Youth Olympics: Major IT milestones to date 'met'

Some modules of Games systems and integration lab in use, while main command center will be ready soon for YOG Singapore, IT chief integrator reveals.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--IT plans for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held here this year have made progress and on track with scheduled deadlines, according to Atos Origin, the company responsible for building and operating IT infrastructure and systems at the Games.

The team has, to date, met major milestones outlined in the project, Yan Noblot, program manager at Atos Origin, declared in an interview with ZDNet Asia. The 34-year-old is the YOG chief integrator and has been involved in several Olympics such as the Athens 2004 Olympics, 2006 Winter Games in Torino and the initial phases of Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

A veteran Worldwide Olympic Partner, Atos Origin was appointed the overall IT lead by the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (SYOGOC) in December 2008 and is also responsible for building the Games Management System (GMS) and the Information Diffusion System (IDS). It currently has 34 employees dedicated to the YOG, with manpower ramping up closer to the event.

The IT services vendor, Noblot said, has since put into "production" several modules under the GMS to support preparation for the Games. It also launched in December 2009 an integration lab to work more closely with other participating sponsors. YOG technology systems are now hosted in a data center in the eastern part of the island-state.

In the near term, disaster recovery plans that include the identification of a redundant data center will also be finalized, he added. The Technology Operations Center (TOC), which serves as the IT command center during the YOG, will also be ready. The games will run over eight days from Aug. 14 to 26.

Compared to Beijing 2008's TOC, the Singapore center will be smaller, Noblot said.

Tapping social media
But while the YOG is generally acknowledged to run on a smaller scale than the summer and winter Olympic events, it has its unique differences.

Due to the lower median age of YOG participants, Noblot noted, there is significant emphasis on new media such as social networking and mobile applications. "Atos Origin as the primary integrator not only has to provide real-time information to those new applications, but we also have to support them," he said.

One example is the "Digital Concierge for Singapore 2010" app, which will be pre-loaded on Samsung's Omnia Lite B7300 smartphones for athletes and selected team officials to use during the Games. As a result of enhancements to the IDS, real-time schedule updates and results will be pushed to the phone via the Digital Concierge app, he said.

The Games will also introduce new events in some sports, as well as a new competition format, he added. In soccer, for instance, teams can comprise players of different nationalities and this creates additional requirements on the IT infrastructure, he explained.

According to Noblot, Atos is currently working with Omega, SingTel and Samsung to prepare the IT deployments needed for the YOG.

The PC vendor is expected to be Acer, which is the appointed sponsor for both the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 games, and the company's logo is already visible on the official YOG Web site.

Noblot acknowledged that Atos Origin has been using computing equipment from a particular vendor, but the sponsor has not yet been identified by the SYOGOC.

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