Rugby Australia is the national governing body for the sport of rugby union in Australia. It has relied on Gravity Media – then branded Gearhouse Broadcast – for the past few years to provide production facilities across national and elite levels of rugby within Australia.
As part of a programme to improve both player welfare and officiating standards within the game, Rugby Australia required a mission critical referee communications, judicial replay (TMO) and head injury assessment (HIA) solution. It wanted an easy-to-use and quick-to-deploy system that could be rolled out for international test matches, Super Rugby fixtures and other select games held throughout Australia.
Gravity Media deployed its specialist SportsCom solution. This includes SimplyLive’s Ref&Box multi-channel official review tool, as well as an RF-based comms system for on-field officials and links between the television match official (TMO) and referee, and the TMO and OB truck. Additional comms panels are also installed pitchside at the HIA location and in the medical room inside the stadium so that further information, repeat camera feeds or clips can be easily and quickly requested and proposed actions discussed.
For each match, a server is placed within the TV compound and connected to the camera feeds from the OB truck. Up to 16 feeds are then distributed via Ethernet to the two main SimplyLive Ref&Box systems that are used by the TMO and the HIA assessor, while a mirrored system is also set-up in the medical room.
With Gravity Media’s SportsCom solution, the TMO can quickly review an incident that may have been missed, or require immediate action. Using an intuitive touchscreen interface, they can independently look at replays from multiple camera angles, vary the playback speed to provide the clearest possible view, and if necessary, clip and archive incidents for use later.
The HIA assessor, typically an independent medical professional, is now able to instantly recall video replays to better understand how an injury occurred, if a head was involved, and whether the player needs to be assessed for concussion to determine if they’re fit to continue. What they see through the Ref&Box is mirrored so that team medical staff can also learn more about the injury in real-time and decide how best to treat the player.
Gravity Media’s solution has enabled Rugby Australia to achieve its objectives of providing greater support to match officials, medical personnel and players. And through Gravity Media’s innovative solution and choice of technology, non-specialist users are able to operate the systems easily and intuitively with minimal training, while set-up times, equipment footprint and operational costs are all kept to a minimum.