Alibaba Cloud brings seamless technology to the Olympics amid pandemic

by NURUL SUHAIDI

ALIBABA has leveraged advanced and reliable technologies, transforming the recent Olympics into a seamless digitalised experience to engage and support the fans, broadcasters, athletes, event organiser and integrating the audience into the world stage of sports.

The technological solutions provided by Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group including Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) Cloud, Alibaba Cloud Pin, and Cloud solution to reduce heatstroke risk, made their debut at the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Tokyo 2020).

Together with OBS, Alibaba provided its service delivery for Rights-Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) from Content+, which is the content delivery platform for the OBS, migrated fully to the cloud infrastructure.

It has transformed the way RHBs broadcast the Olympic Games, hosting an efficient service for media organisations when airing the games to a worldwide audience.

Alibaba Cloud Pin serves as multifunction digital name tag for safe and fun social interaction at the IBC and MPC during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

A cloud platform’s agility allows for speedier remote production and post-production simply with an internet connection, as well as more flexible deployment with fewer resources on-site.

From delivering the short-form content, content asset management and content production, everything could be operated fully upon the OBS Cloud supported by Alibaba Cloud.

As for the Olympics post-production workflow this time, OBS used the Content+ platform for remote editing and standards conversion – a feature that will be extended as a service to the RHBs for future Olympics.Ensuring that Tokyo 2020 fans were provided with a maximum viewing experience, OBS Cloud also enabled two RHBs to receive live distribution of Ultra High Definition (UHD), High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Internet Protocol Video and Audio packages, allowing them to deliver 4K content to a wide range of audiences.

To help international media deliver top-notch content to their audience, Alibaba Cloud extended and developed a new way of maintaining meaningful interaction among the press with the Olympic Cloud Pin, to allow safe interactions while assisting them in maintaining social distance at the venues where there was plenty of physical movement.

The Olympic Cloud Pin is a cloud-based digital pin for the broadcasting and media professionals at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

This digital wearable is the first cloud pin, which serves as a digital name tag for safe and fun social interaction at the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) and Main Press Centre (MPC) during the momentous Olympics event.

The pin, which doubles as a versatile digital name tag, allows users to meet and welcome one another, add people to their “friend list,” gain access to social media and share daily activity updates like step counts and the number of friends established throughout the day.

This was done simply by tapping their pins together at arm’s length, observing the social distancing procedures used during pandemic.

The handy pin could be worn either as a badge or attached to a lanyard. To stay connected, the users just need to download the Cloud Pin application and pair their wearable device via the Bluetooth function.

International Olympic Committee Director of Digital Engagement and Marketing, Christopher Carroll, said in the spirit of Tokyo 2020, people look to engage and connect with one another around the world through a digital ecosystem.

The artwork on the pins can also be customised, allowing users to choose from designs inspired by the 33 Olympic sports.

Lastly, as a Worldwide TOP Partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) , Alibaba not only took care of connectivity, but also onthe well-being for the Tokyo 2020 working staff. Alibaba made sure steps were taken to help avoid any complications that could arise from prolonged heat exposure and physical exertion in the dynamic weather, which could cause discomfort and health risks.

For this, Alibaba introduced an intelligent ear-worn device to reduce heat stroke risk among its users.

Intelligent ear-worn device supported by Alibaba’s technology

The technology in the in–ear device allows the Olympics site crew in Tokyo keep track of their body temperature and heart rate while working under the scorching sun.

Any risk was then alerted to those who were susceptible, along with recommended preventive measures such as drinking extra water to lessen the risk of heatstroke.

The heat index in the surrounding environment including temperature, humidity and direct or radiant sunlight were monitored through multiple heat stress Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) metres set up at 14 competition venues.

Chief of the Main Operations Centre (MOC) of the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Hidemasa Nakamura acknowledged that by working with Alibaba and other Worldwide Olympic partners, the organising committee is determined to provide a safe tournament environment.

As Tokyo 2020 was held during the pandemic, in the run-up to the event, fans around the world were invited to film themselves performing to the rhythm “Tokyo 2020 Make the Beat!” to cheer for their sports heroes. 

A compilation of the submissions, generated using the Alibaba Cloud technology, was displayed during the event.

Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International Business GM Selina Yuan said through leveraging technology, the company believed that its stable, resilient, elastic and secure cloud computing infrastructure will help digitalise the Olympic Games in various ways and bring new experiences to everyone involved.

Overcoming the digital hurdles, Alibaba powered a major success and lit up Tokyo 2020, an Olympics which the world thought would never take place, in light of the pandemic.