Alibaba Cloud and U.S. chipmaker Intel will partner to help develop technologies that enhance the Olympic Games experience for athletes, event managers, broadcasters and fans, the companies said Wednesday.
Announced during Alibaba Cloud’s annual Apsara Conference 2019 in Hangzhou, the companies said they had signed a memorandum of understanding to bring to market 3D Athlete Tracking (3DAT) for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as well as 360 8K virtual reality, 3D digital twinning and cloud broadcasting for both the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. In this collaboration, Alibaba will bring its cloud infrastructure and services expertise to the table, while Intel contributes its high-performance processors.
“Intel and Alibaba are long-term partners and have a common vision of translating technology into amazing experiences that excite athletes, spectators, broadcasters, media, stadium operators, hosting countries and the International Olympic Committee, enabling a more-innovative Olympic Games experience,” Rick Echevarria, general manager of Intel’s Olympics Program, said.
360 8K VR provides features that enable immersive viewing experiences for fans through 5G connections. 3D digital twinning, coupled with cloud-rendering technology, makes it possible to simulate tracks, stadium seating and in-stadium navigation services, for example, through 5G-powered VR for the benefit of athletes, broadcasters, spectators and venue owners. Cloud-based broadcasting boosts efficiencies lost through offline and labor-based production while cutting costs. 3DAT uses standard cameras to extract data from athletes in training or competition to the create optimized training programs or enhanced viewing experiences for fans.
Intel and Alibaba Cloud have already been working together on these technology areas, but the memorandum is a signal that they are ready to commercialize and scale the technologies and launch them in time for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Beijing, the release said.
“The Olympic Games are a grand global sports event and the best platform to demonstrate technological innovations in the area of cloud services and infrastructure,” said Selina Yuan, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International. “As Worldwide Olympic Partners, Intel and Alibaba are complimentary to each other, not only in Olympic sponsorship categories, but also in total innovation development for the Olympic Games and related usage cases.”
The announcement was the latest in a string of initiatives through which Alibaba, as a TOP Partner, is working to digitize many aspects of the Olympic Games. Last year, Alibaba Cloud, Intel and Olympic Broadcasting Services launched “OBS Cloud,” a broadcasting platform to support the content production and delivery workflows involved with the Olympic Games. OBS Cloud will be offered to rights-holding broadcasters as a cloud-based solution and will be in place for Tokyo 2020.
Alibaba Cloud rolled out its vision for the future Olympic Games during PyeongChang 2018, showcasing its “ET Sports Brain” suite of cloud-based and artificial intelligence-powered solutions that will drive the digital transformation of the Olympic Games to benefit fans, spectators, athletes, venues and organizers, the company said.
In a recent interview with the International Olympic Committee, Alibaba Group Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tung said that the company saw the partnership as a platform to showcase Alibaba’s innovations and technologies to the world through each edition of the Olympic Games, as well as an opportunity to showcase how digital technology can make a difference in engaging young consumers.
“I think this transformative effort will have a profound impact, not only for the Olympic Movement, but also for all the sports fans and spectators around the world, taking the Olympic Games to another level with the technology we have and will continue to create,” Tung said. “This is what we want to achieve, and this is what we hope the world will see and appreciate.”