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Rio Olympics 2016: Technology Making the Games Green

Rio Olympics 2016: Technology Making the Games Green

From, Published on August 18, 2016

The Olympics is the biggest sporting spectacle of the world and it obviously leaves behind a huge carbon footprint. Construction, transportation, and other Games related activities take a huge toll on the environment, which is not only unsafe for players but also for the people living in close vicinity.

In the effort to reduce carbon footprint, modern technologies such as cloud computing played a crucial role. Even as the scale of operations increased every year, cloud technology ensured that the environmental costs decrease rather than escalate, even as images got more high definition and the coverage of the Games more detailed.

Cloud computing helping reduce the carbon footprint of Rio 2016

In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the Olympics, technology, particularly cloud computing, played a key role. Atos, the official information technology (IT) partner for Rio 2016, migrated many of its operations to the cloud, drastically reducing the need for servers and consequently reducing its carbon footprint. For instance, while 719 servers were used during London 2012 Olympics, the number has fallen to only 250 for Rio 2016.

“It’s a dramatic drop in our physical footprint,” said Shailesh Chauhan , technical and IT security manager for the games’ IT supplier in an interview. “60% of our operations have moved into the cloud,” added Chauhan.

The cloud computing platform was particularly helpful in providing the much-needed robustness and availability that were required for managing an event of such huge proportions.

“Cloud computing servers provided the capability to scale up, particularly in situations where viewers and spectators began asking for information and services in ever-increasing quantity. Additionally, it was easier to scale down operations during lean times. Cloud migration lead to reduced carbon footprint as compared to legacy systems. These were particularly helpful when the events were such large scale with simultaneous coverage by media of all kinds, including online, Television, radio, etc.,” said Somesh Misra, Vice President, Deskera, a cloud software provider.

Covering Rio Olympics 2016 was no less than a herculean task

Atos distributed the Games results to the world in a second, with the responsibility to share Games data, both through online and traditional means, at a quicker pace than ever before to any platform, anywhere. The cloud technology delivered detailed information about events and athletes to various types of computers and mobile devices used by commentators, athletes, coaches, and news organizations. The Games Management System supported planning and operations, including accreditation of over 300,000 sports entries and qualifications, along with handling the huge workforce and more than 50,000 volunteers.

“Atos’ IT systems allowed for the instantaneous reporting and beaming of 6,000 hours of Olympic coverage to the world through both more traditional television means and digitally to billions of laptops, tablets and smartphones. Without Atos, the Olympic Games could not have gone on for the hundreds of thousands of athletes, employees, volunteers, media and fans in Rio, or for the billions who watched the Games around the globe,” said Michèle Hyron, Atos’ chief integrator for Rio 2016, in a statement. In May, the IT company carried out a rigorous three-day trial test of the technology used for Rio 2016. Its systems passed the major tests, including the threats of cyber security attacks and natural disasters.

For more information on green technology, please refer to the following links:
How Tech Companies are Promoting Sustainability
The Role of Technology in Sustainability: Innovative Solutions
The Carbon Footprint of Technology


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