work together and which license we can use for our code that both give organisations that download it a right to use it freely as well as a right to the source code, even if they got the product through a third party. This work is complex and we’re almost there. Please have patience with us!

In addition to the core CCM we have a lot of supporting services using Open Source – the SIP servers, SIP clients and more.

During the Broadcast Radio (R)Evolution conference Olle E. Johansson presented a small set of the open source software we have used in building the platform. From the Linux operating systems to SIP implementations like BareSIP and Kamailio.


The IRIS Codec Call Monitor and Directory Service

The IRIS platform consists of the CCM, Codec Call Monitor, and the Directory Service. It is the platform that was built in order to be able to migrate the contribution network to an all IP platform based on ACIP.  The CCM is the live view of all current sessions, all available devices and a lot of statistics. Is the place where you manage your ACIP platform – add devices, add management accounts and check the state of the platform.

During the conference Broadcast Radio (R)Evolution in Stockholm in May 2017, Ola Palm and Jim Eld from the Swedish Radio presented the platform that is in use in the radio today. You can now download the presentation and learn about features and benefits of the IRIS platform!


EBU Awards Sveriges Radio the Technology & Innovation Award

At the EBU Technical Assembly in Stuttgart on 8 June 2017 the NXG project at Sveriges Radio was awarded the EBU Technology and Innovation award. By using a powerful remote control protocol, NXG allows a complete radio show to be made from anywhere with a sufficient network connection.

 

From the left.: Lars Hedh (SR), Hasse Wessman (SR), Simon Fell (EBU) and Egon Verharen (NPO) Photo: Sveriges Radio

 

– We are very happy and honoured that our work was given attention in this setting. The award is a proof that Swedish Radio is on the forefront, and it is especially gratifying that a radio broadcast company is awarded this price, since a majority of the jury is from the world of television, says Lars Hedh, manager of method and technology development.

The NXG project was described in detail during the Broadcast (R)Evolution conference in Stockholm early may by Johan Boquist, one of the engineers working with this project. The IRIS CCM software is a critical component of the NXG project. You can download the presentation from our web site.

NXG project – a workshop presentation by Johan Boquist, Sveriges Radio


What is SIP and WebRTC?

SIP, the Session Initiation Protocol,  is the base protocol for the ACIP reference profile created by the EBU. It is the base for the CCM, Codec Call Monitor, software that we will publish in Project IRISbroadcast. During the conference “Broadcast Radio (R)Evolution 17” in Stockholm, Olle E. Johansson gave an introduction to the SIP protocol and adjacent protocols, like RTP, RTCP and WebRTC.  You can now download the slides from the presentation.

The SIP protocol is a protocol developed for realtime communication in general – from text messaging and chats to video calls and games. The base function is to enable users to find each other on the network, providing mobility and use of multiple devices. After finding each other, the users agree on a session both are capable of. In the world of broadcast radio contribution, the users are mostly audio codecs and the agreement is about which codecs to use in each direction of the transmission.

 

 


We’re officially launched!

This Friday we officially launched the project. During the conference “Broadcast (R)Evolution 2017” in Studio 3 in the Stockholm office of the Swedish Radio Camilla Jettman, VP of development, officially launched Project IRIS Broadcast. 

Cilla Benkö, managing director

Cilla Benkö, managing director of Sveriges Radio AB

Cilla Benkö, managing director of Swedish Radio – the public radio of Sweden – started the day with a talk of the importance of SR in the swedish society, the importance of a public radio and the need to be closer to the audience. The new IP based technology and the mobility has changed the way radio is produced in Sweden. Sharing our experiences during the conference and publishing the core system, the Codec Call Monitor, as open source software  will help public radio stations globally to follow the lead set by Swedish Radio.

Camilla Jettman

Camilla Jettman, VP of development

– The purpose with open source is to give more users access to the source code, invite more people to contribute to the code base and to share our development with others. We hope that more users get involved in the development of the project, says Camilla Jettman, VP of development.

– The software now being launched under an Open Source license will provide a platform that simplify radio broadcast for the users, can be user-controlled and is not tied to any single vendor, says Lars Hedh, head of method and development.

Read the official press release in Swedish at the Swedish Radio web site.

The software will, if everything works out according to plan, be released latest Q4 2017. We will continuously update the web site with new information while we work on the code licensing, cleanup and documentation. Follow us on twitter as @irisbroadcast to get continuous updates!


Welcome to IRIS Broadcast!

As you can see, we’re working behind the scenes to set everything up. You can follow us on Twitter as  @irisbroadcast to get frequent updates on what’s going on.


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