With as many as 4 billion people expected to watch the London Olympic games over the next two weeks, organizers have made many high-tech improvements that will captivate and elucidate viewers with four times more information produced than the Beijing Olympics. The U.S. Swimming Team has quickly shown how technology can play a social role in these Olympic Games with their fun video set to the song of “Call Me Maybe.” Here are seven advances in technology that will change the way we’ll experience the most digital-friendly Olympics.
With NBC poised to telecast a record 5,535 hours of Olympics coverage over the next two weeks, the viewing opportunities on our four screens have more than doubled since the 2000 hours broadcasted during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the last four years, smartphone sales alone have risen over fivefold worldwide according to researcher IDC. So the Olympic planners have made it easier for us to view the Olympic events wherever we are and whenever we can with mobile applications:
1) The official London 2012 Olympics mobile applications for the Events, News, Results and games can be downloaded here for Apple iOS mobile devices, Google Android-based devices and Blackberry products. NBC has mobile applications for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices available here.
2) Visa has activated mobile payment technology in a variety of ways for the London Olympics to demonstrate what the future can be for mobile consumers. As many as 1,000 athletes and trialists will be able to use the Samsung Galaxy S III with Visa payWave app on their smartphones to make contactless payments at select locations. Millions of Visa payWave-enabled credit card owners can do the same for London taxis and many Olympic venues.
With Facebook users increasing 10X and Twitter users expanding 300X since the 2008 Olympics (according to iProspect), 2012 marks the year of the Socialympics.
3) Facebook, the world’s largest social network with over 900 million users, has launched a unique Olympic portal as well as hosting the standard London Olympics Facebook site. The Olympic hub gives users an unlimited ability to access athletes, teams and venues at a level that wasn’t capable four years ago.
4) Twitter, the world’s favorite micro-blogging site with over 300 million users, has the official London Olympics Twitter site that provides personalized access to global athletes. Yet with strict IOC tweeting rules, athletes will need to be cautious about how they tweet to avoid being banned from the games for improper remarks (set by the example of Voula Papachristou from Greece).
5) Youtube also has an official London 2012 channel so that viewers can go behind the scenes, watch landmark moments and relive history from prior Olympic Games.
As an official sponsor of the Olympics for 20 years, Panasonic is enabling coverage and broadcast for the first-ever 3D Olympics.
6) Nearly 80% of U.S. households will be receiving over 240 hours of 3D imagery for such events as the opening and closing ceremonies, gymnastics, swimming, track & field and bicycling from your favorite cable, satellite and telco providers. You can also view Olympic venues in a 3D interactive link with 360 degree panoramic photos on a site designed by the Guardian Research team.
A Greener Olympics
7) The London Olympics site is poised to be the greenest venue to date. With nearly 11 percent of the London Olympics’ energy derived from renewable sources, planners have stretched the imagination to ensure that the facilities, energy, food and waste processes are as sustainable as possible. National Geographic has set a remarkable slide show that displays the many ways sustainability has been achieved in the buildings, land and energy facilities (click here). Even though McDonalds is the official food sponsor, organizers have ensured that 800 concession stands are supplied with environmentally, ethically and locally sourced foods and drinks. This will also mark the first time that zero waste from foods, drinks and packaging will be delivered to landfills for all items are either biodegradable or compostable.
Perhaps the most remarkable feat of these Olympics will be that nearly half of U.S. adults (44%) will be using two or more mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) to watch video-streamed events during the 2012 Olympics (according to a Harris Interactive poll). Fourteen percent will use three or more devices. With such a large proliferation of mobile products, this is a dramatic shift from how users watched four years ago. What will be your primary way for enjoying the 2012 Olympics?
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© 2012 by Ed Valdez. All rights reserved.
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*Article first published on Technorati as “2012 Olympics: Mobile, Social, 3D and Green”