November 8, 2017
By Calum Lamont
What would happen if the network in an Olympics venue went down for 10 seconds? Missing Usain Bolt winning the 100m Gold in 9.81 seconds in Rio2016 would have been a bit of a disappointment. We could watch the replay once it was fixed but it just wouldn’t be the same. Maybe we could get away with a one second outage but missing the ball cross the line, the winning goal in a World Cup final penalty shoot-out would be more than a shame. Perhaps we could ask Usain to run again, or the penalty retaken to relive the excitement? How much technology downtime are we willing to put up with? – the answer simply is none, anything more would be a global embarrassment, the ‘thing’ the Event was remembered for.
During an Event, the network technology should just work. Like a utility, it should be on when it is needed to be on. Users shouldn’t need to think about it. However, the technology requirements for each Event are unique and need to be seen differently. Technology is fast moving, and Events need to adapt to keep pace to meet expectations – the radio broadcasting was great in the 1924 Paris Olympics, but we expect more today, and the public will expect even more tomorrow. But with rapid technology adoption comes risk. The risk of an outage during a critical period and the embarrassment this would cause.
So, what can we do? Hope for the best is one way but plan for the worst is better. Planning and understanding the Event is paramount - technology is great but the Event is not about that – the technology must be invisible, and it must just work. Ensuring that an Event has the right technology is not easy. Designing and deploying it is hard work and operating state of the art technology has many challenges. But the real key is building a relationship with the Technology Partners. If a Partner is part of the team and really wants to make an Event a success they will share the risk and understand the embarrassment of failure. Contracts, Service Level Agreements and Service Credits are all very well, but no contract mechanism and penalties will cover the embarrassment and impact on reputation if the world’s TV screens or Internet feeds go blank at that critical moment. Having a Partner that fully understands this is key.
FarrPoint are event technology experts and assist organising body’s in the specification and sourcing of all communication and integration technologies required to support a major event. Come and visit us at our stand at HostCity 2018.