European RDM and sACN Developers Conference and Plugfest 2013

PLASA Technical Standards in action.

PLASA’s Technical Resource Office announces that the RDM and sACN Developers Conference and Plugfest returns for 2013 and will take place on the 25th-27th April, in the UK, at Gatwick Manor, London Road at Lowfield Heath, just south of Gatwick Airport.

This Developers Conference aims to provide a European forum for manufacturers, designers, consultants and prospective users; and to ensure that the adoption of these new standards achieves desired levels of interoperability and reliability.

The “Conference” includes presentations in understanding, implementing and using the published PLASA control protocols suites. Discussions will also embrace the current protocol developments that form part of the PLASA Technical Standards Program.  The past 12 months has seen considerable advancement in the development of “RDMnet” – with various drafts of BSR E1.33 being offered for public review, so this is an active topic for consideration.

The “Plugfest” is a hands-on opportunity for product developers to try their products and code implementations with products from a variety of other manufacturers, with support from their industry peers in an environment that encourages co-operation and improved understanding of the standards, and with the aim of achieving high levels of interoperability.  Typically, engineers participate in these events with the ability to code and debug aspects of their implementations on site, sometimes retreating to their hotel rooms to craft improvements before returning to the “Plugfest” to continue testing.

The sessions, despite their apparent informality, can be a valuable opportunity to learn how not to make the same mistakes, or misguided assumptions, as others may have done.

Participation is by invitation, and limited to registered delegates.  The conference is designed to appeal to Lighting Designers, System integrators, Theatre Consultants, Production Electricians, Rental company technical staff and product development engineers. The focus for Thursday will be broad, and designed to appeal to all categories of participant.  Friday and Saturday will be orientated towards product development engineers who are either considering or actively implementing these standards.

A single registration fee of UK£60 per person, payable in advance, covers participation and a buffet lunch.  Delegates may attend one or more days as they think appropriate. The registration fee is fixed, regardless of the number of days you attend, but you are required to indicate your proposed level of participation in advance.

Further information and signup is available at http://www.plasa.org/rdm/

Any enquiries should be directed to Ron Bonner at PLASA. (ron.bonner@plasa.org)

Second European E1.20 Remote Device Management Conference and Plugfest…

European lighting manufacturers implementing the Remote Device Management (RDM) protocol (ANSI E1.20-2010 Standard: Remote Device Management over USITT DMX512 ), met again recently for a two day conference and Plugfest near Gatwick Airport in the UK.

Organised by Peter Willis (Howard Eaton Lighting), Simon Hobday (Artistic Licence Engineering), Hamish Dumbreck (Jese Ltd) and Peter Kirkup (Lumen Radio), in conjunction with PLASA’s Technical Resources Manager, Ron Bonner, the event attracted some 35 engineers from over 22 manufacturing companies, with representation across the Entertainment and Architectural lighting sectors.

The conference kicked off with a review of the impact of the RDM exhibition stand presented at the recent PLASA show at Earl’s Court, and the issues of compliance that sometimes surface whilst attempting to utilise RDM enabled products.

Discussions on possible methods for reviewing products and their adherence to the standard ensued, with separate proposals for Responders, Data Distribution (Splitters) and Controllers emerging.

As always, Plugfests provide an opportunity for engineers to scrutinise their product’s operation in conjunction with a variety of other devices, make changes as required and re-evaluate. It is also an opportunity to discuss best practices, identify known pitfalls and improve your product for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

On the second day, an attempt was made to trial a procedure for evaluating responders, in an effort to facilitate a more robust and standardised means of reviewing RDM compatibility.

Based on initial feedback, it is clear that these events should be regular, to enable manufactures to build consistency into their products, and planning is now underway for further activities in 2013.

For those companies actively involved with (or who are considering) implementing RDM and have not yet attended a Plugfest, the PLASA Technical Resource Office would encourage you make to the effort to support and attend future events.

European RDM Plugfest Report

Simon Newton

4/10/2012 – 5/10/2012

I recently attended the RDM plugfest in Gatwick and had the opportunity to run the RDM Responder Tests on diverse set of responders. At the suggestion of Peter Kirkup, I’ve run some analysis on the data in an attempt to understand how the quality of RDM implementations is progressing.  The data presented here has been aggregated and anonymized so that test results for any specific manufacture aren’t identifiable. The tests themselves do not perform exhaustive timing checks so even if a responder achieves a perfect score it may not fully comply with the RDM standard.

