Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Tech At The 2012 Olympics


From the start of the Opening Ceremony, it was apparent that London and its ceremonies’ director, Danny Boyle, were going to make it one to remember. Of course there were giant screens strewn about catching all the action for the spectators, but one thing that stuck out were the small LED screens between the spectators’ seats. You may have thought they were just protecting images on the audience, but in fact they were small screens that both the director and his crew controlled remotely.

Aside from the opening ceremony, you’ve got cameras at every angle catching every sport, a computer with a live feed for each judge, cameras and microphones in the audience capturing the reactions from each Olympian’s family, giant projection screens in every area and even outside in parks...I could go on. Take all this and no matter where you are, you feel like you’re right there next to the action.

Couple all this tech with the computer, smartphone, or tablet you have wherever you are and you double the experience. Live feeds of each event accessed on the Olympics website (among others like YouTube and NBC) as well as apps that allow you to check the schedules, updates on winners, and of course more live feeds.

Not only does this tech help us viewers see all we possibly want, but it also is a great advantage to the athletes. Take last night’s broadcast of the Men’s Team Gymnastics competition. If it hadn’t been for the slow motion cameras and an inquiry filed by Japan’s coach, the outcome would have been much different. Forcing the judges to watch the recording of the athlete’s dismount resulted in a metal that Japan would have lost out on otherwise.

When you consider the amount of people administering the event, participating in it and watching it, it’s easy to see why so much has been dedicated to keeping it up and running for the best experience possible. These games have even been dubbed the “greatest show on earth” and everyone wants to be a part of it. Companies like Atos, Cisco, Adobe, Virgin Media, and Omega have contributed in one way or another. In an increase from the last games, 3417 miles of networking cabling has been laid as well as 621 miles of broadcast cables. These cables will, among other things, power and connect 16,400 Acer PCs, 10,000 Panasonic televisions, 390 scoreboards from Omega, 16,500 fixed line telephones, 900 servers and a whopping 110,000 individual pieces of technology equipment. So whether you’re lucky enough to be at the games or just watching them on your TV, computer or phone, take a moment to salute all the technicians working hard behind the scenes!