MANILA (UPDATE) - A representative of the Southeast Asian Games organizing group on Friday said it successfully tested Internet connection at the games' facilities in New Clark City in Capas town, Tarlac, a function essential in the release of real-time competition results.
Lawyer Jarie Osias, spokesperson and legal director of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), said his group conducted the trial in a track-and-field test event at the aforementioned venue. He said the SEA Games information system (SEAGIS) worked the way it was supposed to.
SEAGIS is a games management system developed by a Malaysian company that will serve as a “one-stop shop” for scores, medal tally, player statistics, and other important data. Part of its scope is to interface their software with timing and scoring equipment so game results can be delivered to audiences in real time.
“In fact, just last week ’yung New Clark City, ’yung bagong flagship ng Build, Build, Build ng Duterte administration, kung saan andu’n ’yung athletes’ village at ’yung New Clark City stadium, nu’ng nag-test event sila last week, gumana naman ’yung Internet connectivity,” Osias said in an interview on radio DZMM.
He added that a report on connectivity problems at the SEA Games venues was “dated.”
ABS-CBN News ran a story on Wednesday, Nov. 6, where a representative of a Filipino-Malaysian joint venture that was awarded the contract to supply SEAGIS expressed concern that there was no network infrastructure and connectivity that would allow them to do their job.
“There is no network infrastructure, no connectivity, no cloud (at competition venues),” Arnold Labadan, the venture representative, said.
“The contract for that has not yet been awarded to anyone. Without connectivity, we can’t interface our software with the timing and scoring equipment.”
According to Osias, Labadan told him the interview happened “two weeks ago.”
But it was Labadan himself who contacted ABS-CBN News on October 30 and 31 and said he was “very worried.” ABS-CBN ran the story six days later, after reaching out to Osias, who confirmed what Labadan had told ABS-CBN News.
In the Nov. 4 interview, Osias said the Phisgoc had “already asked for proposals from three network providers.”
“We expect the funds to be released by the Philippine Sports Commission next week. There will be no bidding, as this will fall under financial assistance. Internet connectivity will be activated in all competition and non-competition venues by Nov. 15,” Osias said.
In the DZMM interview, Osias said: “Andu’n rin ’yung grupo ni Mr. Labadan para i-test (at New Clark City), kasi ’yung test event na sinasabi ’yung track-and-field events, gumana naman ’yung scoring, na-project naman sa system, na-collate nila ’yung data, so gumana nu’ng nag-test sila sa test event.
“So medyo dated lang ’yung nangyaring interview kaya naglilinaw rin tayo. So in terms of readiness, handang-handa naman tayo.”
It wasn’t clear in the DZMM interview whether the results during the test event were delivered in real time, which should happen when the software is interfaced with the scoring and timing equipment. Network connectivity is essential to interfacing.
Without reliable connectivity and software, competition results can still be delivered but a noticeable lag is expected. This, according to Janette Obiena, competition manager of the Philippine Track and Field Association, is what happened during the test event.
“After the race, you could see the names of the athletes, the event, the country on the LED screen. But there was a delay in the results.”
The SEA Games will have 46 venues hosting 56 sports, the most in the Games’ history.
In the DZMM interview, Osias wasn’t clear about the connectivity status of other venues, besides New Clark City.
But he allayed worries that Internet connection would be an issue, saying it was a criteria in the selection of a competition venue.
“Now ’yung connectivity, ’yun ang sinasabi natin kasi each venue kasama sa scope nu’ng pinili namin ’yang mga venues, ’yung connectivity aspect, so alam namin na gagana ’yung Internet du’n, alam namin na may Internet,” Osias said.
— With a report from Gigi Grande, ABS-CBN News
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)