Proximus, Belgian provider of digital services, and several of its business units, including PmH (Proximus Media House), its media production arm, are extremely pleased with the “Broadcast and Media Project of the Year” award they received at the AV Awards ceremony held on 4th November at the Evolution venue in London.
Their acclaimed ViCoNG* (“veecong” “Video Contribution Network Next Generation”) project has delivered a robust setup based on permanent fiber-optic network connections among 18 sporting arenas and the production hub in Brussels, Belgium, the video assistant referee (VAR) HQ in Tubize and all rights holders.
The Proximus ViCoNG project serves two main purposes: it enables more live coverage in a reliable, high-quality and cost-effective fashion, and it allows video assistant referees to work from a central location rather than drive on-site with a van and perform the supervision from outside the arenas. More sporting events can be covered with fewer crew members who no longer need to drive to locations that may be up to 150 km away.
Designed for both classic and remote production, and bandwidths up to 100Gbps, the Lawo-driven ST2110 IP infrastructure allows to produce, air, control and monitor up to ten sporting events simultaneously, with 16 to 24 cameras, audio and control streams each. Proximus’s infrastructure features bi-directional signal transport from the stadiums to Brussels, Tubize and onwards – and back for live audio and video consultation among the on- and off-site referees.
Specially designed outdoor cabinets convert baseband signals received from the venue to IP and transmit the resulting streams via two distinct fiber-optic links using separate Lawo V__matrix units for fail-safe redundant operation.
In a classic production scenario, live coverage – i.e. video footage and commentary in two languages – is produced in an on-site OB truck whose output signals are then streamed to Brussels. Concurrently, all camera signals and audio streams (crowd ambience and intercom) are sent to the VAR center, which uses multiviewers, replay servers and a slow-motion machine to monitor the action on the pitch and communicate with the referee via headsets. The infrastructure is remote-production-ready for PmH customers who choose to work in a more eco-friendly and cost-effective way.
“We had 90 days to implement the ViCoNG project”, recalls Rudi Antonissen, Lawo’s Sales Manager Benelux, in charge of project delivery. “Lawo’s experience with wide-area IP networks as well as the proven versatility of our software-defined V__matrix C100 platform and the VSM broadcast control system allowed us to be ready for the first test matches in July 2021.”
“Proximus built a state-of-the-art, highly scalable video contribution network in no time to serve our customers in the best possible way”, adds Geert Standaert, Proximus’s CTO. “The flexibility afforded by the new infrastructure – quite unique in the world because of its size – creates new opportunities and improves operational efficiency. ViCoNG is a spectacular transversal project that involved almost all Proximus business units and was facilitated by a fantastic collaboration with our partners and Lawo.”
“The ViCoNG project relies on almost all product categories manufactured by Lawo”, stated Dirk Sykora, Lawo’s Business Development Manager. “Software-defined, Lawo’s video, audio and control infrastructure is future-proof and ready for expansion to deliver live production scenarios that cover all areas of entertainment and information.”
Proximus is a provider of digital services, communications and ICT solutions operating on the Belgian and international markets, with the aim to create a world of digital opportunities where people live better and work smarter. Proximus’s fixed and mobile networks allow its customers to access a wide range of digital services, data and multimedia content anywhere, anytime. The foundation for Proximus’s sustainable growth is the result of investing in a gigabit network of the future with a truly digital mindset and a spirit of openness towards partnerships.
Proximus supports the development of new digital ecosystems and innovative solutions for the benefit of the Belgian economy. On a societal level, Proximus fully commits to bridging the digital divide, providing opportunities for digital talents, and accelerating the transition to a greener society. Its Proximus Media House (PmH) division both remotely produces live soccer telecasts and transports media streams to broadcasters.
Lawo designs and manufactures pioneering network, video, audio, control and monitoring technology for TV and radio broadcast, performing arts, houses of worship, stadiums and corporate applications. Products include IP-based media infrastructure solutions, control and monitoring systems, digital audio mixing consoles and video processing tools. Products are developed in Germany and manufactured according to highest quality standards at the company’s headquarters in the Rhine valley town of Rastatt, Germany.
Info: www.lawo.com & Telmaco *
* Dealer for Hellas
Notes: Press Release - Lawo - Βrussels, Rastatt, 8th November 2022