London 2012 Embraces Web 2.0 and Green IT

Britain's Olympic organizers are planning energy-saving green IT projects and online social networking for the Games

The London 2012 Olympic Games organisers are exploring energy-saving green IT initiatives and embracing web 2.0 technologies such as social networking for the event.

Work on the main IT infrastructure supporting the 2012 games won't begin until after the Beijing Olympics next summer but the London Organising Committee (Locog) is already looking at a range of interactive web 2.0-based projects.

Internet-based technology has only been used for previous Olympics in the form of a website and to deliver competition results but Alex Balfour, head of new media for Locog, said that will change for London 2012.

Balfour said: "We have set out to do things differently and embrace new media. People under 20 use social networking instead of email. It's important we make the most of that opportunity. Our new media channels will be the number-one way for people to share, access and participate in the Games."

Although the web 2.0 planning is still in its very early stages, Balfour said one of the projects being looked at is a way to encourage spectators and competitors to capture digital photos on their cameras and phones and upload and share them on the internet.

He said: "Social networking is a way that can make the Games more relevant to a younger audience. We are thinking you have to actually embrace that and build a framework for people to do that. You could, for example, take a narrative of an athlete coming 54th in the marathon. There's a huge amount of opportunity."

Organisers have also set out to make London 2012 the most environmentally friendly Olympic Games ever, and with around 10,000 PCs, two data centres and 1,000 servers in play IT is set to have a key role in achieving that goal.

Rob Price, account director for London 2012 at the Olympics main IT supplier Atos Origin, said: "It is something we have to respond to. It can't be just a phrase. Data centres are huge users of energy - it's a big opportunity to embrace the principles of 2012."

But he said it won't be until after the Beijing games when work starts on designing the IT infrastructure for 2012 that specific green initiatives will be identified.

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