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Tip #1804: Ten Tech Innovations at the Olympics

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Olympics are legendary for their use of technology. This year is no different.

Logo of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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This article, written by George Winslow, first appeared in TVTechnology.com. This is a summary.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics won’t have fans in the seats, but the games will be offering up a host of tech milestones that the organizers and broadcasters hope will keep audiences cheering at home.

This week, the Olympic Broadcasting Services, OBS, which will be producing a record amount of content for rights holders, came out with its own list of the top ten tech innovations for the Summer Games.

  1. OBS will have a full native UHD HDR production, with 5.1.4 immersive audio (only the coverage of the seven outside Tennis courts will remain in HD). OBS has transitioned its contribution and distribution networks to an all-IP infrastructure to support the UHD HDR production workflow.
  2. The games will see more content in more formats than ever before. OBS will produce additional Multi Clip Feeds (MCFs), as well as fast-turnaround sports highlights, short-form content and mobile-generated clips.
  3. As part of its efforts to provide more content in more formats, OBS will also deliver a record 9,500+ hours of content in support of the rights holders’ multi-platform strategies.
  4. New technologies being deployed include: Multi-camera replay systems (several sports); 3D Athlete Tracking (Athletics 100m) in partnership with Intel and Alibaba; True View (Basketball) in partnership with Intel; Biometric data (Archery) in partnership with Panasonic; Live and on-demand immersive 180° stereoscopic and 360° panoramic coverage (several sports); Virtual 3D graphics (Sport Climbing); 2D image tracking (several sports).
  5. Remote production, both to ensure safety and to provide more coverage, is a big part of the tech game plan. OBS will cover the seven outside tennis courts, as well as certain press conferences, via remote production. The remote production gallery will be set up at the IBC.
  6. Behind the scenes, in an effort to provide more flexible workflows that will allow it to deliver a much wider array of content in more formats to more platforms, OBS has rolled out a set of cloud-based solutions specifically designed for high-demanding broadcast workflows, called OBS Cloud, which allows for greater flexibility and remote production in partnership with Alibaba.
  7. As part of its embrace of cloud and IP technologies, OBS has transitioned part of its broadcast workflows in the cloud. The OBS video server will be extended to the cloud with increased capacity and worldwide accessibility.
  8. Amid growing concerns about climate change and carbon footprints, OBS has been looking for efficiencies in the design of the IBC, notably introducing mini data centres known as Centralized Technical Areas (CTAs).
  9. OBS has introduced new positions close to the field of play and in back-of house areas at selected venues to help rights holders to engage their audience on social media.
  10. OBS has created an innovative digital fan engagement suite, which allows remote viewers to interact with live events in Tokyo and right holders to connect athletes with their fans.

Here’s a link to a 62-page deep-dive into all the innovations at the Olympics. (Be patient, this can take a while to download.)


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