LiveU’s video-over-cell technology covers races and climbs

Whether it’s climbing Kilimanjaro or following runners around the streets of Cologne, LiveU’s portable video-over-cellular tech seems to be offering an increasingly flexible option to sports producers, especially those interested in streaming the results to online audiences

LiveU is cementing a bit of a reputation for itself when it comes to portable and low-cost systems for transmitting live video for a host of purposes – a fact that it’s just highlighted by sending six employees on an eight-day trek up Kilimanjaro.

The team used LiveU’s handheld LU40 bonded video uplink device to stream footage from the increasingly ubiquitous GoPro HD HERO2 cameras wherever there was a signal available, while in the more remote areas the set-up also included a Thrane & Thrane EXPLORER 500 BGAN terminal using the Inmarsat BGAN satellite network.

It was an impressive demo, not only of the kit but of the employees’ stamina (the Kili trek usually breaks most of the guidelines about hiking at altitude) and opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities, from charity fundraising through to covering geographically disperse events such as rallying.

As for the Cologne runners, LiveU was part of a team including Streaming Factory, Livestream and GO:TV covering the 16th RheinEnergie Marathon Cologne for an online viewership. Here, a LiveU LU70 unit was used by a motorcycle cameraman to follow the race and intercut with static camera images from the finish. O2, Vodafone (4G) and T-Mobile networks were all used.

“The key challenge when streaming on the move is the ‘handshake’ between the different cellular cells/operators being handled smoothly without losing the signal,” explains Zion Eilam, LiveU’s key accounts manager, Germany. “As the success [of the coverage] indicates, this is a challenge that LiveU rises to. The other challenge is cellular congestion along the route (the crowd uploading etc). LiveU overcame this too.”

According to Eliam, one of the key benefits of LiveU’s tech is that it can perform on the move, opening up new avenues for broadcasters and streaming media outlets.

“This is a growing area with events able to be covered while streaming on the move via motorbike, in a car while driving at highway speed and even from a helicopter, “ he says. “The Greece marathon, the Paralympics 2012 marathon, and the IBC2IBC bike ride are key examples. The limit ultimately depends on the surrounding environment but LiveU’s proprietary antenna technology means that normally users don’t have issues even streaming at 100-120kph.”

The marathon runners were, of course, a bit more sedate than that, but there’s nothing particularly laid back about Markus Frisch, CEO Köln Marathon’s appraisal of the equipment.

“The live coverage of the RheinEnergie Cologne Marathon course was a complete success,” he said soon afterwards. “There were great images from the race of the battle for the lead and the winning break shortly before the finish line. Live coverage like this was really valuable; it was widely appreciated, especially by the friends and family of all the participants. Journalists could also follow the exciting race live including the setting of new course records. We will use the excellent LiveU technology again at future events.”

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