HDTV, RFID top tech list for World Cup kickoff

World Cup soccer tournaments have traditionally been used to help launch new technologies, such as color television and wireless communications. This year’s event in Germany is no exception — even if a couple of promising technologies such as a chip-enabled soccer ball and broadcast mobile TV will miss the kickoff.

“We’ll be using a few technologies for the first time at the games, in addition to managing some huge, complex IT systems,” said Lothar Pauly, a board member of Deutsche Telekom AG and chief executive officer (CEO) of the group’s IT services subsidiary, T-Systems International GmbH. The games start on June 9.

Arguably the technology expected to generate the most interest at the games this year is HDTV (high-definition television). The new TV system, which has taken more than a decade to leave the lab and enter the market, features razor-sharp, high-resolution picture quality in a 16:9 movie-like format.

Each of the 12 stadiums in Germany will be equipped with at least 20 HDTV cameras and connected via dual fiber optic links to a designated fiber backbone capable of transporting data at speeds up to 480G bps (bits per second). Broadband satellite links will be held in reserve to connect the stadiums if anything should happen to the fiber connections.

Data traffic from all stadiums will flow to the International Broadcasting Center in Munich, where technicians will process signals for the various broadcasting systems in the world. The signals will be fed into T-Systems’ global broadband network. Some will also be sent via satellite using operators such as SES Astra SA.

More than 3.5 billion people are expected to watch the final game in Berlin, according to Pauly. “Believe me, there’s tremendous pressure to ensure that the HDTV and conventional TV feeds work without a glitch,” he said. “If there’s a problem, I can start looking for another job.”

Pauly joined Deutsche Telekom last year after working his way up to CEO of Siemens AG’s communications division.

Another technology debuting at the tournament is RFID (radio frequency identification). The F

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