Olympic IT Systems Face Final Hurdle

Atos, the official worldwide IT partner of the Olympic Games, will begin its final technical rehearsal of the Games IT system on Monday.

The test will last for five days and will simulate the three busiest days of this summer’s games in London, which begin on 27 July.

Olympic effort

Once the test has concluded, Atos says that 200,000 hours of testing will have been completed during the last year, with the first technical rehearsal last month. The company told TechWeekEurope that the rehearsal will feature a number of scenarios that are “unlikely to happen in real life”, but will ensure readiness ahead of the game. Data from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and various World Championships will be used in the simulation.

Atos will provide the Games Management System (GMS), which includes volunteering, transport and accreditation as well as the Information Diffusion Systems, which relay results and information to venues and information services such as the Commentator Information Service (CIS). Security will be of particular concern, given that accreditation for the games also acts as a visa to enter the country.

Open source software was deemed too much of a risk.

Patrick Adiba, CEO of Iberia and responsible for the Olympics and Major Events Division at Atos said that the Oympics cannot be delayed for technology issues, claiming that it is “The only IT project that must start on a given date that is given seven years in advance.”

Atos has called its partnership “The world’s largest sports IT contract” and said that it faced a huge challenge to successfully perform its role as the systems integrator, adding that although individual IT contractors answer to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Atos was responsible for uniting a number of diverse teams together.

Last Hurdle

Development of the project began four years ago, with the intensive testing programme an early feature. Virtually the whole of the past year has been devoted to testing, with the cut-off date for new technology occurring roughly 18-24 months ago. However Atos’ chief integrator for London 2012, Michele Hyron, said that if there was a problem and the impact of introducing a new technology was more positive than negative, it would considered, providing there was sufficient time for testing.

After the games, the technology will be decommissioned and reconfigured for the Paralaympics, before attention shifts to the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and the next Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Atos has already said that the systems used will be more sustainable than Beijing in 2008.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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