The procedure involved running the RDM Responder Tests (git SHA1 id 58fb444b9342ea6d9ba70ecdda8f720cc88692ff for those who are interested) on a Macbook Pro with a Robe Universal Interface.  During the course of testing I found two bugs in the RDM tests which caused the test script to crash. I fixed both bugs and since these bugs caused crashes rather than false positives, the bugs would not have affected the results of the responders tested prior to the bugs being found.

In total 27 responders from 20 manufacturers were tested. 7 of the 27 responders received perfect scores, which is the highest result ever for a plugfest. At previous plugfests only two responders have managed a similar result. Congratulations to Cooper Controls – Zero 88, Creative Lighting, Howard Eaton Lighting Limited, LumenRadio & SUMOLIGHT GMBH. The test scores for each responder is shown in Table 1.

Responder Name Tests Passed Tests Run Pass Rate (%)
Responder 1 231 231 100.0
Responder 2 231 231 100.0
Responder 3 229 229 100.0
Responder 4 232 232 100.0
Responder 5 233 233 100.0
Responder 6 229 229 100.0
Responder 7 229 229 100.0
Responder 8 229 232 98.7
Responder 9 226 231 97.8
Responder 10 224 230 97.4
Responder 11 226 233 97.0
Responder 12 223 231 96.5
Responder 13 224 233 96.1
Responder 14 217 228 95.2
Responder 15 220 233 94.4
Responder 16 214 229 93.4
Responder 17 205 220 93.2
Responder 18 214 234 91.5
Responder 19 206 228 90.4
Responder 20 185 209 88.5
Responder 21 185 209 88.5
Responder 22 187 222 84.2
Responder 23 191 231 82.7
Responder 24 62 204 30.4
Responder 25 37 154 24.0
Responder 26 37 154 24.0
Responder 27 31 190 16.3

Table 1. Summary of results by responder

 

The median score is 95.2% and the median number of tests run is 229 out of 235 tests. Note that not every test is run for each responder because there is often a dependency chain between two or more tests. For example the tests need to know if a PID is supported before they know what to expect when sending a GET command for that PID.  If a test that other tests depend on fails, then the number of tests run will be reduced as is the case for the last responders in the table.

Each test is assigned to a category, which roughly corresponds to the RDM Categories/Parameter ID Defines table in the E1.20 document. When broken down by category, the results are seen in Table 2.

Test Category Pass Rate (%)
Core Functionality 95.7
Display Settings 91.3
Status Collection 90.7
Power / Lamp Settings 90.5
Network Management 90.4
Sensors 89.3
DMX512 Setup 89.2
Configuration 88.4
Control 86.9
Product Information 86.9
Dimmer Settings 84
Error Conditions 82.4
RDM Information 72.2
Sub Devices 54.8

Table 2. Per Category Pass Rates.

 

The RDM Responder Tests also produce warnings to indicate responder behavior which, while not serious enough to cause a failure, should still be correctly handled. Five responders produced no warnings. The maximum warnings produced was 261 and the median was 10.

Finally Table 3 shows the pass results for each test. This provides a useful insight into which areas of an RDM implementation are most often overlooked. Ignoring the tests which cover error conditions, the most common failure is the SetPersonality, followed by ResetFactoryDefaults & GetParamDescription.

