Technology Play at Tokyo Olympics 2020

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By Vijeth Shivappa

The global pandemic has created havoc around the world. But the world has to move on and the show must go on with all the precautions. Tokyo Olympics 2020 is finally happening in 2021, with a grand opening ceremony on this Friday,  23rd July. Under these circumstances, there are undoubtedly many thoughts and opinions surrounding the event. While actual sporting games are played at various arenas of Olympic stadiums , technology is playing a leading role, making Tokyo 2020 the most innovative Olympic Games in the history. Let me outline few of them for your reading.

Cutting edge facial recognition will provide a large-scale facial recognition system, for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The facial recognition technology will be used to identify over 300,000 people at the Games, including athletes, volunteers, media, and other staff for entry points of venues and accommodation. Benefits include preventing risks related to identification fraud and reducing long waiting times for ID checks.

5G technologies and infrastructure platforms are paving the way to gigabit connectivity, new mobility solutions, more immersive viewership experiences, cutting-edge smart city applications and advanced broadcasting services. The ICT infrastructure supporting the Olympic Games operations for it’s mission-critical environment, will play a critical role . This ICT infrastructure will connect 42 competition venues including the Olympic Stadium and non-competition venues such as the Athletes’ Village, Tokyo 2020 headquarters, broadcasting set-ups, hotels and many more.

Working together with it’s various technology partners, the International Olympic committee, has ushered Olympic 2020 Games into the new era of technology and innovation. During the Games – to enable new Olympic experiences , an artificial intelligence based computer vision will enhance the viewing experience for Olympic fans with near real-time insights and overlay visualisations . This uses applications hosted in a cloud infrastructure fed by four pan-tilt mounted, highly mobile cameras to capture the form and motion of athletes, before applying pose estimation algorithms, to analyse the biomechanics of the movement of athletes. The system transforms that data into broadcast overlay visualisations that will be available during replays of the 100 metres and other sprint events.

Digital audiences worldwide can now experience virtual tours & appreciate the art, culture & history of Olympic Games that are on display at the “Olympic Agora ” cultural hub. I hope this global sporting event provides strength and a sense of one-world through Japan’s spirit of hospitality. For the viewers, the universal allure of this historic and world’s-largest sports celebration. Finally, my hope is the Tokyo 2020 to be a source of inspiration for many around the world.

–  The author is a senior executive at Hitachi Vantara and a member of the Technical Council of SNIA, a Global IT industry body. All views expressed are personal 

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