Vislink keeping viewers immersed
The broadcast scene in the world has undergone total transformation with satellite, cable and the OTT model. The strides made by video technology in less than two decades are astonishing and technological advances in this world are exponential.
It is in this sphere that companies like Vislink are making major advancements and have carved a niche for themselves. And rightly so, after all the company boast 50 years history of video technology innovations.
Robert King, EMEA Sales Director, Vislink, UK, in an exclusive to ‘Coliseum’ at the Coliseum Online Week EUROPE Worldwide – brings to sharp focus the company’s expertise in capturing, delivering, and managing immersive high quality live video and data from right to where the action is to the viewing screen. He also supplies details of the company’s cutting-edge technology and devices aiding not only the capture of “on the pitch” action, but also helping venues boost the security quotient as well as aiding law enforcement and security who are on the lookout for troublemakers.
The world of Vislink
Robert King started with an introduction of the company, “We are Vislink. We are a global company and we have physical sites in the US, UK, Singapore, Netherlands and Dubai. We consider ourselves as leaders in the collection, management and distribution of high quality video and data capture in live events. The immersive content from the event is available for the audience via live television production, and on the security side it can be used to augment crowd control and people management activities.”
Vislink has been in the business for about 50 years and have a collection of product lines – “We have wireless COFDM camera systems that are capable of capturing action shots from the sidelines of the pitch and delivering into the outside broadcast trucks where Directors incorporate those feeds in their television content. This is all achieved in video latencies of approx. 1 frame!”
King informed that Vislink’s technology is employed in virtually every live major sporting event in the world – “We have historically delivered over 100,000 systems in over 80 countries and have got approximately 150 partners across the globe.”
King revealed, “We serve three main markets – the Military, Government & Industrial Market, the Satellite Communications Market and then the Sports, News and Entertainment Markets. We also work heavily with people who are at the venues, including First Responders such as Police, Fire and Medical teams.”
Military Government Industrial Market
- It is a $6+ billion market;
- Trusted supplier to local, national and NATO military and law enforcement organizations;
- Provider of enhanced situational-awareness capabilities in challenging environments and fluid situations; and
- Key application areas: Covert surveillance, tactical systems monitoring and strategic detection.
- It is a $2+ billion market;
- Global provider of satcom solutions with 30 years of experience;
- Several thousand terminals currently in use worldwide; and
- Specialties: Rapid-deploy terminals delivering efficient, robust and secure communications to ensure worldwide connectivity.
Sports, News and Entertainment
- It is a $5+ billion market;
- Fifty-year history of video technology innovation putting audiences “at the heart of the action”;
- For the broadcast markets, Vislink provides solutions for the collection of live news, sports and entertainment events; and
- Vislink’s wireless video technology covers some of the most challenging and high-profile international sporting events.
Tech giant Vislink boast a huge customer base as King provided, “The customer base we have extends to about 30,000 – anyone from Sky News, CNN, BBC, etc.”
Vislink – during these nerve-wracking times of the pandemic – made two of the most important fixtures in the British horseracing calendar a cakewalk for the people associated with it. It was successfully executed behind closed-doors. Vislink wireless video equipment was used in the live broadcast of both the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National Festival, and both these events were successfully delivered.
King puts in, “We get involved in some pretty wonderful events like the camel race held at the Al Marmoom Camel Racing Club in Dubai. In this particular project with the camel racing, Dubai Media, the national broadcaster, wanted us to be involved as part of the HD studio upgrade and we provided live video content from all VIP areas in the stadium to tracks – the longest of which is 15 kms.”
On the fast track
Market Leading Broadcast Quality Video & Data Solution
Motorsports is another area where Vislink has made its presence felt with its technological prowess as King added, “We have a very strong pedigree in motorsports. We do provide live video and data transmission solutions for events such as Formula 1, Le Mans 24 and MotoGP.”
He added, “One of the key relationships we have is with MotoGP and since 2002 we have supplied the onboard solutions that give an extant of where our technology leads to in those events. MotoGP events are carried out by circa 1,000 broadcasters globally and they are seen by the 400 million viewers worldwide on live television. We have to supply the equipment that provides stable, ideally stunning imagery for motorcycles and these motorcycles go in top speed in excess of 200 miles an hour, the acceleration, the deceleration and the vibrations are ready to stress our equipment and it has to be such that it stands out to those demands.”
- Multichannel diversity receive systems (MDR, Quantum);
- Integrated 4K HDR capability;
- Class leading Ultra-low delay (1 frame latency) via our HEVC encoder;
- Proprietary filtering and modulation.
- Multiple RF frequency band; and
- Bespoke, ruggedized components.
Broad portfolio of products and services
Talking about their product bouquet, King stated, “We have the traditional cameras, we have applications for airborne downlinks. We get involved in things like the London Marathon (to be held on October 3rd, 2021) where our equipment will be used to provide the airborne downlink – we are the core manufacturers of the backbone technology for hundreds of marathon /long distance sports events.”
Terrestrial microwave systems
- Wireless cameras;
- Onboard camera systems;
- Point-to-point radios;
- Electronic newsgathering;
- Body worn solutions;
- Aerial video downlink; and
- Specialized antennas
- Bonded Cellular SIM based system.
- Compact/Rugged antennas; and
- System architecture and design; and
- Installation and integration.
