6 of 9Image
Olympic technology in 2012
With 107 'technology-supported venues' (combining competition and non-competition locations), the 2012 Olympic Games is the world's largest sporting event. As an IT project, it's equivalent to creating a large, fast-growing, multi-site enterprise in a relatively short period of time: discussions with LOCOG began towards the end of 2008, and a mission-critical period of intense activity is scheduled for July and August 2012.
The Games could not take place without its IT infrastructure functioning reliably, and the 27 July start date is an immovable deadline. That adds up to plenty of pressure on Atos Origin (applications and technology integration), Acer (hardware) and LOCOG's other technology partners including Airwave (radio systems), BT (fixed network, mobile network and telephony), Cisco (network infrastructure), Omega (timing and scoring systems), Panasonic (audio-visual, TV and video) and Samsung (mobile communications equipment).
Acer, which has the advantage of experience in providing hardware for the smaller-scale 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, expects to provide some 11,500 desktop PCs (running Windows 7), 1,100 notebooks and 900 servers for the 2012 Games, all tended by around 350 engineers. This IT infrastructure will handle standard back-office tasks like finance, HR and CRM, as well as Games-related duties such as co-ordinating timings, results and the Commentator Information System (CIS).
Much store is set by the small-footprint, low-power nature of the standard Veriton L670G desktop (inset, above), which promotes both logistic and energy efficiency. Some trends, such as the rise in popularity of tablets, were not foreseen at the start of the project, but Acer now expects significant numbers of its tablets to be employed as well.
Michael Trainor, service project manager for the Acer Olympic Project, said: "We've probably completed around 98 percent of our requirement overall", leaving various ad hoc hardware requirements from LOCOG to service over the next four to five months. What remains, though, is testing and more testing, to ensure that nothing goes wrong at 'games-time'.
Main photo credit: Charles McLellan