Full members of both organizations voted to approve the merger on December 13, 2017.
The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the education, awareness, and promotion of industry standards for the transmission of video, audio, and ancillary information over an IP infrastructure, as well as products based on those standards. Similarly, the Media Networking Alliance is a non-profit organization formed to actively promote the adoption of the AES67 audio networking interoperability standard. Comprised of professional audio equipment manufacturers, as well as public broadcast corporations, the MNA has fostered the development of new products based on the AES67 standard. Operating as AIMS, the joint organization can support IP interoperability standards across a larger cross section of the media and entertainment industry.
Like AIMS, MNA members consist of companies doing business in the broadcast, professional audio, pro AV, and installation markets. In the past two years, AIMS and MNA have enjoyed a strong relationship, formally executing a liaison agreement and cooperating to promote AES67 technology, which is common to both organizations' roadmaps. Since the 2017 NAB Show, both organizations have also lent financial support to the IP Showcase, their largest and arguably most impactful undertaking to date.
The merger between the two organizations will create support for common standards that benefit multiple market segments at once. For example, products designed for the broadcast segment are in many ways similar to those for professional audio, but often the standards for those markets segments are developed without much coordination. This merger allows AIMS and MNA members to work on adopting common methodologies for transport, registration and discovery, connection management, and other areas of interoperability even as they focus on the unique requirements of their respective market segments.
By creating standards that address a larger array of applications and market segments, AIMS members that are vendors will have fewer variants of the standards to support and will be able to cross-sell to other market segments more easily while making more efficient use of their R&D budgets. Meanwhile, AIMS members that are users will benefit from a wider selection of vendors whose products comply with standards on the AIMS roadmap. Finally, AIMS members that are also members of MNA will pay only one membership fee instead of two.
"The merging of the Media Networking Alliance and AIMS is great news for our industry. The MNA was formed by people and companies who wanted to support interoperability between various IP-based audio networks via the use of AES67. Likewise, AIMS members support standards-based IP audio and video interoperability," says Rich Zwiebel, chairman of the Media Networking Alliance. "Now, with the merging of the two organizations, we have a larger voice and a single place for technical and marketing discussions amongst a larger group of industry leaders. As AIMS, we will be able to provide a much more compelling message to the industry, assuring true industry-wide audio/video IP interoperability across the broadcast, installed systems, and live sound markets. We are excited to be a part of this major step forward in standards-based IP interoperability."
"As AIMS approaches its two-year anniversary, we have an exciting opportunity to increase our influence and strengthen our ability to foster the adoption of a common set of protocols for interoperability over IP," says Michael Cronk, AIMS board chair. "After careful deliberation, both the AIMS and MNA boards reached the conclusion that merging our organizations was the natural thing to do, and our members agreed. By combining membership, the bigger, stronger AIMS can reach a greater section of the media and entertainment market. We're excited about the potential of this merger to fulfill our mission more quickly."