Field Report: Dakar Rally Relies on Clear-Com IP for Critical Comms

The Dakar, the annual event attracts more than six hundred international competitors, in four different categories - Bike, Quad, Car and Truck - travelling up to 900 kilometers a day across 13 stages through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. Communications are key to surviving—let alone winning.

The toughest off road adventure in the world pits some of sport's greatest long-distance rally drivers against amateur competitors in a spectacular and extreme motor race and orienteering challenge. After focusing on the deserts of Africa for some thirty years, since 2009 the Dakar Rally has offered participants the chance to discover the wide open spaces of South America.

Known to fans simply as The Dakar, the annual event attracts more than six hundred international competitors, and is watched on television by a billion viewers in 190 countries, began at Buenos Aires and culminated in the final stage in Rosario, Santa Fé.

Unique operational challenges arise from the sheer scale of the event, teamed with the dangerous and noisy aspects of the sport and extreme landscapes involved with endurance racing. It is essential for safety and the smooth running of the event that comms are reliable, clear and flexible.

In order to take advantage of new and evolving technologies such as audio over IP, the rally organizers decided to upgrade their existing Clear-Com matrix communications system with the latest technology advances. Clear-Com’s French Distributor, Audiopole assisted Integration partner, Astrium in the specifications for the installation and the system design. 

The new system is based around Clear-Com’s Eclipse HX 8.0, which enables standard IP-connected V-Series user control panels to operate both as fully functional intercom keypanels and as multi-channel audio gateways with no requirement for additional hardware or software licenses. This was crucial as the rally needed to send and receive three audio channels from each V-Series panel at remote positions, including two of the V-Panels that were based in Paris. This innovative software feature extends the Eclipse HX’s existing capability to provide remote matrix intercom connectivity over diverse IP infrastructure at no additional cost, making audio and intercom connectivity for applications such as OBs and live events more cost-effective.

Two Eclipse systems travelled with the rally entourage, and for each stage they were set up either in a building or in a vehicle. The systems were used by numerous staff, including race management, medical and safety regulators, and the media (including approximately 40 television stations).

“Dakar Rally has been relying on Clear-Com products for the past 25 years so when it came to updating the installation with the latest advances in technology there was no question about who we were going to talk to,” said Sebastien Rousée, Events Operation Director at Astrium. “The Clear-Com IP-based solution offered us all the features we needed, within our budget, and proved to be extremely successful throughout the rally.”

“We have had a great relationship with Dakar Rally for many years and to be involved with its new set up is very exciting,” said Richard Palmer, Regional Sales Manager at Clear-Com. “We were thrilled to be able to provide the rally with the perfect solution for its needs and to ease any of the tech teams’ worries during the race, enabling them to execute the rally with precision by using reliable and coordinated communications systems.”

Let us know what you think…

Log-in or Register for free to post comments…

You might also like...

Super Bowl to Use IP and Network-Based Audio

Every Super Bowl is a showcase of the latest broadcast technology, whether video or audio. For the 53rd Super Bowl broadcast, CBS Sports will use almost exclusively IP and network-based audio.

The Far-Reaching Benefits of IP-based Audio Stageboxes

Networked modular audio stageboxes have been around for a while and were hailed as a convenient alternative to clunky snakes and the huge patch bays that came with them. Unlike analog stage- and wallboxes, which usually only transmit signals to…

Audio Over IP - Making It Work - Part 3

Multicasting is an incredibly powerful tool used in broadcast infrastructures to efficiently distribute streams of audio, video, and metadata. In this article, we look at the advantages of multicasting, how it works, and the alternatives that overcome some of its…

Thomas Riedel On IP Networking and Intercom Developments

Riedel is best known for its expertise in intercoms, but in the last decade the company has diversified into media networks with the MediorNet products. The company’s products are found at prestigious events from Formula One motor racing to t…

The Benefits of Remote Production for Live Events

The live events industry has grown dramatically. Driven by audiences for smaller sports, new viewing behavior and the opportunity for new revenue. As broadcasters face increasing competition from new media players such as OTT distribution and streaming, both stations and…