The Olympic torch hasn’t been carried into the Opening Ceremonies yet – it’s still a year and a half away before the Summer Games consume London – but there is a crescendo of energy that is already palpable as you tour the main site where the competition will play out.
East London, a community that has longed for rejuvenation, is finally getting it. At Cisco Live! Europe, held a few days ago in London, we had a chance to tour the expansive construction site that is fast becoming the heart of the 2012 Summer Olympics. If the pictures below are spotty, apologies. It’s the best I could do with a smartphone camera and a tour bus rocking gently over gravel and muddy roads. But quality aside, you will be able to see that the arenas and main stadium are taking shape. The architecture is distinct and contemporary. The athletes’ village is modern and amenable. The construction is ingenious and environmentally friendly. For example, the basketball arena can actually be folded up and transported to another location. Hundreds of thousands of local newts were carefully relocated to a temporary environment prior to digging.
With all the care that is being taken, Cisco is making sure it does its part. Cisco is the official network infrastructure partner of the London 2012 Games.
Yes, Cisco’s networking will be pervasive behind the construction and facilities themselves. It will be one of the most modern manifestations of networking technologies ever. Think Smart and Connected Communities and Cisco’s StadiumVision weaving in with wired, wireless, and virtualized infrastructures. Think mobility. Think cloud and virtualization. Think video and collaboration. And think green. The London Games will feature the most tricked-out IT of any international competition to date. You may not see the infrastructure, but the goal of the London Olympics is to transform the way the world experiences the Games, through the pervasive use of technology – whether one is there live or thousands of miles away. If you think the network for Beijing was big, multiply it by 32. That’ll be what London gets. It’s not just Cisco evangelizing the forthcoming wave of video and devices that will expand the Internet beyond what we’ve seen today. The organizing committee anticipates the video and social media wave as well, and the network will be designed to support it.
When the Games conclude and the Olympic flame is extinguished, the impact on East London will be significant. The Athletes Village will be used for low-income housing. The infusion of money will help kickstart East London’s makeover. And the brand legacy of the Olympics focusing the world’s attention on a once-forgotten borough in one of the most unforgettable cities on the planet will last for a long, long time.
Here are some pictures of the site as of early February 2011. When finished, javelins, routers, and the sense of community will never have looked so good together.