4th August 2016

Connecting Organisations and the World with Rio!

As all eyes turn to the “Cidade Maravilhosa” for the opening ceremony tomorrow evening, Rio will undoubtedly need to be the most connected city in the world for the next two months. Why? Well, with spectators descending on the city to take in the action, competitors already limbering up for the coolest selfie, the media trucks setting up stall to broadcast and brands jostling for their moment in the sun, the connected traffic leaving Rio is set to be more than ever before.  With independent bodies claiming that the data in Rio this summer could be four times greater than that in London, just four years ago, the success of the Olympics and Paralympics this year will depend not only on sporting achievements but, for many organisations, on the digital infrastructure behind the event as well.

The Olympic sporting movement has a long history working with technology partners – just think about timing races, sprint finishes and long jump measurements – but for the infrastructure partners, from building companies and official bodies, to media houses and logistics partners, the connectivity will be the focus of their Games.

With millions of connected devices coming into the city, responsibility for ensuring the games run smoothly for those taking part, spectating and working, falls on the unseen games heroes, those corporations who through their technology and expertise will power the Olympic and Paralympic brands globally. For them, Olympic and Paralympic Games planning starts before the host city is even named. And this year is no different, with partners including some of the world’s most experienced business technology experts, from Atos and Samsung, Panasonic, leading the creation of the infrastructure needed to make the Games a reality. These companies, alongside three key local partners have joined forces to assess community impact and existing infrastructure before putting plans in place to boost, support and create a new, temporary group of networked businesses – effectively building a small town around the Olympic venues where everyone has access, when they want it.

For many B2B and B2C brands, working with the Olympic and Paralympic movement provides a global platform to showcase the best of themselves and that corporate positioning can be very powerful. From sponsoring athletes and teams, being the preferred water supplier or the chosen building contractor all brands want to be seen to shine within their own areas of expertise but also contribute to supporting their nation and drive the global comradery, that can only really be achieved through sporting success.

With all of the results yet to be determined and the analysis still to take place, one thing is clear: greater access, trackside views and higher than ever rates of engagement will put the hard work of those unsung infrastructure heroes to the test. Only a couple of weeks ago, US broadcaster NBC announced that it will show 100 hours of VR and 360 video programming using its app. Thinking about the work someone has to put in to make sure the technology is in place to make this possible, you could argue that the training for the corporate athletes is just as tough as those on the track.

Will Rio be awarded a gold medal for creating a connected business community that showcases the Olympic and Paralympic brands to the world, or will they be pipped at the post? Business leaders can’t quite predict the effectiveness yet, but the games aren’t all about the athletes as, without the connected community behind them they would be powerless to perform.

By Helena Reid, B2B Associate Director