by September 6, 2008 0 comments

Besides the flamboyant opening ceremony, Abhinav Bindra’s air rifle shooting
excellence, wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Vijender Kumar having won a bronze
for India, the Beijing Olympics gave us one more reason to cheer-the
state-of-the-art network technology that was deployed for the event-thanks to
the efforts of the ‘Principal Technology Partner’, H3C Technologies, which is
part of the global voice and data networking biggies, 3Com Corporation.

Superior use of technology was experienced at the much-hyped Bird’s Nest and
Water Cube stadium, where real-time streaming Internet and high-quality
video-based surveillance ensured safety of a massive audience and players.
Physical structures to ensure safety were erected too; everything from network
switches to high-end IP Surveillance systems were in place.

Ensuring smooth visitor experience
Owing to a sudden spurt in the no. of travelers descending into Beijing, a new
airport terminal was added where H3C’s solutions were used to power a new 10G
Ethernet backbone to support the aerodrome’s routine operations, besides
real-time production and flight mgmt services, including ground emergency
commands, terminal broadcast services, and dynamic flight information displays.
This deployment was a direct result of the Chinese govt’s decision to prioritize
superior guest experience from the time an Olympic fan set foot into Beijing.

The next step of course was to ensure increase in comfort levels of guests
while they were on the move within the city. Beijing Public Transportation Group
(BPT Group) worked with H3C to build an IP monitoring system to monitor bus
stations and parking lots, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines, and special Olympic
bus lines. Around 10,000 ‘monitoring points’ were operational, and the network
architecture allowed real-time security monitoring for the entire transportation
system, as well as several value-added services including vehicle dispatching,
arrival, and departure monitoring, VoIP access, office automation, IC card auto
ticket examination, electronic route information, etc. In addition, wireless
cameras were installed on buses running some of the Olympics bus lines to ensure
they meet special requirements of players and VIP guests. This was done using
the Ethernet Passive Optical Networks (EPON) optical transmission technology
which allowed multiple terminals to share the same line of optical fiber,
greatly reducing operational and engineering costs.

User participation
The ultimate aim of technology to enrich human life was also fulfilled for
Olympic fans. Uninterrupted access to real-time news and video clips via SOHU’s
video-on-demand ‘Watch-and-Listen’ blogsite gave fans an opportunity to view
up-to-the-minute news, results, and footage via the Internet. Built on the SAN
storage architecture, the H3C network storage solution which formed the backbone
of the VoD site, enabled fast access to mass data (video in 3 sec at peak
performance) and centralized management of storage devices for the blogs; worked
in conjunction with a unified Web interface that automatically raises an alarm
once the system goes faulty, allowing network admins to manage devices using
CallHome feature, which significantly shortens the downtime and secure
high-speed video download.

Abhinav Bindra
for giving India its first individual Olympic gold medal, and ninth overall,
on winning 10 meters air rifle event at the Beijing 2008 Olympics
Wrestler Sushil
for the bronze medal in 66-kg freestyle competition in Beijing
for Bronze Medal in boxing, giving India its
first boxing medal in Olympics

Feeling the ripple in the US
Even the US felt the power of technology deployments at the Beijing Olympics.
NBC, America’s Official Olympic Network’ owned the exclusive US media rights to
the Olympic Games, and to ensure superior viewer experience, Avaya was selected
to provide a unified communications solution to NBC Universal in support of the
network’s coverage of the games. The channel, NBC Olympics operates under a
unique set of IT circumstances: every 2 years the organization needs a complete
business communications network set up in a new location-that will be in use for
little more than a month. In other words, there is a sudden spurt in the
requirement of computing power, but the lifecycle of deployment is a matter of a
month or two, and in the case of the Beijing games, reliable communication
networks were vital for NBC.

Avaya Gigabit Ethernet phones landing were used on more than 500 desks
accompanied by another 200 value sets elsewhere in the network. The PoE phones
provided NBC Olympics with the highest quality audio and the lowest power
consumption of any similar business class telephones on the market today. The
company is enabling greater mobility by allowing calls made to an employee’s
extension also ring their mobile phones , and the newer models of Avaya phones
helps the team to trigger switch active calls between the desk phone and
cellular device. These phones can also enable one employee to see the
availability of others in his or her workgroup for live calls by displaying
names and telephony presence on the back-lit screen.

Hi-def visuals
The Beijing games were also the first in the history of Olympics to have
international signal produced and transmitted in high def format, and one of the
top sponsors, Panasonic’s support in the form of a plethora of electronics
equipment-25 giant screens or ‘Astro Vision’ installed at 18 venues, 284 RAMSA
audio systems at 41 venues (33 competition venues, and 8 non-competition
venues), and flat screen VIERA televisions. The scale was approx. 1.7 times that
of Athens 2004, and was Panasonic’s largest involvement ever.

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