Intelligent surveillance cameras can help improve refereeing decisions for football match officials.
As anticipation for the new FA Barclays Premier League season builds, the competition is set to kick off against the controversial backdrop of refereeing decisions throughout the summers FIFA World Cup finals.
No refereeing decision caught more attention than England's match against Germany, which intrigued lots of debates and hypes about the installation of Hawkeye style systems in football stadiums. According to one report, this would cost at more than US$470,000 for each stadium.
“Not so,” said Melvyn Wray, Senior VP of Product Marketing EMEA at Allied Telesis. “Working with our partners and leading IP security distributors Controlware, an effective and reliable monitoring service could be in place for about $47,000 to $78,000 tops.”
There are three methods of goal surveillance a stadium could select. The first is to embed mini surveillance cameras into the goalmouth framework setting off an alarm if anything crosses the line. Alternatively, the cameras could be situated at the back corners of the net offering wider coverage. The most sophisticated would be the use of Red Scan, which uses IR for motion detection, is extremely detailed and has a focused spread beam that triggers an alarm when anything breaks the beam. With all these scenarios, once the alarm is triggered the image can be sent directly to a handheld PDA for the referee, or to the fourth official, over the stadium's network cabling.
“This is not new technology and it has been used effectively in other sports for sometime,” said Mark Harraway, Country Manager Controlware UK, “In test match cricket there is a camera embedded in the middle stump and for a fast a furious sport such as Ice Hockey goalmouth cameras are essential. Now the time has come, if debacles such as the one in Bloemfontein are to be avoided, for such systems to be deployed in football.”
Reliability and resilience will be essential on a match day, especially as the system may not be used for weeks on end, which is why Controlware has based it offering on Allied Telesis technology. Using switches and HD network cameras and VMS software enables Controlware to provide stadia with efficient control systems using multichannel video and surveillance at a cost-effective level. “Due to the unique way that Allied Telesis switches are able to handle network video we find that the Allied Telesis network products can handle everything that our customers want to put through them where other higher priced offerings have failed,” Harraway added.
The installation of such a system would also open up the possibility of add-ons which could enhance the fans experience and provide extra revenue potential. Using this technology it would be possible to continually stream live video of a match to the personal PDAs or smart phones of those in the crowd so that, should play move away from their field of view, they would not miss any of the action. This could be made available on a subscription basis, generating additional funds.
“The technology is available and proven and does not have to carry a price that would make it an economically unsound investment,” Wray said.