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London Olympic authorities use big data to keep tabs on transport and security

02 Aug 2012
Big data

Athletes are not the only ones in the spotlight as the Olympics heads towards its second week. IT has taken centre stage as different parts of the industry have come together to ensure the event runs smoothly and efficiently.

In partnership with Cisco, V3 has taken a look at the IT forming the backbone to the Olympics infrastructure and presence online, notably areas such as security, network management and online video, and the rising use of big data.

Of course, large amounts of data is constantly processed and analysed due to the numerous Olympics competitions taking place each day, from athlete's times and scores to other data such as wind speed and temperature for events like tennis.

The number of visitors attending the competitions will also be noted, as well as their spend, and all such data will be analysed by the UK government to see whether the some £11bn spent on the Olympics has been worth it.

However, apart from the obvious use cases of big data during the Olympics, there are a number of more specific examples, especially in the areas of transport and security.

During the run up to the Games, and as they now unfold, the big question continues to be whether London's transport networks will withstand the potential 25 per cent increase in commuters due to the event.

To ensure the networks do not fall apart under the pressure, public authorities have harnessed big data like never before to co-ordinate travel around the city.

Transport for London's sophisticated computerised system, Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (Scoot), which already monitors traffic control systems in London so they can be adapted according to traffic and congestion, has now been expanded to around 2100 junctions throughout London.

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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