The latest Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 had just closed its doors on February 20 and a new benchmark for a more digitised Olympics was created. The digitalisation of the Olympic Games is supported by Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group and has showcased many creative technologies and innovations. Due to the success of migrating their core games technology services to Alibaba Cloud, a safer, more efficient, sustainable, and inclusive experience has been created for participants and audiences.
Drive the inclusivity of sports
The pandemic has made everything into disarray and there was no exception for the sports industry. The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 took place inside a bubble that separates participants from the broader public. By easing the communications and engagement, Alibaba Cloud launched an innovative cloud-based technology “Cloud ME”, powered by its real-time communication (RTC) solution. “Cloud ME” facilitates social interactions for people who are keen to explore bona fide meeting experiences during the Games, enabling them to meet, and enjoy real-time conversations with each other via life-sized, true-to-life projection.
The participants can step into a pop-up studio in the Cloud ME booth and have their full body image projected realistically into a remote booth, in which their projected personas will be displayed to meet and greet their counterparts. This technology has successfully brought people closer together for Games, despite the Covid-19 restrictions and geographical distances.
Debut of the virtual influencer, Dong Dong
For the very first time, an Olympics’ virtual influencer has been revealed by Alibaba Group. Supported by technology of Alibaba Cloud, Dong Dong, the advanced digital persona is developed by Alibaba DAMO Academy, Alibaba Group’s global research, as an initiative to better connect with Olympic fans – especially the younger, tech-savvy generation. Dong Dong is also known for her authentic human-like features, sparkling personality, as well as her specialty to interact with audiences in an engaging manner.
This has proven to be particularly efficient for engaging with the younger audience as from February 4 to 20, Dong Dong’s live streaming has been viewed by more than 2 million viewers with a fan base of more than 100,000.
Sustainable and efficient digital immersion
As an effort to increase broadcasting efficiency, Alibaba’s cloud technologies were utilised further during Games. For the first time, the distribution of live signals of the Olympic Games over the cloud has been implemented, providing Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) with agile and cost-effective options. Through the Games, 6,000 hours of footage were produced by the OBS and broadcasted to more than 220 countries and territories.
The OBS Video Server, which was fully hosted in the cloud, provides RHBs with an efficient and scalable system while reducing onsite hardware investment. With Content+, RHBs could access all content produced during Games, including the live coverage, remotely with ease. The implementation of OBS Live Cloud also provides an alternative to heavy investment for RHBs and the host cities, when the Olympic Games related contents can be transmitted over the public cloud, effectively reducing the carbon footprint of broadcasting related operations, further reducing the time and cost investment on IT infrastructure, hardware, and associated management.
Alibaba Cloud’s initiatives for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 has proven the advancement of Alibaba’s cloud technologies. Alibaba Cloud will continue to push technology boundaries even further to create an enthralling mixed reality such as digital personas or virtual influencers. A whole new way of engaging with the audience will be innovated through immersive experiences or a metaverse-style setting, whether during large-scale, global sports events, virtual conferences, or 3D exhibition tours and more.