While the whole world cheered on during the Rio Olympics for the “triple triple” of Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps’ record medal haul or Teddy Riner’s display of strength, behind the scenes feats of a completely different kind were at play: technological ones.

Rio 2016 has already made history by becoming the most connected Olympic Games to date, with more than 4.8 billion television and online viewers who followed, live or on replay, one of the 306 competitions in 42 disciplines. For the first time, the Internet dominated audience share, representing no less than 80% of viewers, particularly on tablets and smartphones.

  “The Rio Games 2016 are the most connected event ever held”

Above all, web users are no longer happy just watching the competitions, they want to have real time access to all the results and statistics so they can discuss them on social networks, and contribute to the explosion of data…

From archery to gymnastics, rowing to golf, broadcasting the results for each Olympic event to the entire world in 200 milliseconds is a technical and technological challenge, and one relished by the 3500 members of the Atos team dedicated to the Rio 2016 games.

Like its logo – seen around the necks of all the athletes, journalists and volunteers on site – Atos played a discreet yet ubiquitous role during these Olympic Games, providing technological innovations ranging from the first ever Cloud hosting, the shield of cyber security, and the management of ever growing quantities of data, in order to offer a safe and even more enhanced experience to fans throughout the world.

“A “pop-up” company with 200,000 employees serving 5 billion customers!”

This performance is even more remarkable due to its temporary nature, since it takes years of preparation to develop an IT architecture of such incredible complexity… which is then deployed for just one month, for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It involves setting up a “pop-up” business but one comprising 200,000 people – equivalent to the total number of athletes, journalists and volunteers – to serve the needs of almost 5 billion customers!

While all eyes rightly transfixed upon the athletes, the clock or the results tables, I personally want to share a few statistics with you which though not on the podium were fundamental in supporting the success of the Games:

  • 1 – For the first time in the history of the summer Olympics, the Cloud was used to store critical applications, such as the volunteer portal and accreditation systems. Accreditations are valid as a visa to enter the country, therefore security, one of our core specialisms, is paramount. The use of the Cloud also allowed us to reduce costs and improve the analysis of data generated in real time, while significantly reducing environmental impact with no requirement to set up and move huge hardware infrastructure normally associated with such high data levels..)
  •  2 – New sports – golf and rugby sevens. Golf alone generated more results data than all other sports put together, bringing a new and exciting challenge for our team of experts.
  •  400 – The number of IT events per second managed in real time, particularly cyber security. This is double the figure of London 2012 Olympic Games.
  •  300,000 – The number of accreditations involving sensitive data that we processed and activated.
  • More than 100 million – The number of messages sent to broadcasters in real time throughout the world to share the results and data of the 42 Olympic sports and 306 events.
  •  8 billion – The total number of television and online viewers, across all media, who watched at least one event at the Rio Games.

  “A digital transformation which is constantly renewed and improved”

Just like the athletes who receive their medals, acknowledge their achievement and then return swiftly to training – the Atos teams remain mobilized and are already preparing for the future.

Right now, our focus remains on the Paralympic Games, and will remain so until September 18, as we continue to be part of the excitement and emotion in Rio. But our sights are also set on the next Games in PyeongChang, South Korea in 2018, and the Tokyo Games in 2020.

These will be the first Winter and Summer Games to be delivered entirely “as a service”, supported by the Cloud, a new technological feat of digital transformation, a new challenge for us to rise to and achieve. The countdown has already begun.