How Convergence Tech’s Aircast could soon enhance the match day fan experience

by Shania Bedi

Convergence Tech’s Aircast is aiming to become the future face of modern football in their attempts to improve the experience for match-going fans.

Their vision of allowing the match-going fan is optimistic, with plans unveil a tech that will allow those in the ground to rewind, fast forward and watch a live stream with in-match commentary, all in high definition.

It can always be frustrating for a fan if after parting with all that cash for a ticket you are unable to have a clear view of the events unfolding in the match. The match-goer should have the best view shouldn’t they? This simple assumption points to the reason why Aircast can deliver an improved match-day fan experience.

I spoke with Craig Horobin, Managing Director of Convergence Tech, to learn more about what the introduction of Aircast can bring to the football community.

“The idea was always to give real time streaming to fans.

“Aircast enables the fans to access directly to host broadcasts and individual camera feeds. If you’re up in the bleachers you can switch cameras. So if there’s a corner kick on the other side, you can actually click onto that camera and you can see it in real time.”

While Amazon Prime was a success in terms of streaming a host of fixtures throughout the Christmas period, it faced criticism for its failure to keep up with the live coverage, although, Aircast has the expectations of offering a service that is more sophisticated to keep up with the live feed.

“With Amazon Prime services, there is a delay, it is quite difficult specifically for contented networks to be able to put that in real time.

“What we’ve done over a period of four years is work out what sort of protocols streaming we need to configure to be able to give it in real time, so it’s not easy I’ll admit. It has taken some work to get it working but now we’ve got it down to .3 seconds in high definition which includes the commentary as well.

“What we provide is something different and a unique experience for the fans which gives that a different perspective on the viewing of all live sports.”

Football stadiums are not known across the nation for poor mobile and data connection, even the state of the art grounds do not have the infrastructure to provide the strongest network. This raised the question as to how it was possible for a product like Aircast to give fans the access to stream the game live from the football stadium. However, Convergence Tech have ensured they have the facilities to make it a success.

“The unique thing about Aircast is that you don’t need the internet for aircast to operate effectively.

“What that enables us to do is actually stream directly from the broadcast to the fan with not having to go through contended networks. What that gives us is more stability so if you don’t have any internet it doesn’t matter because Aircast will still work.”

Should Aircast venture into English football, it could certainly bridge a gap between VAR and the match-going fan. VAR has been unpopular to say the least since it was introduced in English football as of January 2018.

The amount of disruption and confusion that the new technology has created in football, has caused it to be ridiculed since entering the Premier League. Unfortunately for the majority, VAR is not going anywhere anytime soon, but there may be a solution in finding some sort of understanding between the match-going fan and VAR decisions thanks to Convergence Tech’s Aircast.

“I certainly agree it will give the fan a bit more of a vantage point or a perspective certainly on decisions like the VAR thing and I know there’s been a controversy with some of it but obviously this will give them added information that they would not have been familiar with.”

Aircast is currently being used across Australia but hopes of emerging themselves into the football world are increasing after holding positive discussions with FIFA.

“We have had it working perfectly for the Women’s National Basketball League here in Melbourne, we’re also looking at other venues here in Australia but we’ve been speaking to FIFA as well with regards to this product and certainly there’s interest.

“There are discussions going on and we certainly perceive that we’ll have some leagues or venues that will be interested in Aircast to make this available for fans. We’re in discussions and it’s certainly on the road map.”

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