Digistor and Dejero: The AFL’s Winning Team for Live Broadcast

AFL and Dejero

To play AFL you need to be strong, fast, flexible, highly skilled and have an uncanny sense of what’s going to happen next. The game’s technology must share those attributes and that’s why Dejero’s Live+ Platform is the best player to power the league’s portable live broadcast capabilities.

Sold and supported in Australia by Digistor, the Live+ Platform was developed by Canada-based Dejero, the global leader in bonded 3G/4G/LTE, WiFi and LAN transmission. Dejero is renowned for its industry leading live broadcast product suite, and in 2010 its Live+ Platform was road-tested, literally, during a successful live broadcast to the web of the Olympic torch’s journey across Canada.

“Canadian geography is massive and there’s basically no way for you to have a satellite truck follow the Olympic torch,” says Ken Le, Dejero’s Vice-President Global Business Development. “So the only portable solution available was ours.”

Ken says a few hundred people began watching the live stream, but by the end of the torch’s weeklong relay the audience had grown to a million live hits.“Since then our business has grown 300 per cent each year.”

Like Canada, Australia is a vast country and the AFL needs to achieve high definition portable live broadcasting from every corner of it. Dejero’s Live+ Platform’s bonding technology works like a club recruiting the best available talent: it aggregates all available bandwidth, takes the fastest speeds from all carriers, and allows portable and live HD or SD broadcast from anywhere in Australia at any time. All of this with the world’s best picture quality for a mobile live broadcast platform. “With Digistor managing the Dejero platform we now have the ability to transmit at the best possible quality,” says Andrew Young, AFL’s Head of Information Technology.

Now, if an AFL pre-season story breaks in Cairns at the same time as the monsoon season begins, the Dejero Live+ Platform means the AFL can broadcast the story live to the web as it happens. The small and mobile platform, which is as effective in motion as it is when stationary, is housed in a robust case. That means it can tackle the all-weather conditions to which AFL training and events are subject.

“The Dejero Platform gives us the flexibility to transmit live breaking news from any location or transmit live games, such as the Women’s Football League via our website without having to invest in further infrastructure. Moving to the new Live 20/20 + transmitters, with the bonded 4G/3G combination, was essential to enable HD transmission of content.” says Young

“The Dejero Live+ Platform offers by far the best picture quality in the industry, the lowest latency,” Le says. “A live international talk back via satellite from the field used to result in a five- to 10-second delay between question and answer, but our technology has a 1.5-second total delay. You don’t even notice it; it just sounds like a natural pause after a question.”

“It’s a ruggedized unit that Dejero has customized so that all the inputs and outputs are on the outside of the box, but all the components that run the software are built on the inside,” says Peter Brownstein, Digistor’s Southern Region Manager. “It means a cameraperson or journalist can take it out on site without being too concerned about issues of fragility. And if the weather starts to turn in the middle of a story, the platform’s well-protected, so they can continue to broadcast live.”

Dejero & AFLBecause it uses Dejero’s platform, there’s no need for the AFL to send out expensive broadcast trucks in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth or wherever a story is breaking, and its web portal and affiliates can instantaneously offer live news to end users. While this is happening, the Dejero Live+ Platform can also make a recording of the live broadcast using its store and forward technology .

“This store and forward means you can do a live transmission, but also record locally at full resolution.” says Brownstein. “So if there are any issues with the transmission delivery, you’ve always got a back up recording you can send to the broadcast centre immediately afterwards in full quality. And if you have content created on an external system, on a memory stick, for example, you can send them through the Dejero Live+ Platform, across their bonded network back to the broadcast centre for use immediately”

The best AFL players are set apart by their ability to read the play, to know what’s coming next. That’s an attribute Dejero has and it was significant in the AFL’s decision to work with the company.  Peter says the AFL was impressed not only by the Dejero Live+ Platform’s speed, picture quality and durability, but also the company’s industry leading capacity to read the future of broadcasting.

Bogdan Frusina is Dejero’s CTO and Founder. Before establishing Dejero, Frusina worked closely with on-the-ground news reporters and witnessed first-hand the limitations of their live broadcast technology. He then used his extensive knowledge of and experience in cellular technology to make Dejero a forward thinking and world leading company.

“Cisco predicts that in three years over 90 per cent of all traffic on the internet will be video,” Frusina says. “Anything that has got to do with video these days is really the way of the future.”

That’s certainly the future the AFL sees for its broadcasting. Dejero’s product road map was, according to Digistor’s Peter Brownstein, a major selling point for the AFL.

“They could see what the Dejero products could do and also where the company was headed. It is a very comprehensive solution for what they needed in terms of fast delivery of content.”

Ken Le agrees that the AFL’s forward thinking in regard to live content was a perfect match for Dejero’s capabilities.

“When I met up with the team there in January this year, we talked about eventually getting a smaller transmitter and some of the apps we were looking to develop. And I think that was hugely important for them because they could see Dejero would offer them many different ways to create content.”

Dejero has now developed iPhone and iPad apps that allow broadcasters to skip the need for a camera crew and still create live content.
“You can do this basically by pulling a device out of your pocket and going live,” Le says, adding that the AFL could see the wide potential these apps offered. “They understand that it gives them the opportunity to create more fan interaction.  And Dejero is the only company providing that full platform.”

Add to this Dejero’s 24-hour support and the AFL has the winning team for its broadcasting needs, now and into the future.

Watch this video to learn more about how AFL is using Dejero and other technologies to deliver content to AFL fans.