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Guest Post by Contributing Author Chintan Patel

Chintan Patel is currently the Head of Business Development in Cisco’s Collaboration Business based in the UK.  His background in Engineering and Economics gives him a unique perspective in bridging the business and technology worlds, as does his experience on the buy and sell side of transformational technology.

Over the coming months an organization the size of a Fortune 100 company will be assembled and dissembled to deliver the 2012 Olympiad. Being given the chance to host the greatest show on earth is no simple task. According to LOCOG, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, around 200,000 people will be working on the Games at Games time, supporting those who visit using the 11 million tickets that have been made available.

Whilst the vast numbers of visitors and workers is impressive, I found the more detailed aspects of organizing the games more interesting. 1,069,034 zips for all those games maker uniforms, 25,000 loafs of bread as part of the 14 million meals that will be served, and 2,500 tent units that would be enough to cover all of Hong Kong.  These are just some things that the organizers have had to source and ensure will be available at the right time and in the right place.  Clearly a monumental effort has been undertaken.

Back in Time

The last time the Olympics were held in the UK was in 1948.  Sit back for a minute and think about how such a global event was put together back then without the technologies we take for granted in our everyday lives today. Communications technologies were in their infancy with the rotary phone and there was no Internet that would perhaps have helped productivity. Fast forward a few decades and when it when it came to technology, workers in a 1960′s office could only avail themselves of typewriters and telephones (both operated largely by the secretarial pool)—which were basically all they had in the way of productivity enhancing tools. Employees attended perhaps one or two meetings a day; work began when people arrived at the office, and stopped when they went home, there was no concept of being always connected like we are today.

When we think about how we work today, we get more done over breakfast or during the morning commute than our 1960s predecessors accomplished in an entire day. Thanks to the range of technology innovations flooding into the workplace— everything from tablets to social networking to video- conferencing systems such as TelePresence—employees can work almost anywhere and anytime they need to. In fact, the modern workplace may differ from its 1960s counterpart most dramatically in terms of the lack of actual people; showing up at the office is less and less necessary and already with a congested London, many companies are looking at ways for employees to access work resources remotely.

Most Connected Games

How does this all relate back to the 2012 Olympics?  Well simply put, around four billion people around the world are expected to watch the London 2012 games.  The big change comes in how any one of these individuals will actually watch the games and how they will interact with the games. Every photograph, sports report and the millions of calls, emails, videos and texts will race across global networks in a digitized manner at tremendous speed.

Many considered the Beijing 2008 Games to be the first digital Olympics due to both the availability and use of technology at the Games.  As can be expected the Beijing Games were the most-watched Games in history, thanks in no small part to YouTube, which generated millions of views through the International Olympic Committees Digital YouTube Channel.

However, rapid changes in technology mean that in the last four years, we have seen tremendous changes in both technology adoption but also major shifts in traditional ways of working.  The increasing availability of broadband and in particular mobile data connectivity has made it easier to get online from anywhere.

People now spend more time on websites like Facebook than any other website, 900 million users and growing, we also consume more video and especially from non-PC devices.  According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index in 2011, 22 percent of IP traffic originated with non-PC devices, but by 2016 the non-PC share of IP traffic will grow to 31 percent. We spend more time connected via mobile devices than ever before - Traffic from wireless devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2016, and at the same time wired devices will account for 39 percent of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 61 percent of IP traffic

Interestingly, smartphones and tablets are now outselling desktop and laptop computers, over 800 million unique visitors visit YouTube each month, 3 billion hours of video is being watched each month, and over 72 hours of video is uploaded every minute to YouTube.  One big trend emerging is the fact that traffic from mobile devices to sites like YouTube has tripled since 2011 and at least 3 hours of video is uploaded per minute from mobiles devices.

All these fundamental changes will surely make London 2012 not only the most connected games but also the most digital and mobile.

As the official network infrastructure supporter for London 2012, we’re helping to make it more than just the most connected Games ever.   This includes providing network security appliances, routing and switching equipment, wireless access points and controllers, IP telephony handsets and the Communications system via our Hosted Unified Collaboration Service (from BT).  To put a perspective on things, over, 16,500 IP Phones will be installed across the 94 sites, with 1,800 Wireless Access Points.

This means that Cisco’s network infrastructure will underpin the delivery of the voice, video and data traffic for London 2012 that will be carried over BT’s communications services network to the thousands of people officiating, reporting, competing in or enjoying the Games.

Moments that Matter

When a race is won, a medal is presented, or a record is broken; visitors will take videos, press will write headlines, and games makers will want to ensure that the information reaches all the right places.

With our partners we will be working hard to make sure that everyone’s photos, videos, emails, tweets, posts and calls will all make it to their destination, because communications matters when sharing life’s important moments.

And of course, if one of the Games makers needs that extra loaf of bread he or she will be able to quickly get in touch with the right person to find it!  We hope to see you in London for the most digital, mobile and connected games ever.

To find out more about how Cisco are helping to deliver the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games visit: www.cisco.co.uk/london2012

You can also join in the conversation now #CSL2012

 

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