Youth Olympics virtual world to debut early 2010

First-ever Olympic virtual world will be built by ST Electronics, and may be extended to education and e-government after the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
Written by Sol E. Solomon, Contributor

Singapore Technologies (ST) Electronics has been appointed to create and operate a virtual world for the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games--the first time such a concept will be used for an Olympic event.

In a press statement Thursday, the company announced its wholly owned subsidiary, ST Electronics (Training & Simulation Systems), was awarded the contract by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore.

Dubbed "Virtual World for Education and Youth Engagement", the three-dimensional virtual world is scheduled to be ready early next year, the IDA said in a separate statement Thursday. The virtual world will help promote friendship and connect youths from the 205 territories taking part in the Games, the Authority added.

According to ST Electronics, the platform is highly interactive and allows youths to participate in individual and team activities centering around sports, culture and education. Visitors can register at the site and play interactive games.

Athletes bound for Singapore 2010 from Aug. 14 to 26 will also be able to find out more about Singapore and the event through the site.

Goh Kee Nguan, chief executive officer of the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee, noted the virtual world will help the organizers bring the event to an international audience. "People from around the world, especially youth, can know more about the Games, cross physical boundaries, form virtual communities and interact with one another anytime and anywhere," he said in the statement.

The contract value was not specified in both statements, but ST Electronics said the contract is not expected to have any material impact on the earnings per share of its parent company, ST Engineering, for the current financial year.

Use extends beyond Games
According to the IDA, the application of the virtual world can be extended to education, entertainment and e-government after the Youth Olympics.

Ronnie Tay, chief executive officer of IDA, said: "The virtual world will demonstrate how infocomm technology can be harnessed for education and engagement of youths, including those from different countries."

Noting that youths today spend "a fair amount" of time online and are very IT-savvy, Tay added: "A virtual world would certainly be an appropriate platform to engage them."

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