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The Technology behind the Olympics

Recently Gerry Pennell, the CIO for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog), has been talking about the technological challenges involved in putting on the games.

The success of the Olympic Games is highly dependent on the vast amount of behind the scenes technology involved.

He described his biggest job as measuring “the athletic competition and then to distribute the results.” The primary job will be measuring timing and scoring followed by relaying the results to scoreboards, TV commentators and a central results distribution system. The system must also relay information such as whether an athlete has set a new personal best or world record.

Since 2002 Atos has been supplying the Olympics central information distribution system. The system has seen significant redevelopment for this year’s Olympics reflecting the advancements that have taken place over the last decade. It is expected that there will be a large demand for information delivered to smartphones as a result a huge Wi-Fi zone has been created around the Olympic park.

A quarter of Locog’s budget has been spent on technology with funding spent on projects such as a broadcast center, the Olympic village, a central control center and much more. The Olympics will be benefiting from its own VoIP network, a LAN and a WAN. Pennell has described the operations centre as similar to the Houston Mission Control.

It has also been reported that a number of health technology companies are supplying athletes with the latest devices to help them optimise their performances. For instance DexCom has donated glucose monitors to a number of athletes. The US track cycling team is using these together with a sleep monitor in order to help them achieve the optimal amount of deep sleep and hence their best performance. Ben Rubin, Chief Executive of Zeo which offers sleep monitoring, has said that Zeo is seeking “to understand their sleep first, then trickle those findings down to everyday athletes and ordinary folks.”

OCA News Editor