The award was for their Video Contribution Network Next Generation — or ViCoNG (pronounced “veecong”) — project in Belgium that delivered a permanent fiber-optic network connecting 18 sporting arenas, a production hub in Brussels, the video assistant referee (VAR) HQ in Tubize and all rights holders.
The project’s purpose is two-fold: to enable more live coverage in a reliable, high-quality and cost-effective fashion and to allow video assistant referees to work from a central location rather than a van outside arenas. This means the VAR service can cover more sporting events with fewer crew members who no longer need to drive to sites up to 150 km away.
Designed for classic and remote production and bandwidths up to 100Gbps, the Lawo-driven ST2110 IP infrastructure can simultaneously produce, control, monitor and broadcast up to ten sporting events, each with 16 to 24 cameras, audio and control streams. Proximus’s infrastructure features bi-directional signal transport from the stadiums to Brussels, Tubize, onwards and back for live audio and video consultation among the on- and off-site referees.
Specially designed outdoor cabinets convert baseband signals 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 — video footage and commentary in two languages — is produced in an on-site OB truck, and the output signals sent to Brussels. Concurrently, all camera signals and audio streams (crowd ambiance 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.
We had 90 days to implement the ViCoNG projectRudi Antonissen, Lawo’s Benelux sales manager
“We had 90 days to implement the ViCoNG project”, recalls Rudi Antonissen, Lawo’s Benelux sales manager, who was in charge of project delivery. “Lawo’s experience with wide-area IP networks and 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.”
“The flexibility afforded by the new infrastructure creates new opportunities and improves operational efficiency,” said Geert Standaert, Proximus’s CTO. “ViCoNG is a spectacular transversal project that involved almost all Proximus business units 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.”
You can see the full list of AV Awards winner here.