Rio 2016: A tech guide to the Olympics

We look at the tech powering the games and helping those in Rio and further afield watch all the action

New viewing experiences

Virtual reality is one of the latest tech trends to dominate the world, and it's making headlines at the Olympics in Rio. With VR being increasingly entering the mainstream, the event's organisers wanted to capitalise on the potential for spectators right around the world.

For the first time, the Olympics Broadcasting Services - which is responsible for getting the games in front of millions of watchers around the world - is broadcasting high-definition imagery of the opening and closing ceremonies. This also includes one event a day.

Leading up to the event, Korean tech giant Samsung released a 360-degree VR film called Vanuatu Dreams. Experienced using the firm's VR glasses, the video lasts for three minutes and follows the journey of two volleyball players from the island of Vanuatu, located in the Pacific, competing to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Samsung has also opened a "Galaxy Studio" in Rio to help fans embrace the games with VR and mobile technology. Irish gymnast Kieran Behan paid it a visit recently. Talking about his experience, he said: "The technology here in the Samsung Galaxy Studio is absolutely amazing.The VR is super cool I really felt like I was kayaking. And I'm really excited about my Galaxy S7 edge Olympic Games Limited Edition. It truly is a collector's item."

Delighting viewers

Watching the games couldn't be easier. With coverage running around the clock on all the main TV channels and stations, you can also watch the games through online streaming. The BBC will be showing 3,000 hours of coverage spanning the 17 days. If you head to the BBC Sport website, you can access live blogs and live streams of the key games.

Cisco has provided a range of network and server equipment to support the broadcasting of the games. The infrastructure, which is currently being used at 26 venues,  includes IP routers, mobile broadband and data management systems.

"With a pervasive and highly secure IP network, they can better scale video transport in the production environment to deliver all types of content, including more HD to the tens of millions of people watching on different types of devices," said Dave Ward, CTO of engineering at Cisco.

Image credit: IOC (https://www.flickr.com/photos/iocmedia/28836105471/)

There are other ways to get the most out of the Olympics, too. Mobile, just like streaming and VR, has an important role to play for those wanting a piece of the action. The Rio 2016 app, for example, offers users up-to-date information on the games, schedules, results, medals, athletes, teams, venues and maps. It's designed for everyone interested in the event, not just those who are actually there in Rio.

For fans following the games globally, the app is updated constantly with results and real-time medal tables. It also plays home to coverage and photos from the competitions and events taking place across the city.

Turn to the next page to see how the tech behind the games has evolved over the years 

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