The digital decathlon

Athletes with the ability to reach high levels of achievement in a variety of disciplines have been revered since the ancient Olympic Games in Greece. The original pentathlon included discus and javelin throw, the long jump, a sprint, and a wrestling match.

Like the infrastructure of the games itself, the format of this event has changed over the years. Disciplines have come in and out of vogue, and the event has grown in complexity. Many of the events are now part of the larger decathlon, but they all remain interconnected and the multi-talented athletes are still celebrated.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio will be the most digital yet. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) aims to be entirely cloud-based by 2018, and Atos has been a key part of this digital transformation. Our technologists have the expertise in many different areas of IT infrastructure. They have been practising the digital decathlon for many years.

Our technologists have honed their skills for their digital decathlon. Our chosen events include the likes of application management, big data and analytics, business process outsourcing, consulting, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data centre services, managed services, systems integration, and transactional services.

Recognisable formats

Since the modern decathlon first appeared on the Olympics schedule at Stockholm 1912, it has attracted thousands of athletes who have refined their skills in the selection of events, which have come together to create a recognisable whole.

In a digitally connected world, consumers demand a package of reliable, consistent and exceptional results wherever, and however, they engage with a brand. The Olympic and Paralympic Games is clearly a brand with a global audience. Atos is proud to bring solutions that allow sporting fans of the various sports to access data quickly from any device, at any location.

For Rio 2016, we have implemented analytics programs, investigated mobility and pin-pointed social technology requirements. This has allowed us to understand with greater certainty what people will want during the Olympic and Paralympic Games and how they will interact not only with the different sports but one another. Ultimately, we want to create understanding between technology formats between the software and the end user.

Ready to roll out

At Atos, we will deliver all services for the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games using our new cloud IT infrastructure, Canopy. Developed in strategic partnership with EMC Corporation, Canopy will link all aspects of the games, from recruitment of staff and volunteers, management of competition schedules, processing of accreditations for athletes and media, and distribution of results.

Many of these aspects are ready and will be used in various guises during the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will be the first summer games where the cloud will be used for key applications: accreditation and the volunteer portal. Last year, we were pleased to unveil our Technology Operations Centre which will be the hub for IT infrastructure in Brazil. This centre will, for the first time, be supported remotely by our Technical Technology Operations Centre in Spain. These are clear digital transformation milestones and it is a challenge we have been preparing for over the course of more than 20 years with our Olympics partners.

The end goal for the Technical Technology Operations Centre is to manage all IT systems for all competition and non-competition venues wherever the host city is in the world. Centralising will provide consistency of operations, more certainty in systems and back-up and of course improved efficiencies and reduced costs. For Rio, our team of 75 technologists will staff the centre, working closely with the Technology Operations Centre in country.

Constantly developing

Canopy has been developed with the VCE Vblock® System – a converged infrastructure solution designed to support cloud based business infrastructure. The full system will be tested for the Olympic and Paralympic schedule from August this year, well in advance of the February showpiece in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This will be tested alongside the workforce management systems, with the cloud capacity escalated upwards to prove it can cope with the high demands of the games. The bandwidth and storage capacity of the cloud will be increased again to run the volunteer portal, which will attract thousands of volunteer requests over a short period.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games is clearly an international spectacle, and due to the nature of the events its schedules have a high level of flexibility. A cloud based system mirrors this; it can expand its capabilities to deal with larger volumes of traffic, or pull-back when necessary too. Our partners and the IOC understand the need for success of this model and are all committed to the long-term use of cloud solutions. The ease of use will become familiar to all stakeholders, including media, athletes and spectators, while the background will provide the strong network required for such a major event.

Flexibility for business

From Atos’ perspective, the use of Canopy at the Olympic and Paralympic Games shows us what can be achieved and provides scalability for any type of business. If it can work at the greatest show on earth, it can work anywhere. The Olympics cloud can be used again and again, unlike current infrastructure which has to be built up for each games, taking additional time and expense. This is the single biggest infrastructure project we have developed, but many aspects will last for years. Our technologists know these comprehensive systems and can adapt to any situation. These systems will be available for use across many different industries and we look forward to the positive impact this will have on businesses.

To tackle the challenges of the digital era, businesses do need to migrate to cloud computing. Increasingly, staff in both Atos and many other businesses are becoming remote workers; working while travelling, working from other offices or countries, working from home. Companies and customers demand the same level of service and quality no matter where their supplier’s staff are located. We are ready to deliver large systems integration projects and ask business decision makers to benchmark what we’ve done for the transformation of IT at the Olympics and Paralympics to their own business requirements to see what we can do for them.

Marta Sanfeliu, Chief Operating Officer Olympics and Major Events at Atos

Image Credit: Getty Images