Hosted at an unprecedented time as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Summer season Olympics (branded as Tokyo 2020, held in 2021, and formally referred to as Video games of the XXXII Olympiad) shall be remembered for not simply the extraordinary performances of the athletes, but additionally for being some of the technologically superior Video games ever hosted.
Cloud expertise was used for the primary time on the Olympics and, as a technologist, I’m thrilled to see cloud applied sciences taking part in an instrumental function in driving the digital transformation of the Video games. The cloud infrastructure enabled modern expertise purposes, so the Video games might efficiently overcome most of the hurdles put in place by the pandemic whereas creating a brand new basis for a way the Olympic Video games—and different main sporting occasions—shall be broadcast, organized, and interact with followers sooner or later. For sure, we’re already excited concerning the alternatives that cloud expertise will unlock in future Olympiads.
The most important technological change since satellite tv for pc transmission
By the use of instance of how cloud expertise revolutionized Tokyo 2020, we must always have a look at some of the essential parts—the worldwide broadcast group serving tens of millions of viewers. The Olympic Broadcasting Companies (OBS) produced greater than 9,500 hours of content material throughout the Video games, 30% greater than throughout Rio 2016, and with a number of the content material in 8K for the primary time. This yr in Tokyo, when no spectators had been allowed on-site, the function of broadcasters turned much more important for the Video games and world followers.
By collaborating with OBS to assist service supply for rights-holding broadcasters (RHBs) for the very first time, a strong and safe cloud platform referred to as OBS Cloud supplied new fashions for content material supply to drive operational effectivity and higher agility. Working totally within the cloud and demonstrating the large flexibility that the expertise gives, OBS Cloud was designed to drive actual transformation within the media business and to organize it for all of the alternatives introduced by the digital period.
With the pandemic stopping followers from attending the Video games, it was crucial that broadcasters globally had entry to high-quality content material that might be distributed throughout a number of platforms to assist share the drama and the emotion of the Video games. To that finish, throughout Tokyo 2020, as much as 9,000 short-form content material clips had been produced by the OBS Content material+ crew to assist improve RHB protection. The clips might be accessed by the RHBs’ digital and social media groups from any location on the planet to complement their very own Olympic protection. This expertise enabled broadcasters to cowl the Video games in a less expensive, safe, and versatile manner, from any location on the planet, making certain a gradual and constant stream of broadcast content material all through the Video games, a lot to the delight of tens of millions of followers hungry for a slice of the motion!
It’s simple to grasp why this broadcast growth excited Yiannis Exarchos, the OBS chief government officer. In his view, the partnership with Alibaba Cloud has remodeled how the Olympic Video games had been broadcast to the widest doable viewers. He mirrored on it being “the largest technological change within the broadcasting business for greater than half a century because the introduction of satellite tv for pc transmission.” That’s a exceptional landmark, on condition that satellite tv for pc transmission was launched to Olympic broadcast protection for the primary time way back to 1964.
Additionally used as a part of post-production workflow, the OBS had used the Content material+ platform for distant enhancing and requirements conversion, a characteristic that shall be prolonged as a service to the RHBs for future Olympics.
Protected by the cloud—making certain workers are protected
After all,occasion organizers and dealing workers are central to the supply of the Video games, and Tokyo 2020 supplied its personal challenges for them as a result of excessive summer time warmth. For example the dangers that Video games employees confronted, greater than 8,000 folks in Japan had been taken to hospitals affected by heatstroke signs between July 19 and 25 this yr, whereas Tokyo 2020 formally kickstarted on July 23.
I consider expertise can assist reply successfully to important conditions like this. That’s why we launched a cloud-based answer to assist scale back the chance of getting heatstroke for the onsite working workers uncovered to the climate. By an clever in-ear gadget, the expertise helped maintain observe of staffers’ physique temperature and coronary heart fee. Based mostly on this info and the encircling warmth index (together with temperature, humidity, and direct or radiant daylight), a cloud-based system recognized the extent of heatstroke threat in actual time. Alerts had been then despatched to workers uncovered to a excessive stage of threat, together with beneficial precautionary measures—akin to consuming extra water—to cut back the probabilities of getting heatstroke.
The innovation that was well-received by Hidemasa Nakamura, chief of the Essential Operations Centre of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Video games (TOCOG). Maybe much more importantly, it was well-received by Video games employees; because it turned out, Tokyo 2020 was reported to be one of many hottest Olympic Video games in historical past.
Ongoing engagement with followers
Regretfully, the pandemic prevented world followers from being current on the Video games. However expertise can all the time play a optimistic function in addressing challenges. Final yr, we spent vital time working with TOCOG on a digital distant fan engagement program referred to as “Share the Ardour.” Leveraging the cloud and digital enhancing expertise, this incredible venture inspired sports activities followers globally to assist their favourite groups and athletes on a extra private stage, wherever the fan or the crew is predicated. It took benefit of AI-powered expertise to combination real-time movies uploaded by followers on social media platforms, and broadcast them in venues to ship cheers, assist, and motivation for the athletes. You possibly can think about the joy that this modern answer supplied, whereas projecting high-energy, optimistic vibes amongst followers and athletes alike with the viewers’s cheers filling the world.
Connection is irreplaceable, and Olympic Video games are among the best examples of connectivity between followers and athletes, completely different generations, and sports activities communities throughout borders. Holding true to this worth, we created our first Cloud Pin, a cloud-based digital pin designed for broadcast and media professionals working relentlessly to cowl the Video games for all of us. The wearable digital gadget permits the contact-free change of data, and was designed to assist media professionals working on the Worldwide Broadcasting Centre and Essential Press Centre to attach with one another and change social media handles in a protected and interactive method. Worn both as a badge or connected to a lanyard, it marries the conference of swapping contact particulars with real-time, cloud-based comfort.
Different thrilling initiatives additional inspired fan and viewers participation. For example, the IOC launched The Olympic Retailer on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall. Along with being a world retailer for followers searching for official Olympic-branded merchandise, it additionally acts as an info portal to assist maintain followers updated with all the newest Olympic information and data. It’s a spot the place retail and commerce merge to additional delight sports activities followers, whereas taking the Video games into a brand new period of fan participation.
Unleashing athletes’ full potential
Different beneficiaries of cloud expertise—and lots of would say a very powerful—had been the athletes themselves, via a expertise referred to as 3D Athlete Monitoring (3DAT).
In collaboration with Intel, 3DAT offers audiences skilled insights into athletes’ efficiency because it occurs. With out the necessity for motion-tracking sensors, 3DAT leverages normal video, AI, and laptop imaginative and prescient to extract over 20 factors in 3D on the athlete’s physique, reworking these information into wealthy visualizations to reinforce broadcasters’ storytelling for key occasions.
Waiting for much more thrilling sporting experiences
Throughout our first Summer season Olympics, we’re happy to have taken our sponsorship function to a brand new stage that goes past the normal industrial package deal. As an unique worldwide companion for cloud providers, we’re honored to supply a brand new cloud-based basis for a way the Video games had been broadcast and operated in some ways. Equally, we consider that the cloud will play an essential function in reshaping the expertise of how main sporting occasions can be broadcast, organized, and shared with followers sooner or later. We’re pleased with the function we performed in serving to Tokyo 2020 to reshape the sports activities and broadcast business in an unprecedented manner. And we aren’t stopping there; Tokyo 2020 was simply the beginning of the digitalization journey of the Olympic Video games.
This content material was produced by Alibaba Cloud. It was not written by MIT Know-how Assessment’s editorial workers.