Integrated stadium solutions
Vislink provides venue with global broadcast standard video and data contribution and infrastructure including 4K UHD video in 1 frame latency.
King had this to provide, “A lot of the infrastructures that are used in stadiums is taken and is stored on an ad hoc basis according to a particular event, but equally we supply to venue owners on events bespoke infrastructure which is completely installed and optimized for use within that particular venue. Typically, that is used for broadcast contribution again – club and fan TV, halftime entertainment like getting the camera feeds upon to the big screens and also increasingly so for venue security. So, the same camera system, overhead cable camera system, can be spun around during the halftime or post-event they can be used for venue security focusing on troublemakers or areas that needs extra live video imagery. Once these hardware systems are installed, the infrastructure can and is often rented out to visiting broadcasters by the venue owner. So, the venue owners may consider procuring the technology to have it permanently installed within their venues so that they can then control the access to that and monetize the service.”
He continued, “In future, what we see as we move towards a comprehensive IP demand for venues – the inclusion of things for biometric data, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) will really enhance the broadcast contribution production standards. Vislink’s recent acquisition of Mobile Viewpoint is significant step towards this exciting future”
- Hardware is available as temporary ad hoc install or fixed infrastructure;
- Vislink equipment can be used for:
- Television broadcast contribution/club/fan TV;
- ‘Halftime’ fan entertainment – big screen camera feeds, interviews;
- Venue security – bodyworn cameras, overhead cable cameras;
- New revenue streams via rental of services to visiting broadcasters;
- Athlete/player cameras, point of view shots, immersive content; and
- Future – biometric data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) via 5G and IP edge devices.
Ashgabat Olympic Complex
Vislink supplied over 30 wireless systems to the Ashgabat Olympic Complex, Turkmenistan with fixed receive infrastructure.
King revealed more details, “As far as the Ashgabat Olympic Complex in Turkmenistan is concerned, in 2015 I started working in and around Turkey and Turkmenistan and started supplying directly to the Polimeks construction company, who were tasked with building the incredible venue there. This is the biggest venue I have ever worked on – 750,000 square meters of sports and social buildings and Vislink provided the primary venues within that complex with video infrastructure which was primarily used for the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games held in the facility in 2017. We were out on site for many months and we covertly installed all of the receive architecture behind the seating panels, behind the rows and then had various different MCRs, control rooms for the broadcast coverage and we also provided the same coverage indoors and outdoors.”
Built to international sports federation standards, the 45,000-capacity Ashgabat Olympic Complex in the heart of Turkmenistan is one of the largest building projects in the country. The project includes a very wide range of installations including an aquatics center, indoor athletics arena, tennis center, and velodrome.
- System design and project management;
- Onsite integration and training; and
- Enabled wireless roaming of the complex for video transmission and associated data.
Use case: Connected campus
Vislink’s technological prowess has helped remote broadcasters overcome the challenges during these most difficult times of the pandemic as the virulent virus continues with its ravages globally.
Talking about the future, King noted, “Moving forward , the future focuses on what we call the ‘Connected Edge’ where we look at broadcast, like many other verticals in the world, moving towards a fully IP-everywhere connected status where the IP-based infrastructure within venues is supported by our wireless contribution devices, including integration of 5G, WiFi 6, etc. The full suite of edge devices which will then link back to the same IP-based ecosystem. So, once we are in this IP domain, it gives the ability for the Vislink technology to allow devices to talk to other devices automatically. What we are looking at developing is then the enhancement of how the output is processed via Artificial Intelligence (AI) . By that I mean, using AI computing to assist with the TV production, automating and enhancing some of these traditional manual skills within the production element, thus making it more cost-effective and allowing lower tier sporting events to dramatically improve their production standards.”
We took a major step to bringing this future vision into the present with our acquisition of Mobile Viewpoint last month. Mobile Viewpoint is a global innovator in mobile live streaming solutions for outside broadcast as well as surveillance solutions for law enforcement and emergency first responders. Over their short 10-year history, they have already become a world leader in developing AI-centered solutions for automated news and sports productions. They also are specialists in providing mobile encoders for live streaming over 4G and 5G. This acquisition provides Vislink with new capabilities that combine with Vislink’s existing strengths to make its Connected Edge video transport concept a reality.
He signed off by stating, “We use our video downlink to look at the situation on the ground and then use the network to get this information back home to provide actionable intelligence to Law enforcement officers to help them make critical decisions.
Vislink is definitely helping not only to hold events during the pandemic in a streamlined manner but its high-tech devices also aid the police to keep a hawk eye on the mischievous elements – be it in a venue or in any other place for that matter. Vislink are a core supplier to global law enforcement and military customers, such as the UK Police Aviation Service.
As the pandemic is forcing people to stay indoors as the COVID-19 seesaw is forcing countries to exit out of lockdowns and then again clamp lockdowns, companies like Vislink are playing a key role in increasing social engagement and greater viewer participation to deliver a more immersive experience to a vast, ready and willing global audience.
See more at www.vislink.com.
Continue to follow Coliseum for latest updates on venues business news. Coliseum is dedicated towards building the best global community of sports and entertainment venue executives and professionals creating better and more profitable venues.
Become a member of the only Global Sports Venue Alliance and connect with stadiums, arenas and experts from around the world. Apply for membership at coliseum-online.com/alliance and make use of the 365Coliseum Business.
« Previous News:
» Next News: