While most coverage of the upcoming Rio Olympics has been negative based on bad decisions and some major bad luck, we can thank technology for showing up and providing a little inspirational relief for the host city and the games themselves. Pending no more human remains wash up outside the volleyball arena, the futuristic and cool uses of technology by the Olympics and Rio might elbow their way to the top of the news-feeds a few times in the next 30ish days. In 2014, we wrote about Rio’s use of Big Data to prepare for the World Cup. According to Patrick Adiba, CEO of major events at Atos, the technology involved in the Olympics was “at least eight or 10 times” greater than […] the FIFA World Cup,” (qtd. in Motherboard). Let’s take a look at what a difference two years makes.
Major Olympics systems will be cloud-based for the first time-
2016 marks the first year the Olympics has been ready to move some pieces of its operation to the cloud. According to Jean-Benoit Gauthier, technology and information director at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), “All systems related to management of the Games—from HR to sports entries and qualifications—are in the cloud, reducing the number of physical servers from 1,000 to 250,” (std. in Motherboard). While the 2016 Olympics has training wheels for the cloud with a physical operations center in Rio and the added support of a Technology Operations Center in Spain, Atos says by the 2018 games, all systems will be cloud based, eliminating the need for a physical testing lab in the host city. (via).
Technological coolness sponsored by…
There are quite a few companies behind a lot of the advances that will be showcased at the Rio Olympic games. Cisco will ensure all coverage of the games will be broadcast on NBC and the internet by providing a powerhouse of video technology solutions, networking between venues, and wireless security infrastructures. Cisco has developed video camera-laden blimps that will fly above the city, providing around the clock surveillance and the ability to tap and zoom in real-time from one location to the next like a live version of Google Maps. Visa will introduce a new payment technology at the games which allows athletes to pay for merchandise, food, and other Olympic necessities with the swipe of a ring on their finger.
Rio’s airport gets a much-needed tech upgrade-
Rio is about to host a 17 day party that millions of people will fly in to Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport to attend. One of Rio’s major technological investments in support of the games (and subsequently the city’s future), went to a new wireless network for the airport complete with a mobile app. “The network is used by airlines, security, immigration, stores, concessions and passengers. At the Olympics’ peak, the airport expects to have 90,000 visitors a day, double the usual number,” (CIO). This upgrade makes Rio’s general airport operations top notch compared to it’s outdated, patchwork assembled network and will ensure travelers will have access to flight updates and change information.