M2M co-develops drone video system for ICC broadcasting

M2M co-develops drone video system for ICC broadcasting

Utilising technology from Peplink and Starlink.

M2M Connectivity’s has revealed its hand in co-developing a venue-agnostic drone videography system with sports broadcaster Level Horizons for last year’s T20 World Cup.

Partnering with Level Horizons, the two companies developed a connectivity solution for the International Cricket Council (ICC) event, held from October to November last year, that was based on technology from networking vendor Peplink – combining two LTE connections – and added a Starlink satellite connection.

The system was used to broadcast footage of the stadium, the crowd and the game from the air across seven different locations – including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Adelaide Oval, Perth Stadium and the Gabba in Brisbane – and given to both domestic and international networks.

M2M Connectivity's specific role in the project took place had it assess the technical needs of Level Horizons and recommended Peplink's Max BR2 Pro router. It also sourced hardware and built the solution to integrate with Level Horizon's existing infrastructure and equipment. This all took place in a two-month window from September to October 2022.

“Broadcast is a unique and demanding environment which requires high uplink speeds and reliability," said Josh Velling, M2M Connectivity channel director.

“This deployment is one of the first examples of the Peplink Max BR2 Pro being used to successfully support live TV broadcast in Australia. This is made possible by Peplink’s SpeedFusion technology which bonds multiple networks together preventing sudden network interruptions or latency spikes.”

Previously, Level Horizons utilised venue infrastructure for connectivity, including wireless 4G and 5G connections, but stadium capacities of 80,000 meant signal congestion was an issue and the venues each had their own operating environments. As such, there was a requirement for a venue-agnostic solution that could be set up at any of the separate locations.

According to a statement from both companies, the end result contained a “zero-fail” system that was able to provide HD video, 100 per cent network reliability and eliminated reliance on venue infrastructure during the World Cup.

Specifically, Peplink Max BR2 Pro (with dual 5G and dual fibre WAN) connections back to the venue as the hub were used, receiving drone vision. Additionally, fibre WAN connections provided by the venue ICT team swere was combined with a Peplink Max Transit Duo (with dual 4G, and single Starlink WAN) at the remote drone operating sites to send drone vision.

Following the event, Live Horizons said it plans to roll out Peplink’s Max Transit Duo routers across its fleet of drones.

Michael Keating, co-director at Level Horizons, said the solution now means that the broadcaster is not limited to location anymore and can deliver footage to other broadcasters live.

“The ease of deployment and the remote management capabilities of the Peplink units mean we can be confident that our guys on the ground can set these systems up and easily supported by our technicians – if required,” he added.

M2M Connectivity's work with Level Horizons comes less than a year after it brought in an internet of things (IoT) solution for wind farm operator Blair Fox to monitor and maintain turbine performance through 4G and 5G.

It also comes more than two years as it hired Velling to establish and build a national partner program for Peplink in Australia back in April 2021.

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