With only a few days left in this year’s edition of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Norway is close to reclaiming its throne as the overall winner in terms of total medal count, leading by a few gold medals ahead of Germany in second place. In 2014, Norway, with 26 medals, ranked only second to the United States, with 28 medals. Will we see Norway back on top to run away with the most number of medals since the Winter Games started in 1924?
The Winter Olympics, which only happens every four years, has always provided a benchmark for the progress of athletes and their country’s winter sports programs. Breakthroughs in medicine, nutrition, training regimens, and sports science have resulted in records being broken with each successive Olympics. For instance, Charles Hamelin of Canada and Lim Hyojun of South Korea have broken the records set by Lee Jung-Su in Short Track Speed Skating in 2010. But aside from all these, there is another set of breakthroughs that are transforming the Winter Olympics: technology.
In this post, we will explore how technology is transforming the Winter Olympics in the same way that it is transforming businesses around the world:
Equipped Athletes, Equipped Employees
The Guardian reported three revolutionary technologies that are helping athletes in their training and protecting them from serious injuries: the Samsung SmartSuit, Giro Avance helmets, and Dainese airbags. Yes, airbags.
Used for training speed skaters, the Samsung SmartSuit is equipped with sensors that send live body position data to coaches. The coaches then use a smartphone application to analyze the racers’ posture so they can suggest minor adjustments that will allow the racers to improve their speed by optimizing their postures. Coaches can send their suggestions in real time, using their smartphones to send instructions to the bands in the racers’ wrists, enabling racers to implement improvements as they race to the finish line.
The Giro Avance helmets and the Dainese airbags are technologies developed to protect athletes from high-impact crashes. The Giro Avance, which is worn by some of the members of the US skiing team, features the latest advancements in multi-directional impact protection (MIP) that protects downhill skiers from cranial damage. On the other hand, Dainese airbags are installed in the vests worn by a large number of athletes in the Olympics. The vests with Dainese airbags have seven sensors that detect when an athlete is about to crash and send signals to inflate the airbags to protect them from major spinal injuries. Aside from their obvious safety benefits, protective technologies such as these give athletes that extra boost of confidence so they can go faster, higher, and stronger with one less thing to worry about.
Just like the athletes who benefit from these new technologies and with them are able to make the Winter Olympics even more colorful and entertaining, employees in enterprises around the world are seeing their daily tasks transform. Like athletes, employees of leading organizations are equipped with new technologies that increase their productivity and make them do better work.
For instance, technology has changed the way employees communicate. New technologies such as mobile apps, instant messaging, conferencing, knowledge sharing tools, and even social media have enabled faster communication, real time sharing of information, and greater collaboration regardless of location.
Technology has also changed the way employees perform their work. For example, smartphones and applications have enabled field service engineers and technicians to access real-time information on their engagements even when they are already on the field. Faster and more secure internet connections have also empowered employees to accomplish their work remotely, which also benefits the enterprise by reducing office space rentals and related expenses. In addition, innovations happening in the fields of AR, AI, IoT and analytics are constantly driving further changes.
New Audiences, New Markets
The number of viewers watching the Winter Olympics has grown significantly especially in the last two editions of the games. One of the biggest factors for this is the introduction of live streaming. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized that today’s viewers, especially the younger ones, want instant access to the games they want to see even if there are multiple games happening simultaneously.
Aside from live streams, the Winter Olympics’ internet channel enriches the customer experience by featuring stories about the athletes, the host country and the volunteers, past editions of the games, and even the IOC’s cultural projects, drawing even more interest and audiences to the Winter Olympics.
The IOC has also entered into a new partnership with Alibaba, so viewers can expect the underlying technologies to improve the digital experience. Alibaba’s Cloud platform is expected to further improve the quality of the live streams, enable the creation and storage of more digital content, and create new mobile experiences of the games.
Just as it’s expanding the Olympics’ viewership, technology is empowering enterprises to reach new markets and economies. It has enabled enterprises to expand their business globally through faster communication and more efficient shared services. New markets have not only become accessible, but the emergence and expansion of digital customer experiences has enabled new levels of customer service and intimacy despite physical distance.
More importantly, digital technologies such as Big Data Analytics, the IoT, and mobile applications have empowered companies to better understand customers through greater customer insights. These insights have allowed enterprises to understand what their customers want, deliver it to them, and provide a better overall customer experience. Digital technologies have also enabled enterprises to reach younger audiences who are now mainly using mobile phones for their transactions such as online shopping and banking.
More Revenues, Better Business Models
Finally, technology is enabling the organizers of the Winter Olympics to provide their sponsors and broadcasting partners with new ways to earn revenues from the games. For instance, mobile apps can provide sponsors and broadcasters with opportunities to promote their products and services on the audience’s mobile phones. Technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can also enable the organizers to partner with sponsors to deliver these new types of content in the Olympic venues.
Technology is also driving new revenues and creating new business models for businesses by augmenting their physical products and services with digital offerings. For example, IoT and AI enable your new household appliances to suggest improvements to your daily routines from leaving home early to beat the traffic to reminding you to buy milk from the grocery store. Companies are also increasingly able to create new business around purely digital products and services.
Transformation Starts with Integration
Whether it’s transforming the digital experience related to the Winter Olympics or to business, transformation revolves around data. The organizers and partners of the Winter Olympics need to make a concerted effort to leverage the multitude of data coming from the games, athletes, media partners, existing technologies, and new technologies in order to deliver a consistent digital experience to viewers across platforms and channels.
Similarly, enterprises have to integrate their organizations’ existing processes, employees, capabilities, and technologies with new digital technologies in order to provide a relevant, reliable and unified experience to all stakeholders. This holistic approach cannot succeed without data integration, which is a crucial element in powering digital transformation. This is what Liaison can provide to organizations, from businesses to sports organizers such as the IOC, who are looking to transform their organizations digitally. Visit our website at https://www.liaison.com if you would like to learn more about how we can help you break new records and transform your business.