Networked Audio Products 2018
With InfoComm 2018 over we’ve a major update on our networked audio products research.
We've been counting licensees and products since 2013, but sometimes it's difficult to keep up. For this year we felt that our previous data was out of date so we started from scratch.
After a huge amount of work, we now have the most comprehensive list of networked audio products ever created.
There are a total of 2163 networked products currently shipping from 256 manufacturers, although that number is continuously changing. It was at InfoComm2018 that we passed the 2000 barrier.
We continued to count AVB separately because it has been a topic of industry debate. However, it's worth pointing out that a similar number of devices support Livewire+, Wheatnet and Q-Lan.
We’ll review adoption of the new AVB Milan protocol in the coming year. We set out our personal views on the future of AVB a few months ago. We continue to be amazed by the number of Cobranet products still out there. As we worked on this updated data, we found many discontinued products but found others still shipping that we’d never heard of. Anecdotally we hear that sales volumes are low, and we speculate that these are used to augment or replace items on existing installations. There is a decline, but it's far slower than we thought.
AES67For the first time we counted AES67-compliant products.
AES67 adoption is growing with 888 products; at 40% adoption we are heading towards half of all products being AES67 compliant. I think we’ll see that milestone in 2019. 75% of AES67-compliant products are Dante devices.
Product CategoriesThere are networked versions of just about all audio products. We list the top 20 categories here:
A key statistic here is that, in past years a significant percentage of networked products were ‘IO’, or what we called ‘transport’. These items purely get (mostly) analogue audio on and off the network. There is an overall increase in these, and we have now divided them up so you can see wall plates separately. However the percentage of these items against other categories is declining. With an increasing number of audio devices becoming networked. This category will decline in importance as we predicted a few years ago in our white paper on the death of analogue and rise of digital audio networking.
Discontinued itemsThis report celebrates the fifth year that we have been collecting data. We found 129 networked audio products, about 6% of which have been discontinued during that time. The vast majority of these items used Cobranet. There didn’t seem to be any trend in why the other products were discontinued.
Our MethodologyWe must allow for some human error in our results as some manufacturers provide poor information and counting products is not the most entertaining of tasks! We think that even allowing a few percent for human error, our results are still a very realistic indicator.
As we mention every time we do this, we set out some rules for counting devices as this proved not to be as easy as we thought. When is a product a product? When is something a different product? The consensus is that we are being fair, but we are always happy to discuss. Our perspective is always from the angle of – what can a user actually buy?
These are the rules we set out:
• We have investigated products that appear to be shipping. It’s sometimes difficult to see if products are discontinued or if they are yet on the market. We have done what we can to verify whether each product is available for purchase. We worked extra hard this year and checked a great number of manufacturer price lists. This seems to be a more reliable indicator than if something is just on a website.
• We have included every SKU of a product. If a company sells a 2 x 600W amplifier and a 2 x 1200W amplifier they are counted as two products, because they would have a different use.
• Where the same product is available to purchase in a variety of card configurations, such as a processor that is 16-in/16-out, 8-in/24-out, 24-in/8-out etc., this is counted as one product as the overall channel count is the same.
• Where a similar product is available in different models 8-in/8-out, 12-in/12-out, 16-in/16-out, or a mixer with different input channel counts then these are counted as separate products as they would have a different use.
• Interface cards are not counted in our product totals. Where a manufacturer's network interface card fits into many audio products we have counted each shipping product, because that interface enables that product to become a networked audio device.
• A software driver or program that enables a Mac or PC to support a particular network protocol is counted as one product. If there are more versions with different channel counts or capabilities then each one counts.
We have not included hacks, circuit boards, OEM kits for manufacturers or something that it not an actual product sold on its own or, at a user level, that allows a product to become networked. However, for the first time we have counted these separately as follows:
Development Kit 3
Interface Cards 95
Manufacturer OEM solution 20
Manufacturer Activity222 manufacturers ship products that are Dante certified
31 manufacturers ship products that are CobraNet certified
25 manufacturers ship products that are RAVENNA certified
Some manufacturers ship more networked product SKUs than others. Ashly Audio ships the most, followed by Yamaha and Lawo.
A Few More Details524 or around 30% of Dante products are Dante Domain Manager certified, not bad for a product launched six months ago and that number is increasing rapidly. We’ll start looking at ANEMAN compatibility soon.
The FutureOur revised set of data allows us to provide much more detailed analysis in the future. We are ready for AES70- and ST2110-compliant products but it's too early at the moment as their impact on the market isn’t great.
SummaryThe number of networked audio products continues to grow with an increasing number of manufacturers joining the party. Dante continues to be the dominant force.
But the big news is that AES67 compatibility seems to be really taking off, driven by Dante and RAVENNA, offering industry standard interoperability.