Pass Rate (%) # of Tests Test Names
100 29 CheckSensorConsistency, DUBFullTree, DUBInvertedFullTree, DUBInvertedRange, DUBManufacturerTree, DUBNegativeUpperBound, DUBSignedComparisons, DUBSingleUpperUID, GetDeviceInfoWithData, GetManufacturerLabel, GetSoftwareVersionLabel, GetSoftwareVersionLabelWithData, GetSupportedParameters, ProxiedDevicesControlField, SetBroadcastStartAddress, SetBurnIn, SetDMXBlockAddress, SetDevicePowerCyclesWithNoData, SetDisplayInvert, SetDisplayLevel, SetIdentifyMode, SetLampState, SetLanguage, SetPanInvert, SetPanTiltSwap, SetPowerOnSelfTest, SetPowerState, SetUnsupportedLanguage, SetVendorcastStartAddress
96 2 ClearStatusMessages, ClearStatusMessagesWithData
95.7 2 GetSlotDescriptions, GetStartAddress
95.5 2 GetPersonalityDescriptions, GetSensorValues
95.2 17 DUBAffirmativeLowerBound, DUBAffirmativeUpperBound, DUBDifferentManufacturer, DUBInvertedLowerUID, DUBInvertedUpperUID, DUBNegativeLowerBound, DUBNegativeVendorcast, DUBSingleLowerUID, DUBSingleUID, GetDefaultSlotValues, GetProxiedDeviceCount, RequestsWhileUnmuted, ResetDevicePowerCycles, SetDeviceLabel, SetDevicePowerCycles, SetLampHours, SetLampStrikesWithNoData
95 1 SetVendorcastDeviceLabel
93.8 1 RecordAllSensorValues
92 23 ClearCommsStatus, FindSelfTests, GetDeviceHoursWithData, GetDeviceInfo, GetDeviceModelDescriptionWithData, GetDisplayInvertWithData, GetLampHoursWithData, GetLampOnMode, GetLampStrikes, GetManufacturerLabelWithData, GetPresetMergeModeWithData, GetProxiedDeviceCountWithData, GetProxiedDevicesWithData, GetTiltInvert, GetTiltInvertWithData, MuteDevice, SetBurnInWithNoData, SetPanInvertWithNoData, SetParamDescription, SetProxiedDevices, SetSlotDescription, SetSlotInfo, SetTiltInvertWithNoData
91.3 7 GetPersonality, GetPersonalityDescription, GetSensorDefinition, SetLampOnMode, SetLampStrikes, SetTiltInvert, UnMuteDevice
90.9 2 RecordSensorValues, RecordUndefinedSensorValues
90.5 8 DUBPositiveVendorcast, SetBroadcastIdentifyDevice, SetDeviceHours, SetFullSizeDeviceLabel, SetIdentifyDevice, SetNonAsciiDeviceLabel, SetVendorcastIdentifyDevice, SubDeviceControlField
90 2 SetBroadcastDeviceLabel, SetLampHoursWithNoData
88 9 GetDeviceModelDescription, GetFactoryDefaults, GetFactoryDefaultsWithData, GetRecordSensors, GetSupportedParametersWithData, InvalidDiscoveryPID, RecordSensorValueWithNoData, SetPerformSelfTestWithNoData, SetPowerStateWithNoData
86.4 1 GetUndefinedSensorValues
85.7 3 DUBPositiveUnicast, SetEmptyDeviceLabel, SetOtherVendorcastIdentifyDevice
84.2 1 SetDeviceHoursWithNoData
84 68 ClearCommsStatusWithData, GetBootSoftwareLabel, GetBootSoftwareLabelWithData, GetBootSoftwareVersion, GetBootSoftwareVersionWithData, GetBurnIn, GetBurnInWithData, GetCapturePreset, GetCommsStatus, GetCommsStatusWithData, GetDMXBlockAddress, GetDMXBlockAddressWithData, GetDeviceHours, GetDeviceLabel, GetDeviceLabelWithData, GetDevicePowerCycles, GetDevicePowerCyclesWithData, GetDimmerInfo, GetDimmerInfoWithData, GetDisplayInvert, GetDisplayLevel, GetDisplayLevelWithData, GetIdentifyDevice, GetIdentifyDeviceWithData, GetIdentifyMode, GetIdentifyModeWithData, GetLampHours, GetLampOnModeWithData, GetLampState, GetLampStateWithData, GetLampStrikesWithData, GetLanguage, GetPanInvert, GetPanInvertWithData, GetPanTiltSwap, GetPanTiltSwapWithData, GetPowerOnSelfTest, GetPowerOnSelfTestWithData, GetPowerState, GetPowerStateWithData, GetPresetMergeMode, GetPresetPlayback, GetPresetPlaybackWithData, GetProductDetailIdList, GetProductDetailIdListWithData, GetProxiedDevices, GetRealTimeClock, GetRealTimeClockWithData, GetSelfTestDescription, GetSelfTestDescriptionWithNoData, GetSlotInfo, SetBootSoftwareLabel, SetBootSoftwareVersion, SetCapturePresetWithNoData, SetDMXBlockAddressWithNoData, SetDefaultSlotInfo, SetDimmerInfo, SetLampOnModeWithNoData, SetLampStateWithNoData, SetPanTiltSwapWithNoData, SetPowerOnSelfTestWithNoData, SetPresetPlayback, SetPresetPlaybackWithNoData, SetProductDetailIdList, SetProxiedDeviceCount, SetRealTimeClockWithNoData, SetZeroDMXBlockAddress, SetZeroPersonality
82.6 1 SetOutOfRangePersonality
81.8 1 ResetSensorValue
80 25 CapturePreset, GetDefaultSlotInfoWithData, GetInvalidSensorDefinition, GetLanguageCapabilities, GetLanguageCapabilitiesWithData, GetMaxPacketSize, GetParamDescriptionForNonManufacturerPid, GetPerformSelfTest, GetPerformSelfTestWithData, GetSlotInfoWithData, ResetFactoryDefaultsWithData, SetDeviceInfo, SetDeviceModelDescription, SetDeviceModelDescriptionWithData, SetDisplayInvertWithNoData, SetDisplayLevelWithNoData, SetIdentifyModeWithNoData, SetManufacturerLabel, SetManufacturerLabelWithData, SetOversizedDMXBlockAddress, SetPerformSelfTest, SetRealTimeClock, SetSensorDefinition, SetSoftwareVersionLabel, SetSupportedParameters
78.3 2 GetOutOfRangePersonalityDescription, SetOutOfRangeStartAddress
77.3 1 ResetAllSensorValues
76 1 SetNonAsciiLanguage
72.7 2 ResetUndefinedSensorValues, SetStartAddress
72.2 1 GetParamDescription
72 2 GetClearStatusMessages, GetZeroPersonalityDescription
68 4 GetInvalidSensorValue, GetSensorDefinitionWithTooMuchData, GetSlotDescriptionWithNoData, GetSlotDescriptionWithTooMuchData
66.7 3 FindSubDevices, SetOutOfRangeIdentifyDevice, SetOversizedDeviceLabel
65.2 1 SetZeroStartAddress
64 2 GetParamDescriptionWithData, ResetSensorValueWithNoData
60 3 GetSensorDefinitionWithNoData, ResetFactoryDefaults, SetOversizedPersonality
58.8 1 SetPersonality
52.4 1 SetIdentifyDeviceWithNoData
52.2 1 SetOversizedStartAddress
52 2 AllSubDevicesDeviceInfo, GetSensorValueWithNoData
48 1 MuteDeviceWithData
40 1 UnMuteDeviceWithData
Table 3. Per test pass rates.

