Wireless Technology Used at Women's Nationals

May 26, 2011, 7:21 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, C.O. – Taking a technological step forward, umpires at the Women’s National Championships at American University in Washington, D.C. have been using Vokkero communication devices to officiate matches.

“The Vokkero team is excited that USA Field Hockey has taken the opportunity to demo our world class Sports Officiating Communication System at this presitigous National event,” said Bob D’Ostilio, Business Development Manager for Vokkero. “We look forward to further workinf with the field hockey community and the sports officials throughout North America.”

These devices are wireless, voice-activated technology that enables umpires on the field to communicate with each other, as well as the umpire administrators on the sidelines. Large international competitions, like the FIFA World Cup, have been using these high-end devices since 2006. Other sports organizations have been using a form of wireless communication devices since early 2000.

“The umpires on the pitch and the umpire administrators off the pitch have been using these devices effectively,” said Terry Walsh, USA Field Hockey High Performance Director. “This is what is used internationally and I am pleased to see that we have taken this step in using this form of technology to improve the quality of the game.”

Umpires generally rely on hand signals to communicate a call or meet in the middle to discuss a questionable decision made. While umpires using these devices still use signals to make a call, having a constant form of communication with each other keeps the game flowing. In situations where one umpire may not have had the best view on the foul that just occurred, the other can instantly communicate the accurate call. In addition, umpires are a team on the field and these devices can offer encouragement and positive feedback to one another.

“Questions on calls can be sorted instantly,” said Steve Horgan, USA Field Hockey National Umpire and Technical Manager. “Instead of having to stop play to meet in the middle and discuss a call, issues can be communicated clearly and effectively over these wireless radios. These devices provide better communication for a better game.”

The umpires at the Women’s National Championships have been impressed with the communication system and feel they assist with communicating calls effectively and accurately.

“The radio communication system has been a great tool to have on the field,” said Maggie Giddens, USA Field Hockey Certified Umpire. “They have served as a way for us to communicate and make sure a call is correct. They keep the game flowing and are another tool in our toolbox to make sure we are getting the calls correct.”

Making accurate and instantaneous calls are not the only benefit of these devices. Wireless communication can serve as a powerful training aid for beginner level umpires. Young umpires can have more confidence officiating a match, knowing that their umpire coach is readily available to assist with positioning, managing an unexpected situation, or answering a quick question. The instructor can correct and provide immediate feedback to the umpire trainee. These in-game coaching opportunities can provide a more positive learning experience for umpires and can accelerate their learning process.

About Vokkero: Vokkero,by Adeunis NA, is the North American subsidiary of ADEUNIS RF, founded in 1993 is a fully independent private company specialized in the design, manufacture and marketing of wireless transmission systems. The corporate office and R+D is based in Crolles, France with its North American office based in Bronxville, NY. For more information, visit www.vokkero.com