S'pore YOG to support multimedia services

SingTel is official "multimedia services partner" for Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, but details are sketchy regarding which services will be activated.

SINGAPORE--Local carrier Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) has been appointed the official multimedia services partner for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) 2010, but details remain scant regarding which services will actually be activated for the Games.

The Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee (SYOGOC) announced during a briefing here Friday that SingTel will provide fixed and mobile telecommunications, Internet access and leased-line services to support voice and data communication at all competition venues.

SingTel CEO Allen Lew said the carrier will provide the network coverage and necessary infrastructure to support all multimedia services, with the aim to provide officials, participants, the media, fans and visitors an "easier and more enjoyable" Games experience.

At the briefing, SingTel showcased five multimedia services that can be deployed during the YOG, but officials declined to confirm which of these will eventually be activated.

One such application features a real-time multilingual translation chat and short message service (SMS), built based on a collaboration with ASL Internet. The service aims to help break down communication barriers between participants, fans and visitors, the YOG said.

The program currently supports five different languages, but Loo Cheng Chuan, SingTel's principal of Idea Factory, said more languages will be included before the start of the Games. When asked about the accuracy of translation, Loo said it is still "a little raw and basic".

Another application leverages the popularity of social networks, where SingTel will build a social networking platform, called SilkRoad. The portal aggregates different entertainment and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, providing users of these popular sites convenience and easy access via one destination.

SingTel also showcased MeSH on the Go, a mobile application allowing participants to stay in touch with lifestyle and related content on their mobile phone. With the aid of personalized services on their mobile phones, Loo said athletes and officials can also access recommended training information, competition results, among others, while on the move.

He added that both SilkRoad and MeSH are powered by NCS Portal City.

Going to street level
Another multimedia service features a mapping tool that aims to help officials, participants and visitors find their way around the competition venues and town. Loo explained that the application provides "street view", giving users a look at how the street would look if they walk on it, instead of an aerial view. He added that the tool will be made available on PCs and mobile phones.

SingTel also showcased an auto-stereo 3D screen, which allows viewers to experience 3D content without the need for any special eye glasses. The carrier is hoping to deploy this platform to introduce games and coverage of the YOG, as well as to create promotional material for the event, said Loo.

With these multimedia services, Lew said the organizers aim to provide a "seamless" and "exciting" range of services for users during the Games.

Ng Ser Miang, chairman of SYOGOC, noted two key components in the anticipated use of multimedia services at the upcoming event.

As several competitions will be held across numerous venues, Ng noted that voice and data communications, as well as data center services provided by SingTel will help keep the organizing committee and participants connected and updated on the latest happenings around the YOG.

The younger generation relies heavily on mobile phones and the Internet, and leveraging new media to reach out to youths locally and globally--via the new applications--will help captivate and engage this audience, he said.

According to SingTel, details about the multimedia services to be offered at the YOG will be unveiled nearer the event.

The local carrier is the latest IT partner to sign on as a sponsor at the Games. IT services vendor, Atos Origin, earlier signed an agreement to be the Games overall technology integrator.

Based in Singapore, Konrad Foo is an intern with ZDNet Asia.