At this year’s ISE, a prestigious trade fair in Amsterdam, Riedel Communications – a partner of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga – received the „InAVation Award“ in the ‘Best Client Support’ category for its Remote Operations Center (ROC) and Bolero S referee intercom system.
The Bolero S communication system has been used by Bundesliga referees since the 2018–19 season. The system was developed by Riedel Communications in close collaboration with the DFL and its subsidiary Sportec Solutions with the aim of combining outstanding sound quality and network security to further enhance communication among the referee teams in the stadium and their colleagues at the Video Assist Centre (VAC) in Cologne.
Since the 2019–20 season, Bolero S has also been deployed in all Bundesliga 2 matches and in DFB Cup matches from the knockout stage onwards. This means that all referee teams in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 now benefit from high transmission reliability and greatly enhanced voice and sound quality – not to mention continuous quality assurance thanks to the ROC in Wuppertal.
The Remote Operations Center entered service while Bolero S was being rolled out in the Bundesliga in the 2018–19 season in order to establish even more reliable infrastructure for referee communication. Following the introduction of Bolero S to Bundesliga 2 and the greater organisational and technical outlay that this entailed, the ROC was also expanded and can now accommodate twelve audio specialists.
Riedel Communications uses a range of technologies including 2300-series SmartPanels with the MediorNet control app, allowing the video signals from the VAC in Cologne to be picked up and the live images to be broadcast on the operator screens in Wuppertal. While the video assistants in Cologne can keep a constant eye on the game via their monitors, the specialists in the ROC ensure that referee communication functions smoothly both inside the stadium and on its way to the VAC.
Thanks to proactive monitoring, the operators in the ROC can control and configure all the system components such as aerials and radio equipment in real time. The operators are notified as soon as any piece of equipment fails, allowing them to perform instant troubleshooting. On matchdays, the operators in the ROC can also make a range of adjustments to ensure the best possible sound quality for the referee teams in the stadia and the video assistants in the VAC by filtering out from the signals as much of the stadium noise as possible and optimizing the signals in line with the different volumes of the referees’ voices to create the perfect audio mix.
The ROC is also well prepared for any potential system failures, as every component has been designed with full redundancy. That means that even if a power cut occurs, the matches can still be monitored because most of the equipment is located at Riedel Communications’ computer centre and can continue to operate independently of the power grid thanks to a generator. All these functions and features make for a powerful all-round package – the „InAVation Award“ panel certainly agreed.