06 February 2002
Olympics sport high-tech backbone
A consortium of leading high-tech companies has put up Olympic-sized electronic infrastructure numbers to support this month's 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Powerhouses such as SchlumbergerSema, Sun Microsystems, Gateway, Seiko, Lucent, Qwest, AT&T, Panasonic, and Xerox are supporting the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC). The collective infrastructure technology, by the numbers, is as follows:
- 32,000 fiber miles of optical fiber cable
- 20,000 tasks in the SLOC information technology (IT) project plans
- 14,200 desktop phones
- 10,000 cellular and personal communications services (PCS) phones
- 7,000 two-way radios
- 4,500 workstations and laptop computers
- 1,850 fax machines and copiers
- 1,150 printers
- 550 servers
- 50 major application systems
- 20 million pages of printed reports expected
- 10 million unique Web site visitors expected
- 2 games data centers
- 1 Salt Lake 2002 information technology team
Virtually all operational and results systems were tested at an integration lab and at their venues.
While many high-tech providers are global giants, some are new to the Olympics. Nevertheless, many of SLOC's most critical games applications needed to be designed and built from scratch-a daunting task, given the complexities of new software projects and an absolute deadline.
The Xerox Olympic Unity Mosaic Banner, a mosaic of photos from nearly 17,000 Xerox employees around the world, is about the length of eight bobsleds. It will drape seven stories of the Hilton Salt Lake City Center throughout the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
SLOC and its partners deployed the largest telecommunications network in Utah and built out the 2002 Web site to support an unprecedented volume of traffic.
Only a small percentage of SLOC's technology budget is cash. The remainder is "value in kind" goods and services provided by the sponsors in exchange for Olympic marketing rights. IOC TOP Sponsors are companies who have entered into agreements with the International Olympic Committee for worldwide marketing rights.
SLOC said its total budget for the 2002 Games information technology project exceeded $300 million in cash and value in kind. The SLOC IT project was composed of many individual subprojects, each tasked with delivering specific systems, infrastructure, and services for the test events and games.
Projects and lead high-tech companies included the following:
- Systems integration: SchlumbergerSema is the information services prime contractor, with overall responsibility for planning and control, quality assurance, project management, design, development, implementation, testing, and operation. SchlumbergerSema has provided technology to the Olympics since the 1992 games in Barcelona.
- Systems management: Another SchlumbergerSema responsibility, the task encompasses managing all SLOC data centers and staging areas, including the IT center, where all information services operations are managed during the games; the SLOC integration lab, where all applications were installed, integrated, and tested in preparation for deployment at the venues; the PC factory, where all computer hardware was staged and configured; and the information services central and venue help desks.
- Hardware deployment and support: Gateway is providing workstations, laptop computers, NT servers, desktop and NT software, and associated support services. It has deployed hundreds of PCs and NT servers at SLOC offices and venues, the integration lab, help desks, and the SchlumbergerSema development team offices.
- Data network equipment: Qwest is providing the data network transport and the data communications equipment required for the data interfaces to Olympic applications. Ikano, a premier Utah technology services company, is providing data network services and support. Sun, a leader in the high-end server arena, is providing all Unix equipment for the games.
- Games management systems: SchlumbergerSema was responsible for the design and development of most Olympic applications, including management systems used to support games planning and operations, accreditation, transportation, accommodations, arrivals and departures, medical encounters, sports entries and qualifications, Olympic Village planning, and protocol. Kodak, a longtime IOC sponsor, is providing imaging technology for the accreditation system.
- Information diffusion systems: SchlumbergerSema is also providing a suite of online applications used by the press and broadcasters, athletes, officials, and other accredited visitors. Info Diffusion Systems include Info 2002, an intranet application used by accredited visitors to access results data, transportation schedules, athlete biographies, medal counts, weather reports, and other games information; Commentator Information System, a browser-based application designed for broadcasters to retrieve real-time results information; and Central Repository and Print Distribution, a centralized database of games and results data used to disseminate online and printed information to the Internet, Info 2002, and other SLOC information systems and users.
- Timing and scoring systems: Seiko, an Olympic sponsor in Nagano and Lillehammer, has provided specialized equipment and systems to time and score competition. It is also providing all venue scoreboards. Qwest is also supporting timing and scoring.
- On-venue results: Wige MIC, a SLOC vendor, leads a team of international sports federation systems providers to deliver venue-based results applications. The systems collect and correlate timing and scoring data, calculate results information, and send it to commentators, scoreboards, and other Olympic systems.
- Private branch exchange (PBX) systems: Telecommunications giant Lucent is responsible for designing and implementing premise-based telecommunication equipment. Lucent also loaned SLOC employees to assist with PBX and cable planning, installation and deinstallation, and project management.
- Telecommunications network: Qwest designed, deployed, and is maintaining the Olympic network that will carry voice, data, video, and audio traffic among all venues and offices during the games. The fiber-based network utilizes Synchronous Optical Network technology, supplying all venues with alternate fiber routes and redundant electronics.
- Long-distance services: AT&T is providing all inter-LATA (for local access transport area) long-distance calling services, including domestic and international, over its software defined network (SDN). SLOC will employ three types of SDN access: dedicated, switched, and remote. In addition, AT&T is providing prepaid calling cards and "swipe" technology telephones at selected venue locations. AT&T also created an Olympic Calling Center in the Olympic Village that will provide long-distance calling services for the athletes.
- Mobile systems and services: The games have two mobile telephone service sponsors: AT&T will provide wireless service, and Qwest will provide PCS. Both mobile sponsors significantly expanded their mobile infrastructure to support anticipated high wireless demands. AT&T and Qwest are supporting all SLOC operational needs for warehousing, delivery, programming, maintenance, and remote services. AT&T will also provide mobile pager support. Samsung is providing equipment for wireless applications.
- TVs, VCRs, camcorders, and audio/visual equipment: Panasonic is providing approximately 4,000 TVs, VCRs, camcorders, and audio/visual products to support the games. The consumer electronics giant also installed and will maintain video boards and sound systems.
- Document processing equipment and services: Xerox is responsible for providing printers, fax devices, copiers, engineering system plotters, and multifunctional devices. Applications supported by Xerox equipment include on-venue results, info diffusion, the games management system, print distribution, and office administration. Xerox device management software (PrinterMap) will be used to provide monitoring and alerts for all network printers. SLOC estimated up to 3,000 digital document processing devices will be installed and operational at games time.
- Internet: The Salt Lake Games plan to make more effective use of the Internet than any other Olympics in history. In addition to being a key source of games and sports information, the 2002 Web site will also serve as an important business applications platform. Visitors to the Web site can purchase event tickets and buy SLOC merchandise. Broadcasters, press, and other accredited visitors have been placing online orders for mobile phones, PCs, and other equipment and services.
SLOC entered into a joint agreement with MSNBC.com and MSN to produce, host, and distribute the official 2002 Web site. MSN will provide Web site visitors with access to games content and standings. SchlumbergerSema will supply the Web site with a variety of games and results information from the competition venues. Other Web site contributors include Monster.com, which is hosting the volunteer online community; eBay, which is providing the online marketplace; and Harris Interactive, which is providing market research services.
— Jim Strothman
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