Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT


2010 FIFA World Cup opens up new technology opportunities in communications

16 May 2007 Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

In looking ahead at the new technology needed for South Africa's hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Thomas Makore, Spescom Telecommunications CEO, talks about the new opportunities created.

In looking ahead at the new technology needed for South Africa's hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Thomas Makore, Spescom Telecommunications CEO, talks about the new opportunities created.

Thomas Makore
Thomas Makore

Spescom is directly involved with all the major role players in the initiative to have digital, high-definition TV (HDTV) in place, as well as other elements, such as mobile TV services, already successfully piloted during this year's World Cup. Through its various divisions and partners, Spescom provides studio TV production equipment, digital TV terrestrial transmission equipment and through direct channels, even the mobile phone handsets that can receive TV over the GSM network.

"South Africa is set to move to the next level of broadcast, converged communications with the new technology being put in place for this event, which draws a huge global audience," says Makore. "Specifically, this includes HDTV transmission - replacing the obsolete analog equipment in use at present - and digital mobile TV services direct to cellphones.

"Spescom Telecommunications supplies products and services to operators such as Sentech, who provide the transmission network, Telkom and the SNO in fixed-line communications and all three of the country's mobile operators - Vodacom, MTN and Cell C. Multichoice is an operator who will also play a role in the broadcast and transmission of high definition TV.

"Sentech, who are in charge of signal distribution on the network, have already committed to being ready by 2010. A key part of that is the availability of settop boxes - rather like a decoder - which will enable present TVs to display the HDTV transmission.

"The goal is to make sure that the new technology is affordable for the man in the street, which will require intervention by the regulator and government.

"On the mobile TV side, this is a new service which was rolled out as a field trial project with great success by the mobile operators during the recent World Cup in Germany. A consortium including SABC, Multichoice, Sentech and all three mobile operators, arranged this trial of the DBV-H (digital broadcast video handheld) technology.

"Once the licensing is put in place by ICASA, there are huge benefits coming on stream for suppliers, such as ourselves, operators and the general public. Spescom is partnered with some of the world's leading companies, such as Sagem Communications and Samsung Electronics, and is well placed to supply all aspects of this project, from studio recording equipment, to transmission equipment, the call centres and even the new TV-enabled mobile phones themselves through supplier direct channels.

"We are very well placed to contribute to this project and, along with the rest of the local ICT industry, we look forward to the challenge of ensuring that South Africa can offer converged communications of First World quality by 2010," concludes Makore.





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