I plan to continue performing this analysis at future plugfests so we’ll have an idea of how RDM implementations are improving. It will be useful to track the maturity of RDM responders and well as monitor the diversity of manufacturers and devices we see at the plugfests.  Judging by the amount of work that got done over the 2 days I think we can expect even better scores next time! Stay tuned for another report after the Dallas plugfest in January 2013.

New Look Stand for RDM at PLASA

For several years, PLASA’s Technical Resource Office, supported by manufacturers of RDM-compliant equipment, has provided a stand at PLASA dedicated to RDM (Remote Device Management) with the aim of familiarising visitors with the RDM protocol.

This year is no exception, yet brings a slightly different approach that reflects how the RDM protocol has become more widely recognised, understood and adopted as an industry standard. This year’s stand will go beyond explaining the basics of what RDM is and how to use it, and explore the uses and applications to which it can be put within two major market areas.

The stand will demonstrate two fully functioning RDM systems, one dedicated to architectural applications and one to entertainment use. Each system will have a fully working RDM network showing the strengths of the RDM protocol and how it can be used in these different environments.

The entertainment system will be composed of a control desk and dimmer racks and concentrate on the configuration side of the RDM protocol. Demonstrations will show how the entertainment controller allows the user to set up and configure RDM fixtures without leaving the comfort of their control desk.

