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Project Manager : Project Manager April May 2012
systems & technology awarded for excellence in WHEN USAIN BOLT TOOK GOLD in the 100m sprint at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his time of 9.69 seconds “smashed” his old world record by a whopping 0.03 seconds. And if Bolt’s casual celebrator y finish to the race suggested he cared little for the clock, you can bet the 91,000 present in the stadium, and the billions following the race through TV, the internet or other media were hanging on every millisecond. Such are the fine lines by which modern sport is measured in this technological age. The technology team wins our bronze medal for the commitment and vigour it has brought to testing. At the opening of London’s Technology Operations Centre (TOC) in October 2011, Patrick Adiba, CEO for Iberia, Olympics & Major Events at Atos, the Worldwide IT Partner for the IOC, explained the wide- ranging challenge they face. “During Games time, this will be the central technology hub providing the results to the Olympic family and world’s media in less than a second, so spectators around the world can follow events in real time wherever they are and on any device,” he says. Situated in Canary Wharf, the TOC will act as mission control for all 94 Olympic venues, monitoring and controlling 900 ser vers, 1000 network devices and security devices, and 9500 computers, with a staff of about 450 covering 180 positions. Without the luxury of being able to iron out any kinks as the event progresses, pre-Games the testing regime is suitably exhaustive. By the time the Olympic Flame is lit to signal the start of competition, 200,000 hours of stress testing will have been completed with two technical rehearsals set to simulate threats such as cyber security and physical attacks on IT equipment. London is hosting a series of sports events to test its preparedness, and the first phase of the London Prepares series served as the first real-life practice events for the technology behind the Games. During 79 days of competition, the technology team set up and took down almost 180 servers, more than 1160 PCs and laptops, 190 network and security devices and more than 400 printers and copiers. The use of actual sporting events to run checks of the systems seems even more important when one considers Atos’s statements that it “expects to process 30 per cent more results data than in Beijing, ensuring the world’s media meets the increasing demand of fans for information as it happens”. For London, Atos has also upgraded the ‘Commentator Information System’, which, for the first time, will collect data and scores from all 26 of the Games events and five of the Paralympic sports and present the information to journalists and commentators in real time in a digestible form. To do this for so many different events with so many different scoring systems, r ules and types of statistics has been a complex task. The CIS has been tested vigorously in the TOC labs, but several independent third-party testers have also been brought in to run the system through its paces, assessing the website’s usability and accessibility. After all, with more than 21,000 journalists expected set to be working on site at the Olympic Games, the pressure to deliver trustworthy statistics and scores, which are so central to sports coverage, is significant. •••
Project Manager Feb March 2012
Project Manager June July 2012