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Mobile Technology and the 2012 Olympic Games

With the 2012 Olympics taking place in London this summer, the UK’s tech industry has a tremendous opportunity to flex its muscles on a global stage. Here we take a look at how mobile technology is being used and managed throughout the 2012 Olympic Games.

Mobile Technology & The Olympics

Now that the 30th Summer Olympic Games are underway in London, the sheer volume of people in such a concentrated area will push limits of mobile communications technology. In order to accommodate the strain, 30 mobile phone masts have been added within the 500 acre Olympic Park area, “14 of which are reserved for inside stadium use.”

Stuart Newstead, chair of the body representing UK mobile operators and content providers, told the BBC:

At peak time when one set of spectators leaves and another arrives you will have between 200,000 and 300,000 people on site. It’s as well prepared as it can be. The key to the planning has been co-operation between the operators to maximize the laws of physics, allowing a far denser configuration of masts and antennas than normal to ensure as much capacity as possible.

BT has installed over 1,000 wi-fi hotspots with free access to subscribers to take some of the strain off of the 3G network.

Mr. Newstead added that developers, including those of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Official App, have been encouraged “to gather as much pre-loaded information as possible before the users arrive at the site.”

Following The Olympics On Your Mobile Device

Here are some of the top free apps for iOS and Android that will help you follow the Olympics on the go:

Reuters has put together a gorgeous photo viewing and article-sharing app for iPhone and iPad called Reuters Olympics London 2012. The app also provides medal counts and schedules for each sport. The UI is clean and intuitive on the iPhone, but the app really shines on the iPad with a unique side-scrolling timeline. You can download the app HERE.

Reuters Olympics London 2012 App (iPad app shown above)

NBC is offering an Official App and a “Live Extra” App, both of which are available for iOS and Android. The official application is both informational and social, allowing users to view news, medal counts and engage with twitter and facebook fans from the device. The “Live Extra” app offers live video streams and replays for 302 events across all 32 sports. You can download both apps HERE:

NBC “Live Extra” App for Android (left) and NBC Official Olympics App for iPhone (right)

Olympic Sports Using Mobile Technology

Award-winning journalist Eric Lai wrote a fascinating article about how mobile technology is being used for various Olympic sports. The report indicates that some sports like swimming and hurdling collect data with cameras and motion sensors to improve time and marks and simulate real competition in practice sessions. Other sports, like sailing, are using apps like the SAP BusinessObjectives Explorer for iPad app to use “location-based analytics that help sailors avoid obstacles during races and plot the best, wind-aided courses.” Check out the full article HERE.

Below is a video that highlights how Audi Germany’s Sailing Team is being helped by SAP’s technology solutions:

The Network Infrastructure Behind The 2012 Olympic Games

For this year’s Olympics, Cisco is the Official Olympic Network Infrastructure Provider, “helping to make it the most connected Games ever.” From Cisco’s website:

This means that Cisco’s network infrastructure will underpin the delivery of the voice, video and data traffic for London 2012 that will be carried over BT’s communications services network to the thousands of people officiating, reporting, competing in or enjoying The Games. We are also providing essential network infrastructure equipment that will support the Games time and administration applications on the LOCOG network. This includes network security appliances, routing and switching equipment, wireless access points and controllers, IP telephony, handsets and the call manager system via our Hosted Unified Collaboration Service (HUCS from BT).

This is a tremendous opportunity for the UK Tech Industry, according to Cisco’s Managing Director for the 2012 Olympics, Neil Crockett. In the video below, Crockett talks to The Enquirer about ensuring the technology is in place to support the Games:

Check back for more mobile technology news as it relates to the 2012 Olympic Games throughout the coming weeks!

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