In a few months, thousands of athletes will face the biggest tests of their careers at the Olympics. But, before all that, they need to qualify. It’s the final hurdle before all the years of dedication and hard work are put to the test. It’s also crunch time for us at Cisco, as we go through the final preparations for the Olympics. And there’s a fair amount of pressure on us to get it right too. The IT systems for London 2012 will process 30% more information than any other games in history and Cisco networking is at the heart of it. We’ve supported BT and Atos on a Games Network that connects all competition and event-critical sites.
30% more information than any other games doesn’t really give you an idea of the scale, but hopefully a few quick numbers will. Our borderless network infrastructure will run at 94 sites. We’ve set up 1,800 wireless access points and installed 16,500 IP telephones. That’s not to mention the 65,000 active connections and 80,000 data ports. And it all needs to be tested. We need to make sure that, come the Games, we perform to the best of our ability because the network infrastructure is behind everything from big screens at the live sites to information for organisers, competitors and fans. Critically, it’s also behind the results process. It makes sure the venue results system feeds into central information systems and the Internet.
You can see why the IOC mandates two full technical rehearsals. Information is at the heart of the Games.
Atos co-ordinated 300 IT professionals from many partners including BT and Cisco, to test the infrastructure in the first rehearsal. The London 2012 technology partners came through the first one with flying colours and BT and LOCOG praised us for the way we worked together with the other Olympic partners. Well done, team! Now, we’re preparing for the final test before the Olympics. It’s the hurdle we need to clear before we’re doing everything for real.
The second rehearsal
For the second technical rehearsal, we’ll face a series of hundreds of sports and problem scenarios over a week of testing. And we’ll have a few spectators too – Groups from Rio, Sochi and Technical Rehearsal Officers from all the technology sponsors will be looking at how we perform during the tests in preparation for the next Olympics. By this point, the Olympic technology partners will have spent more than 200,000 hours testing. After which, the Olympic Committee should finally sign off the technical infrastructure for the Games. Then, just like the athletes, we’ll be performing with the eyes of the world on us. And I’m sure we’ll rise to the occasion and show everyone just how good we are.