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Today, Vectorworks, Inc., MA Lighting and Robe lighting announce a new development for the entertainment design and production industry that will change the way lighting designers, lighting fixture manufacturers, lighting console manufacturers and lighting visualizers will work together. The three companies have jointly led the charge to develop a new data format, named the General Device Type Format (GDTF), which creates a unified definition for the exchange of device data between consoles, CAD and previsualization software. Currently, most device manufacturers use a proprietary way to define their luminaires. This lack of a standard or unified definition requires lighting console manufacturers to support and maintain a complex web of file formats. Moreover, it makes it virtually impossible for designers to leverage CAD files into consoles and makes it very difficult to link CAD software to previsualization software. “The industry has long been plagued by the absence of a standardized way to define the description of intelligent luminaires,” said Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CEO of Vectorworks. “Today’s exchange process is fraught with challenges. The workflows are disconnected, time-consuming and often require the manual mapping of data with a high chance of error. General Device Type Format simplifies the entire process. It creates a common data exchange language that will be the basis of a fully connected workflow, from CAD to previz to console and back. We look forward to collectively working with additional manufacturers to extend the benefits of this high-quality workflow to the professionals of the industry.” With GDTF, luminaire manufacturers now have an open and universal data exchange format that can be read by any console manufacturer and be included in any CAD or previsualization software. No longer will custom, one-off interpretations of DMX values and conversions for specific control data be needed. The format is human-readable, royalty-free and easy to implement and maintain. “The General Device Type Format is a fantastic new development that will revolutionize the way professionals can specify and control our products,” said Josef Valchar, CEO of Robe lighting. “It’s easy to adopt, and it makes it possible for us as manufacturers of intelligent luminaires to fully describe our fixtures with detailed information without the need for any additional computational interpretation by control or visualization manufacturers.” “Our main motivation was to make everyone’s life easier,” said Gerhard Krude, managing director of MA Lighting Technology. “Users of any lighting control system, CAD and previz software that can process GDTF will benefit by the ease of use and the amount of details provided. GDTF contains all the information required to control and visualize all kinds of devices like fixtures, video, pyro, special FX or lasers in a standardized manner. It supports the manufacturers to structure and provide all the data to make their devices look best — onstage and during visualization. We count on the device manufacturers to contribute. They already have all the information their customers need to perform. Once our industry has adapted to the new GDTF standard, all our lives will become much easier — for good.” The three companies will discuss the announcement and present information about the GDTF during the upcoming Prolight + Sound show in Frankfurt, Germany. Stop by Hall 3.0 to visit MA Lighting at C51 and C61, Vectorworks at E60 and Robe lighting at D80. A press briefing will be held at the Vectorworks booth on Tuesday, April 10 at 2 p.m. For Vectorworks users, devices in Vectorworks Spotlight are currently being updated to support GDTF. Updates will be released in future 2018 service packs.