Tech

Cloud technology Winter Olympics sets another record


From place to screen

Most notably, the Olympic Winter Games have increased their use of cloud technology to broadcast events globally. Traditionally, bringing the Olympics to everyone’s screen required expensive international telecommunications optical circuits, as well as major news and TV crews having to fly to the host city. But the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) did things differently. For the first time, during the Olympic Winter Games, broadcasters can receive live footage through a public cloud — a more flexible option at a fraction of the cost of conventional methods. other transmission. Live Cloud is part of OBS Cloud, a joint broadcast solution by OBS and Alibaba that was pioneered during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and used as a standard service in 2022 in Beijing.

Raquel Rozados, director of broadcast services at OBS, said: “Most organizations have been forced to do production and distribution at home and, during the crisis, have to rely on cloud services. cloud to support their new remote manufacturing process. Compared to the 2018 Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the Winter Olympics in Beijing witnessed a nearly 40% off on-site broadcasting staff.

For the first time, broadcasters can remotely edit Olympic sports footage in the cloud, creating social media-friendly clips from live sessions in real time. A multi-camera playback system was used to replay the frame in slow motion from various angles, creating an immersive viewing experience. OBS says it has been produced more than 6,000 hours of high-definition content, provided to more than 20 television stations around the world. While handling such a large amount of ultra-high-definition footage has previously posed a significant challenge for broadcasters, the cloud has made distribution and editing much more manageable. .

Being able to download high-quality footage from the cloud means broadcasters have aboard fleets of journalists, producers, camera and equipment operators that travel to Beijing to cover the incident. to sue. It’s like covid-19 complicated travel regulations, which the International Olympic Committee has pointed to as the biggest contributor to the event’s carbon footprint. “Overall and broader than just applying cloud technology to broadcasting, moving the Game’s core system to the cloud is an important advancement in making games more efficient,” said Zhang. more effective and sustainable”.

Full virtual reality

For participants who are separated by geography or movement restrictions by the pandemic, cloud technology ensures that they are not left out. Cloud I—A real-time communication platform — offers booths in which participants can project their full-body images into other booths. Athletes competing in Beijing without family members were able to use Athlete’s Moment, a cloud-based app to connect with loved ones from the local competition score.

When Chinese fans watching the Winter Olympics fall in love with the Bing mascot Dwen Dwen and want to get their hands on gifts or keys, there’s no better person to talk to the virtual influencer. Dong Dong, 22 years old, from Beijing real people live in the cloud.

Created using Alibaba’s AI technology to display human-like gestures and even dance moves, Dong Dong’s job is to engage a young, savvy generation of Olympic viewers. technology, answer their questions, provide interesting information about the Olympics, and advertise official merchandise. “Dong Dong can look, speak and act like a young girl with a lively and charming personality,” said Zhang. From February 4 to February 20, her live streams are viewed by more than two million peoplewith a fan base of over 100,000.

Zhang emphasized that a virtual influencer like Dong Dong is not meant to replace real-life influencers who regularly work with brands and companies. But they do give brands the option to customize exactly the type of influencers they want to interact with in their market. “Many of these virtual influencers have unique personalities, charisma and distinctive styles of interacting with their target audience, which makes them a great fit for retail brands,” he said. or event organizer.

A more efficient, more sustainable way forward?

This behind-the-scenes look at the Winter Olympics points to high stakes in technology to keep the big events going. “A key challenge is making sure we have a secure, resilient, robust, and reliable cloud infrastructure that can run all of our workloads smoothly and securely,” said Zhang. whole. With organizers working on planning and scheduling, broadcasters waiting for footage and fans shopping online, any outages or outages It can also be a disaster. Fortunately, this isn’t Alibaba’s first experience, Zhang points to the company’s experience with other major events, such as Alibaba’s Global Shopping Festival, held on Nov. annual.

In recent years, other sporting events have also moved – in one way or another – to the cloud. During the 2018 World Cup, 20% of short videos from the event were produced using artificial intelligence, using Alibaba Cloud’s smart video production solution to quickly generate match highlights. And over the past two years, the covid-19 pandemic has pushed event organizers, small and large, towards digital transformation and new technology solutions, a trend that is unlikely to end. even as pandemic restrictions are lifted.

To meet the predictive demand, technology companies have been working on cloud applications with modeling capabilities. One of all Alibaba Cloud Location Simulation Service (VSS). Although not used at the Beijing Winter Olympics, VSS integrates cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and computer graphics to digitally model venues and simulate activities. By simulating sports venues and the activities that will take place therein, event organizers won’t need to go to the actual venue to get a good idea of ​​the space.

“Cloud technology can play an important role in helping event organizers plan,” says Zhang. By leveraging cloud technology to cut down on the amount of physical infrastructure required and enable remote working with leaner teams on-premises, these mega-events can be inclusive, efficient, and cost-effective. more sustainable.

“We believe that in the future, we will push the boundaries of technology even further to create an enchanting mixed reality,” he said. “Digital characters or virtual influencers will find new ways to interact with their audiences through immersive experiences or metaverse-style settings. And cloud-based digital simulations of places and activities can make planning large events a ‘green’ business. “

This article was written by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by the editorial board of the MIT Technology Review.



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