Yet the approach to IT isn't entirely staid. For all the need for sturdiness, planning, and backup, Olympic sponsors also see the games as an opportunity to showcase the convenience and wow factor of new products and brands. A Samsung-Telecom Italia Group collaboration will show the first working European demonstrations of a fledgling wireless technology, while Panasonic will provide more than 200 plasma televisions for Turin's main press center.
Turin's Stadio Comunale, Where Opening And Closing Ceremonies Will Take Place
Samsung will provide wireless communication for the games, but you won't find its involvement in the most critical parts of the infrastructure. Atos Origin and the Organizing Committee feared possible jammed wireless signals and other security issues. "It's just a matter of classifying what's critical and what's nice to have," says Atos Origin's Philipps.
Samsung has been a wireless partner for the Olympic Games since 1998. The company says mobility will become increasingly important to smooth Olympic operations. "We're proud to be developing state-of-the-art wireless technology that's helping redefine the way the Olympic Games are managed," Kitae Lee, president of Samsung's Telecommunications Network Business, says in an E-mail.
The company will outfit more than 8,000 Olympic officials with Samsung's newest mobile phone, the SGH-D600. These Bluetooth-enabled, 2-megapixel camera phones include video messaging, 384-Kbps data connectivity, an E-mail client, and voice-recognition technology. They will run Wireless Olympic Works, a private network that will let users receive current information, including results and highlight photographs, while on the move. "We developed Wireless Olympic Works with a belief that the power and flexibility of mobile devices makes them ideally suited for managing major events such as the Olympic Games," Lee says. The system was first used in Athens, but Samsung improved it for Turin to make information more accessible and automatically updated. Leading up to the games, the network is sending real-time information on the Olympic torch relay to organizers.
Snowboard Half Pipe
Cool, but not critical. Athletes may have gotten to the Olympics by not playing it safe, pushing themselves to what they thought were their limits and then pushing some more. But the risk-taking will be left to them. When four years of anticipation end in 16 crucial days in February, IT is the one area where safety and stability lead to victory.