The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games marked the first time a global sporting event used existing infrastructure within a host nation, in a move that could serve as a model for how other major sporting events are managed.
Rather than set up infrastructure from scratch the Games' IT services partner, French multinational Atos, which also oversaw the delivery of the London 2012 Olympics, harnessed existing assets within the UK.
V3 spoke with Paul Macpherson, programme director at Atos, who explained how the Glasgow Commonwealth Games broke new ground for the company and created a model it will take forward to use at other events when possible.
"What [Atos'] major event team generally used to do, and they will do after the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, is land huge armies of people in the country and set up the whole infrastructure from scratch, and it's very resource intensive," he said.
"Glasgow was the first time we used existing in-country infrastructure and had a very light-on-the-ground team to interface with the organising committee," said Macpherson.
He said this relatively resource-light approach will be consdiered for other major international sporting events after Rio 2016, hopefully starting with the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"We were the forerunners for the model for how the post-Rio Olympics will be delivered," he said.
For the Glasgow Games Atos also tapped into its own UK datacentre and network infrastructure, and so avoided the need to set up dedicated storage arrays and server stacks to host data for the Games. Instead the company allocated a segment of existing resources to be used for the duration of the event.
Macpherson added that the tried-and-tested infrastructure had more than enough capacity and bandwidth to cope with the needs of the Games.
"There was no point we were ever anywhere near the capacity that we had allocated to us," he said.
Atos also supplied a suite of games management and information applications developed and managed by the company's major events team in Barcelona. Earlier versions of both systems saw action during the London 2012 Games.
The games management system handled data on volunteers, athletes, security, job rosters, uniforms, and support staff, and fed some of this into the games information system.
The management system was also linked to the UK Borders Agency to enable accreditation and background checks.
Atos also deployed a Facebook-like tool called BlueKiwi to help its staff in Barcelona and Glasgow to collaborate on any software issues.
Microsoft SharePoint was used by Atos' teams for document sharing and content management, and communication was further enhanced through the use of Microsoft's Lync video conferencing and instant messaging service.
IT security for the Games was handled by Akamai, which successfully protected Atos' systems from a number of cyber attacks.
Technology also played a major role in the London 2012 Olympics, where big data was harnessed to monitor the city's transport and security.
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