On Friday, billions of people will tune in to watch or listen to the start of the greatest sporting spectacle in the world. As a sports fan, I am excited to see the amazing performances to come, and already prepared with a box of tissues for when I’m brought to tears by the moving stories of the enduring human spirit, courage and acts of patriotism. But as someone who works in technology, and cloud computing specifically, I’m fascinated by what these games represent in terms of the delivery of content. The IT infrastructure required to support the shear volume of content that will be consumed globally and generated by media companies and everyday people – athletes in Rio, fans viewing the games in Brazil and remotely, is overwhelming.

Four years ago, the 2012 games were arguably one of the first of its kind to truly come to life in the era of big data and hyper connectivity. Social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook along with streaming content from traditional media outlets dominated. This year user generated live streams will compete and collaborate with traditional media outlets and social platforms.

Mobile will play an even more crucial role in the consumption and delivery of content. According to Cisco’s recent VNI study, mobile video traffic accounted for 55 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2015. I’m sure that the next 23 days will account for a significant chunk of the 2016 traffic. The types of content anticipated from these games will require IT workloads to scale quickly and enable collaboration between geographically dispersed users. This is ideal for a cloud solution. Fast, agile and easily replicable.

There is a strong business case for a hybrid cloud model for these games and future games. But with cloud, there are legitimate concerns about data security and sovereignty. Organizations’ investing in their IT infrastructure at this scale are looking for strong returns on that investment. This is why a cloud strategy that includes a private cloud option makes sound business sense. Private cloud allows organizations to scale workloads in a secure and reliable environment, allowing IT organizations to retain control of company data and technology spending while empowering them to deliver services as quickly and easily as external cloud providers. Cisco Metapod offers the flexibility of public cloud while keeping data and applications on company-controlled infrastructure.

Cloud computing still has the reputation of a disruptor. But according to IDC, only 25% of organizations have implemented a fully optimized cloud strategy. As more companies reach the ideal state of optimization, cloud computing will realize it’s full potential as the IT game changer that it has promised to be.

According to Gartner, by 2020 IT spending on cloud will double to $216 billion. I can only imagine what the connected experiences will be during those games. But one thing I can be certain of is that if cloud optimization is fully achieved by the 2020 games, it will not be described as a disruptor; it will be the status quo.

Until then, for the next 23 days I will be binge viewing, streaming and downloading to my heart’s content. My Twitter and Facebook feeds will likely be inundated with comments about team USA (my adopted country) and team Jamaica (my birth country).

It’s really a good time to be a sports fan but an even better time to be a technologist.

Go Cloud! Go Team!


Sophia Danvers

Director of Audience Marketing

Cisco Meraki