4 Ways Alibaba Cloud Transformed the 2018 Winter Olympics

On February 9, 2018, the 23rd Winter Olympic Games commenced in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This event marked a new milestone for Alibaba as well as for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the 122 years of Olympics history by introducing cloud computing and artificial technologies to the games.

In the Alibaba Winter Olympics exhibition hall located in Gangneung Olympic Park, IOC Chairman Bach and Alibaba’s executive chairman Jack Ma jointly announced a new start of the Olympics on February 10. During the event, Alibaba introduced the “Cloud Olympics” concept and launched Alibaba Cloud ET Olympic Brain globally.

On that day, Bach handed the Olympic Torch to Jack Ma as a gift and said,

“The Olympic Torch is symbolic of the Olympic values and has gone over a history of more than 3000 years since the start of Olympics Games in ancient Greece. Today I transfer the torch to Alibaba. Let’s look into the future of Olympics together.”

Jack Ma added,

“We founded Alibaba with a dream to enable ordinary people with technologies. Now we still keep this dream — use our strengths to help every individual. Our cooperation with IOC enables us to take an active part in Olympics. We must bring Olympics to a new digital age and serve the games better with technologies so that people can compete and seize opportunities in a more fair way.”

Let’s now look at how Alibaba Cloud is working with the IOC to revolutionize the Olympic Games using artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

4 Ways Alibaba Cloud Transformed the 2018 Winter Olympics

By leveraging its powerful computing capability, Alibaba promote the evolution of Olympic Games from these four aspects:

Digital Experience

Alibaba Cloud also introduced facial recognition technology at the Olympics by using digital Olympic passes. Security check for spectators can be sped up with facial recognition and automatic registrations as compared with a traditional paper-based Olympic pass. Users have access to Olympic arenas just by showing their faces in front of a scanner. Furthermore, by combining AI with these digital passes, and get recommended information such as route navigation, game information, and athlete information.

Digital Operations

Alibaba Cloud helped the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games avoid these problems by “digitizing” all processes involved during the event. By “digitizing” people, things, events, buildings, and facilities associated with Olympic Games, the organizers could analyze data in real-time and schedule resources automatically by using AI and big data technologies. For example, Alibaba Cloud helped organizers to predict traffic congestion spots and dynamically adjust traffic lights to improve transit efficiency. Remote control of traffic lights ensures that ambulances can arrive within the shortest time as possible in case of accidents. Furthermore, crowd analysis and prediction functions can trigger public security alerts to prevent severe incidents such as stampedes.

Digital Athletics

With all these technologies, athletes and coaches can optimize training methods while minimizing injuries, helping them become “higher, faster, and stronger.”

Digital Communication

Alibaba Cloud’s global footprint ensure billions to tune-in at any time and from anywhere, without the inconvenience of latency or poor video quality. This digital integration help provide a seamlessly integrated viewing experience of the Olympic Games, regardless on social media, on cable TV, or on the move. Alibaba Cloud, together with Youku, enable billions of audience around the globe to enjoy exciting games anytime, anywhere.

Beyond Pyeongchang: The Future of the Olympic Partnership

The IOC has two goals in the long run, increased participation of the younger generation and improvement of Olympics organization efficiency. In as early as 2013, Chairman Bach suggested the use of digital and cloud technologies to reduce repetitive construction cost of the 2020 Olympic Games. Furthermore, in the agenda for the 2020 Olympics, IOC takes the participation of global young people as a core element of the 2020 Olympic Games.

The IOC is looking forward to collaborating with Alibaba to start the digital revolution for Olympics.

“We are glad to make the decision on a partnership with Alibaba and believe that Alibaba can bring Olympics into the digital age,” said Bach.


To read more on IoT and AI, visit www.alibabacloud.com/blog.



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