By contrast, the architectural system will concentrate on real-time monitoring of RDM fixtures. This illustrates how the user is able to see up-to-date sensor values such as temperature and lamp life, and how this information can be sent to the outside world in the form of information or warnings.

The working systems will be augmented by a range of other RDM compliant equipment that demonstrates the breadth of equipment and number of manufacturers that now support the RDM protocol.

Members of PLASA’s Technical Resource Office and other industry RDM specialists will be on hand to demonstrate the systems and answer any RDM questions you may have.

RDM Stand Number: EC2-R4

A second European RDM Developers Plugfest for 2012

Following the success of the first European RDM Developers Conference and Plug Fest in April 2012, a second European event date has been added for 2012. Sponsored by PLASA’s Technical Resource Office, this will once again take place at Gatwick Manor Hotel (see details below) from 4-5 October 2012.
Feedback from April’s European PlugFest:
“The format was spot on with just the right amount of theoretical presentation balanced with quality practical development time. The venue worked really well and we will definitely be back next time”

The format will be an advance on April’s meeting which concentrated on introducing newcomers to RDM and discussions concerning RDM basics.

October’s session will focus its discussions on the issue of compliance. Currently, no consistent, uniform method of RDM testing exists, so manufacturers design in isolation and test to different interpretations of the standard. The Plug Fest will provide a forum for informal discussion with the aim of formulating a plan to standardise these processes for the future. In addition there will be separate test locations for the three different categories of RDM equipment: Controllers, Splitters and Responders. This will give delegates an opportunity to bring their own RDM-compliant products for ‘plug & test’ sessions.

This event is organised in conjunction with PLASA Technical Resources and supported by industry leading manufacturers, many of whom will be attending the meeting. Full details of the discussion plan will be released nearer the time.

Attendance is by registration only.

Details

Date: Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October 2012
Location: Gatwick Manor, London Road, Lowfield Heath, just south of Gatwick Airport
Cost: £45 (including lunch)

For more information and to register, please see http://www.plasa.org/rdm/

RDM at the ABTT Theatre Show

Come along to the ABTT Theatre Show on June 13th and 14th, at the old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane for a chance to see RDM in action. Production Electrician Martin Chisnall will be on hand to demonstrate the use of RDM across a number of industry products from different manufacturers, including patching, monitoring of sensors and remote addressing of fixtures.  Visit the RDM stand at booth number 97 and learn the Facts about the powerful new industry protocols.

European RDM and sACN Developers Conference and Plugfest

PLASA’s Technical Resource Office announces that an RDM and sACN Developers Conference and Plugfest will take place on the 26 – 28 April, in the UK, at Gatwick Manor, London Road at Lowfield Heath, just south of Gatwick Airport.

This Developers Conference aims to provide a European forum for manufacturers, designers, consultants and prospective users; and to ensure that the adoption of these new standards achieves desired levels of interoperability and reliability.

The “Plugfest” is a hands-on opportunity for product developers to try their products and code implementations with products from a variety of other manufacturers, with support from their industry peers in an environment that encourages co-operation and improved understanding of the standards, and with the aim of achieving high levels of interoperability.

Typically, engineers participate in these events with the ability to code and debug aspects of their implementations on site, sometimes retreating to their hotel rooms to craft improvements before returning to the “Plugfest” to continue testing.

The sessions, despite their apparent informality, can be a valuable opportunity to learn how not to make the same mistakes, or misguided assumptions, as others may have done.

Participation is by invitation, and limited to registered delegates. The conference is designed to appeal to Lighting Designers, System integrators, Theatre Consultants, Production Electricians, Rental company technical staff and product development engineers. The focus for Thursday will be broad, and designed to appeal to all categories of participant. Friday and Saturday will be orientated towards product development engineers who are either considering or actively implementing these standards.

A single registration fee of UK£45 per person, payable in advance, covers participation and a buffet lunch. Delegates may attend one or more days as they think appropriate. The registration fee is fixed, regardless of the number of days you attend, but you are required to indicate your proposed level of participation in advance.

Full details and information on registration can be found on the PLASA website.

One new RDM extension standard published and another new…

One new RDM extension standard published and another new one in Public Review!

February 26, 2012

ANSI E1.37-1 (Additional Message Sets for RDM – Part 1, Dimmer Message Sets) has recently been published by PLASA.  This new standard is an extension to ANSI E1.20 (RDM) which provides a number of new RDM messages (PIDs) primarily geared towards dimming systems but also includes a variety of general purpose RDM messages that are useful in across a very broad range of products.

The full listing of new messages available and link to purchase ANSI E1.37-1 from the ESTA Foundation can be found at http://www.rdmprotocol.org/whats-next/rdm-additional-message-sets-e1-37-1/

With E1.37-1 now published, work has moved on to BSR E1.37-2 which defines additional RDM messages for remotely configuring network interfaces.  With more and more devices also using network interfaces BSR E1.37-2 provides a means to remotely configure these network settings.  BSR E1.37-2 is now in public review until April 23.  Anyone wishing to review and submit comments during the E1.37-2 Public Review may do so by downloading the draft document and comment review form from PLASA at: http://tsp.plasa.org/tsp/documents/public_review_docs.php

January 2012 Plugfest

Plugfest 2012

Some of the most important developments in the entertainment production industry in the last five years have been in the area of control and bi-directional communication, including Remote Device Management (RDM), a protocol for communicating bi-directionally between devices in a lighting or control system, Architecture for Control Networks (ACN), a TCP/IP-like protocol for bi-direct…ional communication over Ethernet, and Streaming ACN (sACN), a protocol for streaming DMX control protocol over an ACN network. Plugfest is designed to help implement these protocols in real-world devices in order to create the future of the industry.

Plugfest is a “must-not-miss” event for manufacturers and developers of control protocols and devices that use any of these protocols. The event is free to attend and participate and everyone is invited.
Each January and July, several manufacturers and members of the Control Protocols Working Group convene informally to test their newest firmware with other manufacturers and their gear. They methodically try to “break” their software by interconnecting it with a wide variety of devices and test equipment, which are conveniently brought by various attendees and laid out on a group of conference tables in a suite of the Marriott Solana Hotel in Westlake, Texas, the location of the bi-annual event. When they identify a bug, they can typically fix it on the spot and try it over again until it works properly. They usually work late into the night and begin again early in the morning, fueled by junk food and soft drinks.
The event was originally created to test and improve the Remote Device Management protocol (ANSI E1.20 RDM) but it has expanded to cover all of the CPWG protocols, including the popular ANSI E1.31 Lightweight Streaming Protocol for Transport of DMX over ACN.

Plugfest has grown every year, due to its popularity and success. The next Plugfest is from Friday, January 28 through Sunday, January 30 at the Marriott Solana in Westlake, TX. If you are interested in participating, please contact Scott Blair at sblair@rdmprotocol.org to register. Plugfest is open to all, but, with its growing popularity, registration is advised in order to make space accommodations.

Plugfest dates set for July 2011 in Texas

The next PLASA Control Protocols Plugfest will take place 22-24 July at the DFW Marriott Solana in Westlake, Texas. The event brings colleagues and competitors together to further the industry by testing the limits of control protocols and working out the bugs they encounter. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Plugfest began in January 2009 as part of the ESTA (now PLASA) Technical Standards Programme by members of various Control Protocols Task Groups represent a variety of manufacturers. Twice a year, when they are all in the same place at the same time, they bring controllers, lights, analyzers, and various other tools and devices, and connect them all through a network to look for and resolve problems. People attend from all around the world in an effort to improve their products.

Plugfest was originally created to support the Remote Device Management protocol (ANSI E1.20 RDM) but now it has expanded to cover all CPWG protocols, including the popular ANSI E1.31 Streaming DMX over ACN protocol. As the scope has grown, so has attendance, and consequently, the space. It began in a small suite but this year Plugfest moved into a large suite with room to grow. Coffee, bagels, and scones serve to fuel the event.

Although the schedule runs until 10pm, the group can often be found working into the early morning hours. Most of the members of the E1.20 and E1.31 task groups, who wrote the standards, are there and they are happy to provide their expertise. They will answer your questions and tell you about protocols.

For more information or if you are interested in participating, contact Scott Blair at s.blair@ieee.org or sblair@rdmprotocol.org to register.