Alibaba Group on Monday revealed its digital Olympic pins for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 to help attendees follow social-distancing protocols.
Alibaba, The Olympic Partner (TOP) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is using its cloud technology to enable the coin-sized device users to digitally display their name, track daily steps, and access a collection of digital pin artworks inspired by the 33 Olympics sports.
Leveraging a wireless connectivity technology known as Near-Field Communication, pin users can interact and make friends in a contactless way. By holding two pins back to back at arm’s length, the pins will automatically recognize each other and help users virtually exchange social information in a fun yet safe way.
Alibaba distributed the interactive pins to broadcasting and media professionals working at the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) and Main Press Centre (MPC) to help them engage and exchange social media information safely and interactively during the Summer Olympic Games between July 23 and August 8.
Olympic pins are a long-standing tradition at each Olympic Games. Chris Tung, chief marketing officer of Alibaba Group, believes that the company’s digital innovation will make this year’s Olympics experience “more accessible, aspirational and inclusive for broadcasters, sports fans and athletes from across the world”.
“We want to use our technology to add new exciting elements to the Olympic pin tradition at the IBC and MPC while connecting media professionals and enabling them to maintain social interactions with safe distancing,” Tung said.
Users can activate their pin by downloading a corresponding Cloud Pin application using their smartphones. The binding process will allow users to access game-like and competitive features among a community of pin holders. Some pin-to-pin interactions include the exchange of daily activity updates such as step numbers; users can upgrade their status from rookie to gold as they connect with new friends.
To make sure the pin is as light and wearable as a traditional Olympics pin, Alibaba tapped into smart-stacking technologies to pack a collection of interactive functions into a pin that is only 10.25 millimeters thin and weighs 18.3 grams. The device can be magnetically attached to any article of clothing, backpacks and lanyards.
“Today more than ever we look to engage people around the world through our digital ecosystem and connect them with the spirit of Tokyo 2020. We are excited to be partnering with Alibaba to support us in our digital transformation journey and to help us build engagement ahead of the Olympic Games,” said Christopher Carroll, director of digital engagement and marketing, IOC.
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