A3E - the Advanced Audio + Applications Exchange - is the first major industry conference focused on Audio Development and true Next–Gen Technology Innovations.
A3E features three conferences, which bring Artists, Developers and Manufacturers together to explore the impact of Algorithmic Intelligence, Mobile Technology, Controllerism & DJ Tech, High Performance DSP, & Cloud Technologies:
- Audio Developers Conference (http://a3exchange.com/a3e-audio-developers.html)
- P2 Conference: Production + Performance (http://a3exchange.com/p2-conference.html)
- Product, Marketing + Business Strategies Summit (http://a3exchange.com/product-market-business-stategies-summit.html)
A number of larger MMA member companies including Google, Microsoft, Analog Devices, and Roland had exhibits and/or had representatives speaking on panels. Many smaller, forward-thinking software companies also exhibited or participated in the panels. Athan Billias attended on behalf of both Yamaha and MMA, and participated in some panels on behalf of MMA (to promote MIDI to developers).
The MMA was well represented in the program and all the signage. Dave Mash, VP of Technology at Berklee College of Music (and a member of the A3E Advisory Board) mentioned MIDI several times in his keynote presentation. Attendees appeared to be well-aware of MIDI, but not necessarily about how MIDI is evolving.
The session titled "The Next 12 Months of Advanced Audio Development: Audio In The Web Platform" was attended by about 50 people, most of whom appeared to be developers. The panel featured Chris Wilson from Google, who is the developer advocate at Google who has been pushing the standardization of the audio API and MIDI API in browsers. Chris did a great job explaining why these APIs are going to be important. Joe Berkovitz from Note Flight (notation software that runs in a browser) did a demo where he pulled out a MIDI keyboard and edited the notes via the network, which drew some oohs and aahs from the audience. Athan Billias, speaking for MMA, explained that browser-based apps are cheaper to produce and support since developers don't need to have separate code for MACs and PCs. Browser apps also can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection, and have all of the added social and tracking aspects of any web page.
During Q & A at the Web MIDI panel Athan was asked if there was "something after MIDI". Rick Cohen (MMA HD Protocol Working Group Chairman) happened to be in the audience so together Athan and Rick explained that MMA was working on developing a new protocol that wouldn't replace MIDI but would extend it and work with it because people would still need and want to use the millions of MIDI 1.0 device that already exist. The audience seemed very interested in the idea and quite positive about the news.
As a whole, people at the event seemed generally happy with MIDI for what they are doing, but some would like to see more capabilities. Some people did mention OSC as a possible alternative, but acknowledged that there is no interoperability with OSC. Throughout the event there were also times when people brought up the issue of improving audio performance on Android.
[Report prepared by Tom White from notes prepared by Athan Billias.]