Olympic Games in the Cloud

Posted on: July 29, 2016 by Marta Sanfeliu

Rio 2016 will be a Games of technology firsts. For the first time ever, the systems to recruit volunteers, support workforce management and process accreditations has been managed in the Cloud.

Yet the Rio Games also mark the end of a technological era. They are the last Games at which the Integration Testing Lab, a critical part of the IT operation which tests every system, application and the infrastructure itself, is located in the host city.

To move the Games’ digital transformation on still further, all systems and applications have transitioned to Canopy, the Atos Private Cloud service with EMC as delivery partner. For PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and beyond, Games IT will be run entirely from the Cloud.

So what are the benefits of delivering IT in the Cloud for everyone involved in the Games?


The Games happen every two years, in a different place. They need a massive computing infrastructure and produce huge amounts of data. Agenda 2020, the International Olympic Committee’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, talks about the importance of taking a sustainable approach to every aspect of the Games.

In the past, each local Organising Committee had to build data centres for just one Games. Our shift from a ‘build each time’ model to ‘build just once’ means we will use fewer servers, occupy less physical space and operate with a much smaller carbon footprint.


Thinking back to my first few Olympic Games, the approach was to keep redoing what was proven to work in previous Games. We built systems that supported the Games from 1992 to 2008 without any major change. That is totally different today. Technological advances have made us so much more agile – I’d say innovation and delivering a better spectator experience Games after Games are now embedded in our DNA.

Mobile devices and social collaboration will continue to transform the Games experience for those watching live and others watching on TV or following online, while the demand for over-the-top content will only increase. We have created an innovation community with the International Olympic Committee and its technology partners; by continuing to develop state-of-the-art technology, we can create an even more immersive Games experience for everyone who takes part.


Atos Ascent - Olympic Games in the CloudFrom PyeongChang 2018 onwards we will be implementing all services in Canopy, the Atos Cloud platform, and then reusing the same Cloud for Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and whichever city hosts the 2024 Games.

We still have key facilities in Rio, including the Integration Lab and the Technology Operations Centre, but we also have a smaller Technology Operations Centre outside the city. This smaller centre will go on to function as the Technology Operations Centre for the PyeongChang and Tokyo Games. Overall, centralising infrastructure and teams can mean savings of up to 15 per cent.


Games IT doesn’t need to operate at full capacity all the time. From PyeongChang 2018 onwards, Cloud infrastructure means we can scale our computing power up and down.

We will scale up in the early stages of Games preparations for technical testing then scale back down again. We won’t need to boost capacity again until two years before a Games when the volunteer programme starts and demand increases, growing up until the Games start when we are fully operational.


We have seen dramatic changes in a very short time. It’s exciting now to look beyond PyeongChang 2018. With smartphones increasingly at the heart of our daily lives, can we deliver more services through mobile devices? More services through Wi-Fi? Cloud will help our teams react faster and also anticipate and adapt to new challenges.

We are also seeing other businesses using the Olympic Games as a reference point for large systems integration projects. We are showing that the agility of Cloud operations can be a real mindset-changer.

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About Marta Sanfeliu
Head of Application Development Practice, Business & Platform Solutions
Marta Sanfeliu was the Chief Operating Officer of the Major Events unit at Atos. The unit covers all Atos large-scale events, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Marta is responsible for leading the commercial and technological development of this area of the business. Marta has eighteen years’ experience of working on the Olympic Games. In previous Games she was the Chief Integrator for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, Operations Manager for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, Central Operations Manager for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Games Management System Project Manager for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and she also managed the Electronic Accreditation and Sport Entries applications at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Prior to working on the Games, Marta was an IT analyst for the Spanish Commercial Office in Beijing. Her career started in Barcelona as a developer and business analyst at IBM for financial systems used in the banking industry.

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