The challenge is to allow the referees to be in permanent audio contact, so that everyone can speak when needed and to transmit the voice in a perfect audible manner despite the constant noise of the crowd and exchanges between the players.
Better reactivity serving the game, greater reliability on decision-making, optimized management of coaches and players are the key values!
Appearance of the VAR | Turning point
The introduction of VAR triggered the ongoing transformation of the referee audio communication devices from a nice-to-have tool initially considered as a convenience for the referees, to a must-have solution with high expectations and precise performance demands from customers (Federations, VAR Integrators). To address such revolution and seek leadership, solutions must undergo profound mutations and propose products with an even stronger technological dimension and above all constant Quality of Service, despite any endogenous or exogenous issues.
VAR requires the transport and broadcasting of sound between on-field referees and video referees in a Video Operating Room (V.O.R) several hundred kilometers away in real time. This communication must be completely secure and robust as the referees don’t have the possibility to interact otherwise.
VAR installation | Risk identification
In this context, VOKKERO advices to deploy a redundant, reliable and secure audio chain for VAR considering all potential technical failures which may occur.
The first step is to identify where the potential issues can happen operating the V.A.R:
- On the pitch (on-field referees run with an electronic device under a solid rain during 90 minutes, occasionally hitting with players)
- At the side of the pitch where the analog wireless Pitchside Gateway AudioIN/AudioOut interface is placed
- Between the pitch and the Media zone
- In the Media zone where the encoder and decoder are placed to send and receive the audio feeds
- In the network between the stadium and the V.O.R
- In the V.O.R where the mix of all audio streams is made.
Once the potential spots of failure are identified, the goal is to qualify the nature of failures and issues that may happen:
- Electronic failure of an equipment
- Power cut
- Wire breakdown or faulty contact
- Bad connectivity
- And, last but not least, all human errors, be it a configuration error or awkwardness
Which installations to choose?
Based on that, a secure, safe and redundant audio chain for VAR needs to address all the potential failures use cases and to assess their importance thanks to Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis.
At the end of the day, the goal is bringing a redundancy of equipment where this is really needed so the VAR operator can switch on-the-fly to back-up audio equipment, without overcharging the global cost of the VAR solution.
Careful attention must be paid upon the availability and the immediateness of the back-up solution which is put in place. A good back-up is a back-up which will be available right-away, potentially activated remotely and at a reasonable cost. The objective of the analysis is to conduct a relevant risk reduction strategy both based on failure effect severity reduction and on lowering the probability of deficiency. Understanding the failure mechanism through the potential causes, the occurrence (probability) and the consequence (severity) is the right way to size the back-up solutions…