From Friday 27th July, all eyes will be on London; the Olympics is the UK’s chance to shine. Over the coming weeks, the Fleishman-Hillard tech team will be looking at some of the technologies being used to enhance the biggest sporting event in the world. Our first entry takes a look at the technology running behind the scenes…
It’s finally upon us. After years of planning and preparation, months of hard core media campaigns and perhaps the biggest clean-up operation our city has ever seen, London is pulling together to ensure that the Olympic and Paralympic Games run smoothly and successfully.
While every part of our capital’s infrastructure faces public scrutiny, I was interested to learn that almost a quarter of LOCOG’s budget (£482m, incidentally) has been assigned to technology – clearly, the expectation to deliver is high.
Olympic IT supplier Atos’ Technical Operation Centre (TOC) is acting as mission control, with 900 servers, 1,000 network and security devices and more than 10,000 computers for the Games.
The TOC is the hub of information distribution, and will measure the competition data directly off of the track, field, pool, etc. and confirm the exact timings, scoring and results of the athletes. Atos already predicts that it will process 30% more results data than in Beijing – the TOC will ensure that the demands of media and fans for ‘information as it happens’ are met.
One thing is for sure – the TOC is going to be a prime target for ‘hacktivists’ and cyber criminals hoping to infiltrate the Olympic network in order to access a worldwide audience to spread their social or political messages. Powerful computer viruses remain a worrying threat, with the ability to bring down infrastructure at an unprecedented cost. While we all hope that the UK takes centre stage for winning a record number of gold medals (well, I did say hope!), let’s also hope that the unthinkable potential cyber-attack remains…well, unthinkable.
Atos reports that it’s expecting up to 14 million possible attacks on a daily basis, which quite frankly is a staggering figure. To combat this, its advanced back-office technology has undergone 200,000 hours of rigorous testing to ensure that the Olympic networks remain impenetrable. However, the proof will be in the pudding.
I’m always interested to gain such insight into the back-office functions at events on such a large scale. One can only imagine that as the general UK public reaches Olympic fever-pitch, there are many legs frantically swimming beneath the rippling surface to keep our city safe from cyber-attacks and ensure things run smoothly.
We’ll be sure to read all about it if there are any developments, but for now, let’s enjoy the festivities and hope that GB hits the headlines for all the right reasons.