KIGALI - The Rwanda Information Technology Agency (RITA), a branch of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) charged with promoting the use of ICT in the country yesterday announced the installation of state-of-the-art Large Screen Broadcast Technology in the two main stadiums of the country.
According to RITA, the ‘Big Screens’ which use LED Large Screen Display Board Technology installed at Amahoro National Stadium and the Regional Stadium at Nyamirambo are designed to function as public display Television type network, managed from one central point over a standard IT infrastructure to transmit locally, regionally or over a wide area network.
The launch of the technology coincided with the ongoing African Youth Championship (AYC) a continental football competition that started Sunday.
The RDB Deputy CEO in-charge of ICT, Nkubito Bakuramutsa described the launch of the large screens which are currently broadcasting live footage of the Under-20 games to thousands of spectators, as one of the most exciting products ever launched in the country.
According to a RITA statement, the screens which have already stirred excitement among football fans will be used to transmit streaming video and TV live feeds of the action during major public functions like sporting and musical events at the two stadiums.
At a later stage, the screens which display digitalised images in full colour will be used to relay general branding advertisements and promotions for the public and private sector to market different products and services to the general public especially during intervals and breaks.
“The flexibility and control of the system allows specific targeted content to reach specific areas or venues for public viewing. With these screens we can inform or entertain over 500.000 people gathered in one place, without compromising quality of image and sound” says Bakuramutsa in the statement.
The screens installed at Amahoro and Nyamirambo stadium cover a width of 14metres and a height of 8.5metres, making it possible for viewers to watch from far distances while a smaller version of 7metres in width and 2.8m length was setup in Petit Stade just next to Amahoro stadium.
According to Allan Kabutura, the officer in-charge of ICT projects at RITA, people can be able to watch on the giant screens from different corners within the neighbourhood especially those who may not have access to the main venues as already witnessed during the kick-off of the U20 AYC.
The technology has gained approval among lovers of football, who, on top of watching high quality live feed from the many cameras placed in the different corners of the stadium, they are also able to watch flashbacks of the action, team line-ups and substitutions as the games goes on.
The Large Screen Display boards became prominent in the 2006 World Cup in Germany when they were setup in open city areas, creating fans parks for the thousands of fans who could not make it to the stadiums.
The same feat is now being followed by South Africa, setting up Fan Parks around different cities ahead of the 2020 World Cup.
Rwanda now becomes only the third country in Africa to install extra-large screens in stadiums as Africans countries rush to set up public watching areas ahead of the first World Cup event to be held in Africa.
The other African countries which already have the technology are Egypt and South Africa.
Bakuramutsa also says the Mega screens setup by a Korean Firm, Korea Telecom will be used to generate revenue by placing consumer adverts as they are potential marketing tools.
Winfred Ngangure, the RITA Projects Manager, said that this is the pilot project but the agency has finalised plans to install more of these screens in different strategic public venues not only in Kigali, but also in other parts of the country.