Xeebra 2.0 Implements EVS' New AI-Enabled Platform for VAR

EVS Xeebra

EVS is releasing a new version of its video refereeing system Xeebra 2.0 that adds new functionality including AI-driven field calibration, audio support for exports and IFAB protocol support for VAR [video assistant referee] usage. This updated version relies on a new modular platform, built on a suite of microservices and AI engines based on machine learning, that will become the core of all EVS products. Both the platform, titled VIA, and Xeebra 2.0 has been presented at the 2018 NAB Show.

Initially, VIA's components will consist of VIA Flow workflow engine, VIA Mind incorporating AI and machine learning, and VIA Opengate, centralised APIS and tools. These services will augment EVS' most recent products as well, including X-One supporting single-operator live production, S-Core controlling IP flow routing, and Xeebra 2,0 described here, which accesses VIA's AI capabilities. The newest product, also introduced at NAB 2018, is a major update of the EVS XT server, now called XT VIA, which now has a higher density, both SDI and IP I/O and six channels of UHD. (Look for more news about VIA on Digital Media World, coming soon.)

Returning to Xeebra 2.0, the machine learning implemented into the system automatically calibrates the field of play, a time-consuming task that is subject to error and needs to be done carefully. The AI-driven calibration in Xeebra 2.0 doesn’t require pre-game setup or the use of extra sensor hardware or cameras. It only uses the images from the live broadcast camera feeds. As a result, operators have minimal involvement in the calibration process and can be more confident that their graphical overlays will be applied precisely onto the field.

Referees use Xeebra to review plays away from the field, with more clarity and convenience. The client interface displays feeds from up to 16 HD cameras, depending on how many cameras are in use, always synchronising the content from all cameras. Users can then narrow down their reviews from all 16 screens to one full screen using touches, selecting their preferred angles, including side-by-side zoom or zoom inside a single camera.

From the touchscreen or a dedicated EVS BEPlay controller on the scoring table, users can pilot dynamic layout browsing, instantly zoom directly into the replay with a touch and zoom, and mark and label the most important situations for review and export later.

EVS xeebra screen

The system's  client/server architecture allows officiating to take place from anywhere in the venue, either close to the action or in a separate technical room. The only connectivity needed is a GigE link. Xeebra architecture is also flexible and scalable, adapting to various sports. Likewise, an organisation can begin with a single server and add others when operations expand.

After review, officials can define the content and camera angles to take away from the match, and export an incident report with metadata in a format that is compatible with their purposes - reviewed situations often become valuable for post-game analysis, programmes and other applications.

Regarding the updates, because the VAR workflow depends on vision and sound, Xeebra 2.0 is now able to ingest and export game audio as well as video. Use of the system's dedicated BEPlay controller, a configurable remote controller with a jog wheel for reviewing or editing content, has also been updated with customizable buttons.

EVS is accredited as an official technical partner of FIBA, the international governing body for basketball. MEDIAPRO uses Xeebra as a VAR system for top soccer leagues including the Primeira Liga in Portugal and the Liga MX in Mexico. Xeebra is also used by the British Horseracing Association and more recently by NEP Ireland for the NatWest 6 Nations’ rugby championship.  www.evs.com