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ACS Week In Review: 27 September 2013 - AFL Grand Final Special Edition

Friday, 27 Sep 2013

This week we’ve decided to take a look at some of the technology behind one of the biggest sporting events on the Australian calendar – the AFL Grand Final. No matter who you support, you can now see so much more of the game, analysis and coverage thanks to some great technological breakthroughs over the last few years. Be it goal review, Foxtel’s “Red Button” or the incredible images from “Spider-Cam” AFL has never looked this good, and it’s all thanks to people who are passionate about ICT. To the hundreds of people working on Saturday to bring us all this spectacle, to keep the mobile networks running and to keep the clock accurate – we salute you!

Wherever you are, whatever time of day – you can watch the Grand Final

The AFL has long had a strong digital presence but in 2013 people all over the world will be able to watch the 2013 Grand Final live online. Utilising the IP address of devices, football lovers overseas can visit a dedicated website and, for a fee, stream the Grand Final live. The vision is taken directly from the broadcast feed distributed by Channel 7, and so includes the commentary, analysis and advertising which are broadcast on the day – giving overseas viewers a real sense of being there for the game. As the service is IP based, it is not available in Australia – the AFL have a dedicated mobile application for those users seeking to watch the game locally on a device other than their TV.

If you are reading this overseas, and would like to watch the AFL Grand Final, visit

The 2013 AFL Grand Final will commence at 2:30PM on Saturday Eastern Standard Time, which is 4:30PM Saturday in New Zealand, 10AM Saturday in Sri Lanka and India, and 9:30PM Friday on the west coast of the USA.

Telcos Prepare for Smartphone surge during Grand Final –

When more than 99,000 football fans file into the MCG on Saturday to watch Fremantle take on Hawthorn, it will be more than the queue for hot chips under siege.

Mobile phone networks are expected to struggle with demand from smartphone-wielding fans eager to update family and friends on the AFL grand final.

Telstra says it has doubled its 4G network capacity in the stadium's Northern and Southern stands in anticipation but warned fans to expect congestion.

''If a call does fail or data is slow loading, we'd encourage users to wait a few minutes and try again,'' Telstra director of wireless network engineering, Channa Seneviratne, said.

Optus has also beefed up its ability to handle traffic, with voice and SMS traffic to be prioritised over data.

During last Friday's blockbuster preliminary final between Hawthorn and Geelong, the MCG's Wi-Fi system collapsed and phone networks came under strain due to demand.

About 193,000 mobile calls were made from the MCG at last year's grand final. (I was at least one of them! – Ed.)

Hear it your way

This year the Fox Footy channel will broadcast a replay of the AFL Grand Final using their red button multicast technology. This use has been devised to deliver the AFL Grand Final in four languages – Greek, Punjab, Spanish and German. This will open up the exciting world of AFL to a whole new audience who will now be able to fully enjoy the thrill of the Grand Final.

If you’d like to hear the Grand Final your way, the Fox Footy Red Button special will be available on Fox Footy Channel through Foxtel at 8:30PM on September 29.

What goes into broadcasting a Grand Final?

In 2013 the AFL Grand Final is being broadcast by the Seven Network, and will be shown live into millions of homes, businesses, airports and watering holes throughout Australia. With more technology being used than ever before, there will be a crew of 175 dedicated to making sure that technology works flawlessly.

While we’ve seen an explosion in wireless technology the broadcast will require over 55km of cabling to connect the more than 50 cameras which will be used to record the game. Cameras will be located in the ordinary positions, as well as being fixed to the goalposts, the interchange benches, the player races, and trained on the coaching boxes. Another piece of technology making a return is the spidercam. This is a high definition, wireless broadcast camera which is affixed to cables which traverse the airspace across the MCG. This camera is truly multi-dimensional, and can be rotated, as well as raised and lowered, all while moving from one side of the ground to the other.

Senator Stephen Conroy to deliver 2013 ACS Telecommunications Address

The Honourable Senator Stephen Conroy will be delivering the 2013 ACS Telecommunications Address on October 11, 2013 at Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf in Sydney. Senator Conroy has a long and distinguished history in Government, having served as the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy for almost 6 years.

Hosted by the Australian Computer Society, the address will bring together some of the leading minds in telecommunications in Australia for an informative and entertaining session covering the development of telecommunications and the issues that will affect the ongoing growth of the sector in Australia.

You can register for this event by visiting

ACS to support ethics research

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has been chosen to partner in a major study into ethics within the information technology industry. The study is being conducted by Dr Yeslam Al-Saggaf, Prof John Weckert and Dr Oliver Burmeister of Charles Sturt University and will continue work that has been ongoing for almost a decade.

The purpose of the research will be to identify common ethical issues encountered in the day to day practice of Information Technology Professionals and develop effective, real world solutions to them. The research will take place across 4 stages over the next 12 months and will utilise online and face to face research techniques.

“This research will be the first major study into the ethical conundrums faced by information technology professionals that will also identify positive solutions to those issues. Since 2003 we have been researching these issues and as we see technology and qualifications change we also see greater prevalence of ethical issues.” Dr Al-Saggaff said.

Members can complete the survey by clicking this link