Olympic-sized Innovation

April 22, 2011 By Aminda

The 2012 London summer Olympics are more than a year away but preparations have been underway for some time. Organizers are working with partners, principally Cisco, to develop an IT, telecommunications, audio-visual, timing and scoring network so huge that it’s 35 times more capable than that used in Beijing.

As part of their efforts, Cisco has pledged to invest about $500m (£310m) in a British Innovation Gateway (BIG) to help SMEs. According to a Cisco spokesperson, BIG will include two networked innovation centres: an open innovation centre in Shoreditch developed in partnership with the local SME community, and another at the Olympic Park, with special focus on developing and demonstrating a new wave of solutions for London and other cities. These centres will be underpinned by networked collaboration technologies linking innovation and technology centres across the UK and other global hubs of innovation. Cisco will also leave behind 20% of the network for use by schools, and we have plans to reuse other equipment.

In the four years since the Beijing games, data traffic has evolved from being about 80% voice to 80% video and user generated. Communication needs to be supplies to almost 100 venues that will make up a “borderless network”. This will include: 34 competition venues across the UK; 20 other venues such as the Olympic Village and network operations centre; and 40-50 spectator and athlete sites, including transport hubs, training grounds and ticketing booths.

Integration testing for the process started in November 2010, and will occupy more than 200,000 hours of testing well into 2011.

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