Alibaba’s first-ever Olympic Games Showcase attracted over 100,000 visitors looking for a glimpse of the innovative technologies the company envisions for future Games and other sporting events.
The 1,000-square-meter, two-story showcase in the Olympic Park featured several state-of-the-art technology displays that underscored Alibaba’s capability to help to further transform the Games into an even more enjoyable, high-tech digital experience for all.
Alibaba became an Olympic TOP partner in January 2017, the first Chinese company to have done so. As part of its agreement with the International Olympic Committee, the Hangzhou-based internet and e-commerce juggernaut became the official and exclusive “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” provider for the IOC at PyeongChang 2018 and subsequent four Olympic Games, making Alibaba the first company to make a long-term commitment to the IOC through 2028.
WATCH: Go Inside Alibaba’s Olympic Games Showcase
“Joining the TOP Partner Program is an important and integral part of our globalization strategy. It goes way beyond a marketing sponsorship,” said Alibaba Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tung. “It is a strategic partnership that we are all committed to for 12 years to take the Olympic Games into a digital era with Alibaba’s technology and cloud computing.”
At the start of the showcase tour, visitors were asked to take a selfie and type in their favorite Olympic sport on a tablet. At the next station, which featured Alibaba’s “Smart Pass” kiosk, through facial recognition, visitors saw their face appear on a large screen, along with relevant information about the sport they chose, such as the location and the timing of events. The application also mapped out a tailored travel itinerary based on information the visitor inputted earlier. This technology spoke to Alibaba’s capability to offer personalized services for sports through the power of analytics.
The showcase housed a theatre, where visitors could watch Alibaba’s first-ever global advertising campaign featuring three television commercials centered on the theme of “to the Greatness of Small,” Alibaba’s salute to young people and small businesses everywhere.
“I thought Alibaba only offered online shopping services until I visited this showcase. All these Alibaba technologies were unfamiliar to me before,” said Byung-ho Lee, a 23-year old South Korean student.
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Eugene Mun, 13, who is attending his first Olympic Games said he was “surprised to see that all popular restaurants could be found using the GPS system and facial recognition.”
Another display at the showcase that captured the interest of visitors was Alibaba Cloud’s computing-powered system that can help to improve a city’s traffic flow. Through an algorithm and real-time data, Alibaba’s cloud analytics can make timely and accurate forecasts that help city managers preempt any potential traffic jams on the streets or highways. This could be a crucial technology for Olympic host cities, which experience a massive influx of visitors and cars during the Games.
This technology, said Bret Laskey, a 28-year visitor from North Dakota, was what impressed him the most because “by connecting everything into one piece, it just makes life so much easier.”