University of Essex collaboration hopes to transform sport broadcasting

Live footage from big sporting events like the Ryder Cup and the Grand Prix could be revolutionised by a partnership between the University of Essex and ABER Electronics.

RF and microwave design specialist ABER Electronics has started a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University to transform their sector-leading product offer.

The Colchester-based company claims to manufacture the smallest and best performing RF amplifiers on the market that are already helping to massively improve the way television companies are broadcasting live events.

Their products are being used on radio cameras at many big sporting showcases including the Australian Grand Prix, Dubai Horse Racing and the Ryder Cup.

ABER will now use Essex’s academic expertise in electronic engineering to create a high bandwidth and data rate radio frequency product that runs via optical fibre, which will produce even more powerful and reliable products.

Andy Haynes, Technical Director at ABER Electronics said “ABER hopes to break into the RF over fibre market thanks to a new innovative approach and partnership with the University of Essex. We hope this will increase data throughput and usability of RF over Fibre systems for our clients.”

Developed in partnership with Professor Stuart Walker from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex, this type of equipment and technology will be a step change for the sector, broadening ABER’s commercial reach and growing their customer base.

Professor Stuart Walker said: “ABER’s business needs align well with our world-leading research and applied innovation in RF and microwave amplifiers and antennas. We are keen to support ABER’s business growth and product development plans during this project and beyond.”

The UK-wide KTP programme helps businesses innovate through collaborations with leading academics and highly qualified graduates. As part of the partnership, Essex graduate Matthew Evans, was recruited as a KTP Associate to work at ABER. He will lead the development of the optical fibre technology over the two-year partnership project.

Professor Walker added, “The Innovate UK KTP structure enables a marvellous opportunity for one of our recent graduates to tackle an industry challenge head on with regular academic supervision and guidance.”

It is hoped the KTP with the University will enhance ABER’s staff capabilities not only in new technology but also in business development and marketing, allowing the microwave design company to continue working on such prestigious broadcast projects.

ABER have recently expanded their laboratory space, to allow for the accelerated growth anticipated from the KTP. The product developed will require ABER to hire more specialists, supporting employment and apprenticeship opportunities in Colchester.