Olympics set to embrace virtual reality, artificial intelligence and drones

Refugee swimmer Yusra Mardini training in 2016. Picture: Alexander Hassenstein/IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Intel have announced a technology partnership which “will transform the Olympic Games and the Olympic experience,” Intel said in a statement today.

Promised innovations include use of Intel’s 5G platforms at the Games to showcase how the technology will “transform communications over the next decade” and the first live virtual reality broadcast of the Olympic Winter Games, in South Korea next year, “providing fans the opportunity for a more immersive experience from their own homes”.

Intel’s drone light show technology will create “never-seen-before images” in the sky and its 360 replay technology will allow fans to “experience the greatest, most memorable Olympic moments from every angle at the Olympic venues”.

The company said: “In the future, TV viewers at home will be able to experience what it’s like to be at the Olympic Games with a front-row seat, or choose from many different viewing points in the Olympic venues. The power to choose what they want to see and how they want to experience the Olympic Games will be in the hands of the fans.”

The partnership was announced in New York at a signing ceremony featuring IOC president Thomas Bach and Brian Krzanich, Intel’s chief executive officer. “As a result of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC is forging groundbreaking partnerships, said Bach. “Intel is a world leader in its field, and we’re very excited to be working with the Intel team to drive the future of the Olympic Games through cutting-edge technology.

“The Olympic Games provide a connection between fans and athletes that has inspired people around the world through sport and the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. Thanks to our new innovative global partnership with Intel, fans in the stadium, athletes and audiences around the world will soon experience the magic of the Olympic Games in completely new ways.”

The deal covers the Winter Games in Pyeongchang next year, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing in 2022 and the Olympic Games in 2024, in a city yet to be selected.