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 The Expertise Behind the 2022 Olympics
April 12, 2021

The Expertise Behind the 2022 Olympics

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Regardless of its practically 3,000-year historical past, the Olympics took a serious departure from custom this yr. The 2022 Beijing Winter Video games have been one among a sort as a result of epidemiological, environmental, and political obstacles. Extra particularly, the worldwide pandemic, Beijing’s snowless local weather, and China’s human rights disaster all introduced challenges. The sporting occasion additionally befell simply six months after its summer time counterpart — with spectators experiencing Olympic fatigue and broadcasters straining to drum up the identical pleasure.

However challenges, as they are saying, convey alternatives — which is precisely what China and the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) regarded to capitalize on. In consequence, artistic makes use of of know-how modified the sport at each bump within the highway ski slope.

The ensuing occasion was a logistical achievement so profitable that the common viewer didn’t even notice what was happening behind the scenes. On this method, the 2022 Video games didn’t simply put athleticism on show, but additionally technological innovation. Right here’s a take a look at the next-generation connectivity, capabilities, and digital ecosystems powering all of it.


  • 5 Applied sciences Powering the Olympics’ Digital Transformation
    • The Web of Issues
    • 5G Connectivity
    • Subsequent-Era Content material Supply and Administration
    • Interactive and Immersive Broadcast Applied sciences
    • Analytics and Knowledge Visualization
  • Conclusion

    The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics at a Look

    From February 4 by way of February 20, 2022, Olympians and important personnel entered a ‘closed loop’ system in and round Beijing full with self-driving automobiles and robotic bartenders. Actual-time digital interactivity stored them linked with the skin world, and cloud-based broadcast workflows introduced the expertise to residing rooms all over the place. On this method, Beijing 2022 served as a proof of idea for what essentially the most cutting-edge applied sciences can accomplish at the moment.


    Organizations in Cost

    Among the main gamers behind the world’s largest sporting competition included:

    • Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC): The supreme authority on all issues in regards to the Olympic Video games.
    • Olympic Broadcast Service (OBS): The manufacturing firm offering tv, radio, and digital protection of the Olympic Video games — and thus the supply of all content material created at Beijing 2022.
    • Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs): The TV, radio, cellular, and web platforms from areas around the globe who acquired unique rights to redistribute Olympic content material supplied by the OBS.


    The Bodily Setting 

    Beijing Olympics is a bit deceptive provided that the Video games have been unfold throughout three location clusters located two and a half hours away from each other. These included:

    • Beijing Zone: The Olympic Village, 5 ice occasions, and Large Air snowboarding and ski befell at venues throughout the metropolis correct.
    • Yanqing Zone: A second Olympics Village, sliding competitions like luge, and alpine snowboarding have been held 90 kilometers/56 miles outdoors of the town within the Xiaohaituo Mountain Space.
    • Zhangjiakou Zone: All different snowboarding occasions have been hosted 220 kilometers/140 miles outdoors of Beijing within the Zhangjiakou zone.

    A 5G Categorical Practice linking Beijing and Zhangjiakou ensured speedy journey between the 2 zones for athletes, journalists, and different attendees — boosted by next-generation web protection alongside the route.


    Distinctive Challenges

    • Closed loop: As a result of COVID-19, on-site contributors have been remoted from the exterior world and repeatedly examined. Most broadcasters, commentators, and even judges participated from distant places.
    • Diplomatic boycott: The U.S., U.Ok., Canada, India, Australia, Lithuania, Kosovo, Belgium, Denmark, and Estonia all declared a diplomatic boycott of the occasion as a result of human rights points associated to China’s therapy of the Muslim inhabitants in Xinjiang.
    • No snow: Beijing averages lower than one inch of snow per thirty days all through the winter, for which cause synthetic snow performed an important position all through the occasion.
    • Restricted on-site sources: Forty p.c fewer broadcast private have been on web site than at PyeongChang, spurring the necessity for extra versatile, modular manufacturing environments and cloud-based options.


