The Olympic technology legacy

Posted by Karen on Jul 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM
With The Olympics now a tantalising 4 days away we discuss what kind of technological legacy the games might leave behind. The notion of an ‘Olympic legacy’ has become an increasingly important feature in the modern Olympics. Indeed any city seeking to host the games must build as convincing an argument as to how the positive influences of the games will endure long after, as they will over the suitability of their city to hold a magnificent spectacle at that time. There are many examples of cities creating a positive legacy off the back of the games. In ’92, Barcelona cleverly invested in the simultaneous redevelopment of much of its coastline with new property; including hotels that encouraged record levels of tourism thereafter. While earlier in our Olympic series we explored how the Seoul ‘88 Olympics helped propel South Korea towards becoming the digital superpower it is today Of course it can go wrong too. The Athens Olympics legacy reads like a Greek tragedy; the games playing, if not the role of chief protagonist in Greece’s devastating plummet into financial penury, then at least acting as a member of the supporting cast. The cost of the games ran tens of billions over budget and Olympic stadium was left derelict and discarded years after. If games could win a medal for waste, Athens would have won Gold. Such mistakes London will look to avoid, and despite concerns over the future use of the Olympic Park, in many ways London’s Olympic legacy looks bright – with the games set to be a catalyst for the physical transformation of a huge area of East London and hopefully the inspiration for more young people to become actively involved in sport. More pertinently for our industry, London and the UK also look likely to reap the benefits from a rich technological inheritance. The advent of the games has triggered the long overdue deployment of Wi-Fi connectivity on London tubes and 3G access within the channel tunnel. While we are also set to experience a colossal 24 channel red button service on the BBC ‘Olympic Player’, the database and streaming technology behind it will be used for future sporting and entertainment events. Behind the scenes, many Tier 1 internet carriers and ISP’s have been improving their network to cope with games demands, capacity which users will no doubt benefit from for years to come. Cisco, as one of the official games partners, have built a vast technology infrastructure to deliver voice, video and data to their technology partners and support what looks set to be the most connected games of all time. They have also been at the heart of delivering the Olympics technology centre; a centre which the government decided recently will be transformed, with the help of £350 million investment after the games, into a new tech hub for technology start up’s, investors and global corporations. Over the next few weeks we will all be hoping we get to witness those ‘once a life time’ sporting achievements and moments, those moments immortalised in time, the moments where in 50 years people may ask ‘where you were when it happened’, but let’s hope that in the future, we’ll also still be thankful for the social, cultural, economic and indeed technological benefits that ‘London 2012’ could bequeath upon us long after its final race is run.
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