Hosted at an unprecedented time because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Summer season Olympics (branded as Tokyo 2020, held in 2021, and formally known as Video games of the XXXII Olympiad) can be remembered for not simply the extraordinary performances of the athletes, but in addition for being one of the vital technologically superior Video games ever hosted.

Cloud know-how 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 position in driving the digital transformation of the Video games. The cloud infrastructure enabled modern know-how functions, so the Video games might efficiently overcome lots of the hurdles put in place by the pandemic whereas creating a brand new basis for the way the Olympic Video games—and different main sporting occasions—can be broadcast, organized, and have interaction with followers sooner or later. For sure, we’re already excited concerning the alternatives that cloud know-how will unlock in future Olympiads.

The largest technological change since satellite tv for pc transmission

By means of instance of how cloud know-how revolutionized Tokyo 2020, we should always have a look at one of the vital vital elements—the worldwide broadcast group serving hundreds of thousands of viewers. The Olympic Broadcasting Providers (OBS) produced greater than 9,500 hours of content material through 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 have been allowed on-site, the position of broadcasters turned much more important for the Video games and world followers. 

By collaborating with OBS to help service supply for rights-holding broadcasters (RHBs) for the very first time, a sturdy and safe cloud platform known as OBS Cloud supplied new fashions for content material supply to drive operational effectivity and larger agility. Working totally within the cloud and demonstrating the great flexibility that the know-how presents, OBS Cloud was designed to drive actual transformation within the media trade and to arrange it for all of the alternatives offered 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 could possibly 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 have been produced by the OBS Content material+ crew to assist improve RHB protection. The clips could possibly be accessed by the RHBs’ digital and social media groups from any location on the planet to complement their very own Olympic protection. This know-how enabled broadcasters to cowl the Video games in a cheaper, safe, and versatile approach, from any location on the planet, guaranteeing a gradual and constant move of broadcast content material all through the Video games, a lot to the delight of hundreds of thousands 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 have been broadcast to the widest doable viewers. He mirrored on it being “the largest technological change within the broadcasting trade for greater than half a century for the reason that introduction of satellite tv for pc transmission.” That’s a outstanding 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 function that can be prolonged as a service to the RHBs for future Olympics.

Protected by the cloud—guaranteeing employees are protected

In fact,occasion organizers and dealing employees are central to the supply of the Video games, and Tokyo 2020 offered its personal challenges for them because of the excessive summer time warmth. For instance the dangers that Video games employees confronted, greater than 8,000 folks in Japan have 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 know-how may also help reply successfully to crucial conditions like this. That’s why we launched a cloud-based resolution to assist cut back the chance of getting heatstroke for the onsite working employees uncovered to the climate. By way of an clever in-ear gadget, the know-how helped hold monitor of staffers’ physique temperature and coronary heart fee. Primarily based 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 danger in actual time. Alerts have been then despatched to employees uncovered to a excessive stage of danger, together with beneficial precautionary measures—reminiscent of consuming extra water—to cut back the possibilities of getting heatstroke.

The innovation that was well-received by Hidemasa Nakamura, chief of the Major 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 know-how can all the time play a constructive position in addressing challenges. Final yr, we spent important time working with TOCOG on a digital distant fan engagement program known as “Share the Ardour.” Leveraging the cloud and digital enhancing know-how, this implausible challenge inspired sports activities followers globally to help their favourite groups and athletes on a extra private stage, wherever the fan or the group relies. It took benefit of AI-powered know-how to combination real-time movies uploaded by followers on social media platforms, and broadcast them in venues to ship cheers, help, and motivation for the athletes. You possibly can think about the joy that this modern resolution offered, whereas projecting high-energy, constructive vibes amongst followers and athletes alike with the viewers’s cheers filling the sector.

Connection is irreplaceable, and Olympic Video games are the most effective examples of connectivity between followers and athletes, totally 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 alternate of data, and was designed to assist media professionals working on the Worldwide Broadcasting Centre and Major Press Centre to attach with one another and alternate social media handles in a protected and interactive method. Worn both as a badge or hooked up 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. As an illustration, 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 hold followers updated with all the most recent Olympic information and knowledge. 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 know-how—and plenty of would say a very powerful—have been the athletes themselves, by means of a know-how known as 3D Athlete Monitoring (3DAT).

In collaboration with Intel, 3DAT provides 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 position to a brand new stage that goes past the standard business bundle. As an unique worldwide associate for cloud providers, we’re honored to offer a brand new cloud-based basis for the way the Video games have been broadcast and operated in some ways. Equally, we consider that the cloud will play an vital position 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 position we performed in serving to Tokyo 2020 to reshape the sports activities and broadcast trade in an unprecedented approach. And we’re not 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 employees.