    The Answer

    A mix of 5G-enabled virtualized applied sciences made the Winter 2022 Olympics attainable. The Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS) moved content material supply, sign processing, post-production, and lots of different broadcasting components into the cloud for the primary time ever. From there, remote-friendly content material workflows linked the disparate events contributing to the occasion — with high-speed connectivity powering all of it.

    Right here’s what OBS needed to say:

    During the last two years, the worldwide pandemic has compelled broadcast organizations around the globe to hurry up their transformation, and so they made extra modifications in these two years than they’d within the earlier decade. We launched OBS Cloud in 2019, then in 2020 when the pandemic started RHB bookings elevated seven-fold. The problem of the pandemic made us all extra artistic in our occupied with learn how to work in a extra environment friendly, distant, and digital method. An necessary venture for Beijing 2022 is a virtualized Outdoors Broadcast (OB) van, whose management room will probably be based mostly on virtualized, cloud-ready applied sciences, achieved in collaboration with our companions, Alibaba and Intel…

    For the primary time, greater than 20 broadcast organizations will obtain the feeds in real-time at their centralized manufacturing home again house by way of the cloud, in both UHD or HD. The truth that broadcasters have proven important curiosity for this new service is indicative of the rising integration of cloud-based workflows and the way RHBs are offloading extra of their conventional video infrastructure to the cloud.”


    5 Applied sciences Powering the Olympics’ Digital Transformation


    The Web of Issues (IoT)

    All through the 16-day occasion, self-driving automobiles transported folks and provides, robots ready meals and tended the bars, good beds geared up with sensors monitored the athletes’ vitals, and web of medical issues (IoMT) wearables tracked their coronary heart fee, hydration, and blood circulate.

    Moreover, loads of web of issues (IoT) cameras captured content material for viewers at house. These included mounted magnificence cameras put in throughout the town, drones and helicopters broadcasting birds-eye views of competitions, in addition to cameras embedded into curling balls and fitted onto snowmobiles. Delivering reside alerts from these distant units required high-performance wi-fi connectivity, which is why 5G performed a necessary position powering the whole IoT ecosystem.


    5G Connectivity

    5G — the fifth era of cellular communications — ensured super-fast broadband for lots of the applied sciences on the Beijing Olympics.

    Particularly, 5G supported:

    • The IoT robots and autos mentioned above
    • Stay digital actuality (VR) content material in 8K decision
    • The 30 5G-enabled cameras on the Video games
    • The 5G Categorical Practice from Beijing to Zhangjiakou



    As talked about above, the 5G Categorical Practice supplied athletes and different personnel with 5G connectivity whereas touring between the 2 zones. Much more spectacular, it housed the first-ever 5G manufacturing studio for Chinese language Information Community, broadcasting reside content material whereas dashing by way of distant areas at 350 kilometers per hour.



    Subsequent-Era Content material Supply and Administration

    The sheer quantity of programming captured in the course of the Beijing Olympics caused a necessity for superior content material administration (or video CMS) capabilities. OBS produced 6,000+ hours of reside video this yr in 4K HDR — boosted by 5.1.4 immersive audio. This gave viewers extra flexibility than ever earlier than in controlling how they devour the Video games. However profiting from it additionally required a easy method for rights broadcast holders (RBH) to prepare, retailer, and share the content material.

    The OBS streamlined content material supply with Content material+, their cloud-based answer for organizing, discovering, and resharing footage from Beijing 2022. The platform leveraged synthetic intelligence (AI) for content material evaluation, indexing, searchability, compilation, spotlight manufacturing, and different types of automation. This allowed OBS producers and regional third events to simply discover what they’re on the lookout for, edit movies remotely, and reshare on a myriad of platforms. Quick-form clip extraction simplified social media distribution and AI-based tagging made is less complicated to type by way of the enormous assortment. 


    Interactive and Immersive Broadcast Applied sciences



    As a very hybrid occasion, the 2022 Olympics leaned on interactive and immersive broadcasting to bridge the hole between on-site athletes in Beijing’s closed loop and distant spectators across the globe. Low-latency applied sciences and prolonged actuality (XR) capabilities made all of it attainable.

