Beijing 2008 gets RFID tickets, enterprise search

This year's Olympics will pave the way for search capabilities in intranet applications, and radio frequency identification ticketing to beat counterfeiters.

BEIJING--Enterprise search technology is set to make its way into Olympic history when the upcoming Beijing 2008 games commence in 133 days' time.

Jeremy Hore, Atos Origin chief integrator for Beijing 2008

Jeremy Hore, Atos Origin

Atos Origin has been working with the BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad) and Microsoft to incorporate search technology into the intranet application, Jeremy Hore, chief integrator for Beijing 2008 at Atos Origin, said at a media briefing in the Chinese capital Thursday.

Atos Origin is the appointed partner to design, build and operate the IT infrastructure for the Olympic Games in China, as well as those in Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012.

The company also acts as the main integrator for technology from eight other partners: China Mobile, China Network, Kodak, Lenovo, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung and Sohu.com. Microsoft is a technology supplier for Beijing 2008.

Olympic test schedule on track
Next week heralds a milestone in the testing of IT infrastructure for Beijing 2008. The first of two technical rehearsals will be conducted, said Jeremy Hore, Atos Origin chief integrator for the upcoming Olympic Games.
The technical rehearsal, which simulates the three busiest days of an Olympic Games, will involve competition data being fed into the various systems and the management of "problems", such as loss of power and accidental deletion of information from the database.
"The purpose is not to test the systems, but the people…to train them to determine where we have gaps in our policies," said Hore.
The second technical rehearsal is slated for June, just weeks before the opening ceremony of the XXIX Olympiad on Aug. 8. It will involve more personnel, including officials from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad and most, if not all, of the 70 competitive and non-competitive venues.

Hore told ZDNet Asia that work on the enterprise search capability is still pending, but it has so far "been quite good".

The search technology can be applied to future games, but it would depend on the requirements of the individual Olympiads.

"We will look at it on a case-by-case basis [and] see what we would like to use in Vancouver or London," he noted.

The Beijing games will also set the trend for the remote use of Commentator Information System, said Hore. The systems will be made available to broadcasters in their country of operation, instead of at the Olympic venues. The commentators can then access the same real-time results and data feeds

Another first for the Olympic movement is the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in ticketing, according to a BOCOG spokesperson.

Gu Yaoming, who formerly served as a BOCOG executive member and secretary-general of the Chinese Olympic Committee, told journalists Thursday that the five million tickets will contain RFID chips to prevent counterfeit ticketing. Slightly over half of the tickets will be available for public sale.

Beijing 2008 is expected to host over 10,000 athletes participating in 38 sports to be held in seven cities. During the games, an IT team of more than 4,000 experts will be deployed and over 10,000 PCs and notebooks, 1,000 servers and 1,000 network devices are expected to be used.

Vivian Yeo of ZDNet Asia reported from Beijing, China.