As reported widely after the event, the London 2012 Olympics proved to be one of the most digital Olympics ever, and it’s clear that mobile technology was one of the key drivers that enabled transformation in the way that the games were consumed by viewers and spectators.
According to the BBC official web site, BBC Sport online “delivered comprehensive, quality coverage including a page for every athlete, country, sport and venue; 2,500 hours of coverage; and up to 24 HD live streams, ensuring audiences never missed a moment of the action. And, by making every sport available across PC, mobile, tablet and connected TV, viewers could keep up to date with the action, whenever and wherever they were.”
In addition, web site traffic also delivered some amazing figures: the BBC delivering 2.8 petabytes on the busiest day; streaming quality was the highest the BBC has ever delivered online, averaging over 1 megabit per second. The peak traffic moment was on 1 August 2012, at over 700 gigabits per second – the day Bradley Wiggins stormed to victory.
Even NBCOlympics.com declared that 37% of online coverage was viewed on a mobile device.
This certainly required a level of innovation in production and delivery of content and platforms never seen before, through collaboration between multinational corporations in London and beyond. So much so, that the British government showcased this innovation to international businesses at a very prestigious location, Lancaster House, a historic building close to Buckingham Palace, during the games. Speakers at the event including firms that were central to delivery of the technology innovation that enabled the games – in digital innovation, mobile innovation and smart cities.
Keynote speeches included the UK Chancellor George Osborne telling a packed audience that the Government is determined to make Britain the technology centre of Europe. “London 2012 is the perfect stage to show investors and entrepreneurs how much we have already achieved, and the exciting potential of what is to come. We are also proud to demonstrate the world-class innovation of the British tech industry, which is helping to deliver the most digitally-advanced Games in history,” he commented. Technology veteran and investor Hermann Hauser, one of the key people behind the technology (ARM processor) that powers almost every mobile phone in the world also gave a keynote speech, and focused on a future based on a convergence of technology and life sciences.
During the showcase, several firms announced their expansion in London and the UK – including Vodafone, Barclays and GREE. Vodafone for example committed to opening a new technology lab and incubation centre in east London, to bring its expertise and global market reach to UK technology start-ups, building on the experience Vodafone has gathered from its xone incubation center in Silicon Valley, combining venture capital investment and start-ups focused on the mobile internet and creative media.
Barclays also provided funding to enable Central Working in east London to launch its third club to help the rapid growth of small and medium-sized businesses – this club is expected to help over 22,000 businesses during the next five years, supporting estimated growth of more than £350 million within five years. Central Working clubs nurture talent within fast growth companies by providing deep support and inspiration, as well as the environment to foster collaboration and peer development.
GREE Inc, a fast-growing Tokyo-based mobile social gaming company in Japan, also announced the opening of a new game development studio in the UK, as part of an aggressive expansion in Europe. The new studio will create employment opportunities in engineering, art, and game production.
The London 2012 Olympics has given a global network of innovative technology companies a great opportunity to produce ground-breaking new ways of using technology to enable a major sporting to have significant global impact. There have been many global and local companies involved in delivering the games, but from a technology perspective, the mobile and content industry should truly be receiving a gold medal for its contribution to enabling the games, according to Carolyn Kimber, a trustee of the UK’s communications management association (CMA), a UK ICT (information and communications technology) sector Olympic champion and a member of Member, Women in Telecoms & Technology (WiTT). Read her opinion, which is reproduced here.
Nitin Dahad, CEO & Publisher, The Next Silicon Valley