Pyeongchang 2018 has set a marker as the most technology-intensive Olympics ever, with facial recognition ticketing, cashless wearables, 5G, AR and robots among the innovations at this year’s Winter Games.
Alibaba Group is testing out facial recognition technology at this year’s Olympics as part of a plan to upgrade ticketing, media and video services over the next decade.
The firm, which owns Indian online ticketing platform TicketNew, is one of the only sponsors linked to the Games for the next 10 years. It said it will study the Pyeongchang Olympics this year to help find ways to better serve future hosts.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 10, 2018
The South Korea-based event has also tested out 5G across the Games with Intel technologies. 5G, with broadband speeds 100 times faster than 4G network, is able to load webpages in a millisecond and carry data with a lower latency.
This capability will be helping fans using their mobile devices for experiences such as live 360-degree video streaming, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. 5G also allows enabled devices to communicate with each other which in turn allows the networks to automatically adjust based on capacity needs.
The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics has also added 50 hours of broadcast coverage using Intel’s TrueVR and 360 Replay. The first trial of the live VR technology happened during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics.
According to InsideSport, the content, which is stored in the cloud, with live and on-demand footage, is distributed across platforms including Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR and Windows Mixed Reality, as well as through each broadcaster’s apps and digital offerings.
Pyeongchang 2018 is the first Games to be broadcast live in 4K Ultra HD resolution.
In addition, payment services company Visa has introduced wearable payment devices for fans, and has launched the NFC-enabled gloves to allow spectators to complete seamless payments with one tap at any contactless-enabled terminal.
About 85 robots have also been used to assist visitors with navigation, games schedules and tourism tips.