    For instance, Eurosport’s protection of the 2022 Winter Olympic befell in a windowless West London studio. Regardless of this, viewers have been in a position to escape from the continued pandemic by tuning into commentators at an alpine lodge with panoramic views of Beijing’s snow-covered mountains. XR capabilities have been used to move commentators anyplace, teleport athletes into the studio, and supply evaluation of occasions like by no means earlier than.

    That is all because of the Discovery+ Dice, a digital studio designed to immerse viewers inside Beijing. Discovery explains:

    “Discovery’s ground-breaking Dice will once more proceed to push the technological boundaries in broadcasting and studio growth. The Dice creates a complete digital world, past any sports activities studio seen earlier than, depicting a hanging mountain hideaway embedded within the face of a snow-capped mountain. Because the viewer is introduced nearer, the expertise is revealed to be an unlimited cinematic winter resort, providing limitless immersive presentation and evaluation positions on a number of ranges of the resort…

    Bespoke avatars constructed to carefully resemble athletes from particular winter disciplines, will float within the Dice, so ‘Staff Discovery’ specialists will have the ability to stroll round them and analyze the trivialities of an athletes’ actions and efficiency in additional element than ever earlier than. As well as, background avatars will populate the studio house, including ambiance and life to the atmosphere, and can even be transported across the resort by a functioning ski carry. Bringing collectively a variety of various avatars and winter environments, Discovery’s Dice can create 1000’s of various combos for example its winter sports activities storytelling.”

    Different examples of interactive and immersive capabilities included:

    • Athlete Moments stations, the place athlete interacted with household and pals again house straight after stepping off the rink, slope, or bobsled chute.
    • A Digital Fan Wall, which gave world followers the power to add clips and share messages of help.
    • The Digital Cheer Map that dynamically displayed viewers members around the globe supporting the Olympians in actual time.
    • AR/VR multi-camera replays for viewers to take close-up appears or study varied angles of the competitors — leveraging the 70+ hours of 4K VR 360° content material streamed in the course of the Video games.
    • Social media integrations and enhancements starting from AR Instagram filters to TikTok’s devoted content material hub.


    View this put up on Instagram

    A put up shared by The Olympic Video games (@olympics)


    Analytics and Knowledge Visualization

    Lastly, the Beijing Video games displayed an unprecedented stage of information visualization. These watching from house had entry to in-depth analytical perception utilizing real-time telemetry. 2D picture monitoring pinned athletes in relation to 1 one other; whereas immediate bounce evaluation confirmed the peak, angle, and period that an athlete was within the air. This additionally took the type of overlays displaying the altering pace of a skier and 360° views of an ice skater throughout replays.



    In some ways, all the things in regards to the Beijing Video games was artifice — from the winter panorama that athletes competed on to the distant commentators projected into Beijing’s snow-covered setting. Faux snow, a artifical carbon-neutral pace skating ice river, and the world’s largest LED show over 8K decision additionally made the 2022 Winter Olympics attainable.

    COVID-19 actually spurred innovation, as did a number of different distinctive challenges outlined above. However does that imply that virtualized applied sciences and driverless automobiles will not be leveraged come the 2024 Summer time Olympics in Paris? Not an opportunity.

    The revolutionary applied sciences at Beijing 2022 will outlive the pandemic and proceed to rework how the world’s largest sporting competition is delivered to life. Cloud-based broadcasting workflows will streamline how content material is collected, distributed, and consumed — with immersion and interactivity turning into normal throughout the board.


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    Further Assets:

    • [Blog] 10 Streaming Tendencies for 2022
    • [Infographic] Historical past of Streaming Media
    • [Report] Way forward for Streaming: 2020 and Past

    About Barry Owen

    Barry Owen is Wowza’s resident video streaming knowledgeable and vice chairman of options engineering. On this position, he leads a crew devoted to serving to prospects succeed. From architecting customized purposes to fixing advanced issues, Barry leverages greater than 25 years… View extra

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