From the fun to the sophisticated, Olympics 2010 is the wired place to be. Bell, VANOC and Avaya partnered up and have delivered not just tried-and-true technology for these Olympic games but also the first all IP Olympic Games – meaning all voice, data and internet is carried over a single network. Justin Webb, V.P. for Bell, Olympic Services, admits that “technology is a silent partner of the games”…usually. During these games viewers will experience “flawless games”; We will watch events unfold because the images are carried at the speed of light over the network. “Photographs will traverse the network and possibly post on the internet even before the skiier, for example, arrives at the finish line.”
VANOC expects 60 million unique visitors to Vancouver2010 in 17 days, says Ward Chapin, VANOC’s Technology guy.
If you’re a total Geek – like me – two things you’ve got to do, unequivocally, is watch the 4D movie at Ontario House and try out the Interaxon brain-wave controlled light real-life-game also at The Ontario House. That Ontario House is right next door to the Molson Canadian Hockey House, makes it another good reason to go. But I digress…
Just when everyone’s talking about 3D here comes 4D. What’s 4D? Ever been to California Adventureland at Disneyland in SoCal? This 4D theatre and movie at Olympics 2010 Ontario House is like that. You smell the hot chocolate as you see it on the screen; you’re sprayed with snow as you watch the hockey players; you smell the pine needles as you soar across the landscape. It’s like a little piece of Disneyland next to B.C. Place.
The other Must Do, and this one is super trippy, is a real-life game developed by a young guy named Chris for his company Interaxon, “thought controlled computing.” Up on the three large screens are pictures of Niagara Falls, the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, and Toronto’s CN Tower. You are seated in a pretty comfy leather chair and a pair of earphones are placed on your head with a sensor touching your Third Eye. This sensor measures your brainwaves. When you focus on the image, the intensity of your brainwaves lights up the landmark. For real.
Your brain ACTUALLY lights up the Parliament buildings in Ottawa in real time. It’s not just an image on a screen. Someone standing in Ottawa will see the building light up, thanks to your brain activity there in B.C. Chris, the developer, admitted it took a bit of getting through some red tape to get permission to pull this off! For Niagara Falls, you can change the color reflected against the Falls. You’ve got to try this. It’s like playing God.
More fun stuff at Ontario House are the great eats and the beer, wine, and ice wine! Culinary staff and chef are borrowed from Opus, the Yaletown hotel favored by the entertainment folk.
Also, more techie games – a first-ever no-glasses 3D screen game that you power from your Blackberry. It was developed by a Sheridan student, the Ontario Technology advanced training school that has seen two Academy Award winners from its alumni.
Also, the whole House is paperless. From the art installation, “Waterfall,” that graces the far wall, made from discarded plastic water bottles, to the touch-screen digital image tables that showcase the upcoming concerts during the Winter Games at Ontario House, to the compostable cups. On Twitter @EventsOntario
In fact, sustainability is a thread that’s woven throughout the entire technology infrastructure of the Games. Bell was able to reduce their copper footprint by a third because of the converged networks. “And the way we deployed the nodes, there’s a 40% reduction in overall power consumption, thus reducing the overall carbon footprint in terms of energy consumption,” explains Dave Johnson of Avaya, Bell’s technology infrastructure partner. And with partner Samsung, Bell is coordinating repurposing of the thousands of handsets being given out to staff and volunteers during the games.