Atos leverages cloud tech to revolutionise 2018 Winter Olympics delivery

09 February 2018 4 min. read

As the 2018 Winter Olympics get underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, this year's event promises to deliver several watershed moments – sporting, political and technological. While headlines have been grabbed by the attendance of a North Korean delegation, the Olympics global IT Partner Atos has also promised a first in the delivery of the games; that this will be the first such event delivered entirely via the Cloud.

After a tumultuous year on the Korean Peninsula, all eyes are now on the leaders of both North Korea and South Korea. Tensions between the two nations had been perceived as on a knife-edge, following several aggressive interventions from key South Korean ally, US President Donald Trump. The tycoon-turned-politician had bragged about the size of his "nuclear button," threatening North Korea – infamously – with both "fire and fury" and "total destruction" – but days later, North and South Korea announced that they would march side by side in the Olympic Parade of Nations under one banner: the Korean Unification Flag.

North Korea, known officially as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, offered to send a 230-member cheerleading squad and a 140-strong orchestra, and Kim Jong-un's sister, Yo-jong, who was promoted to North Korea’s top decision-making body last year, is also due to attend Winter Olympics opening ceremony, emphasising part of a deal that will see representatives of both sides cheer each other on. Putting aside their differences for the time being, the two countries are also due to field a joint women's ice hockey team to the games, a first in Olympic history for the divided nation.

One thing that remains unchanged at this year’s games is the inclusion of global consulting firm Atos in proceedings. The professional services group has been the Worldwide IT Partner of the Olympics and Paralympics since 2001. Atos was first present at a games during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics of 2002 and, over the last 10 years, has been integral to making every Winter and Summer edition of the Olympic Games a success, and will also supply tech support to the 2018 European Championships.

Atos leverages Cloud tech to revolutionise Pyeongchang 2018 delivery

Digital transformation

However, while it is a familiar presence at the games, Atos has announced a first of its own regarding Pyeongchang. For the first time, all games’ critical IT applications – including the distribution of results in real time like the Olympic Diffusion System (ODS) – will be remotely managed and hosted on the Cloud. Building on Rio 2016, which marked a first milestone in the digital transformation of the Olympic Games with the use of Cloud for the first time for key applications, Pyeongchang will be the first Olympic Games to be delivered 100% in the Cloud, an innovative computing technology which is becoming increasingly mainstream across multiple markets.

As well as virtualising key applications, as per Rio, all 12 venues will be virtualised on the Cloud. In order to meet this technical challenge, Atos teams carried out over 100,000 hours of testing prior to the competition to deliver real time results (0.3 of a second) to the world’s media for all 15 disciplines and 102 events. Before this landmark change, ad hoc infrastructures had to be built for each local venue, and the new system opens a host of possibilities for more expansive and efficient coverage of future games, and the remote configuration of PyeongChang 2018 will be replicated for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Asia, namely 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Speaking last year, when the cloud plans were first announced, Patrick Adiba, Chief Commercial Officer - Olympics & Major Events at Atos, said, “Performing all the testing remotely via the Atos Cloud strengthens our motivation to deliver our personal best to ensure a successful Games in 2018 and share in the PyeongChang 2018 slogan: Passion. Connected.”

Hee-beom Lee, President, PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee, added, “We are dedicated to make the 2018 Winter Games the most digital Games ever and are thrilled to be working with Atos, the Worldwide IT Partner of the IOC. We really value the fact that we are able to rely on Atos’ expertise gained from delivering eight previous Games.”