Glasgow 2014 is the most connected event in Games history.
The Commonwealth Games has lit up the last week and a half, showing off the endeavours of over 6,500 athletes and officials competing for 410 medals across 17 sports, from long jump to lawn bowls.
It takes a serious amount of hardware to prepare, support and run such a major competition, however, and CBR went to Glasgow this week to hear from Cisco, the official network infrastructure sponsor of the Games, about just what is in place.
As an event spanning not just Glasgow, but several venues outside of the city, a reliable and flexible network is needed to ensure the Commonwealth Games stays operational. Cisco has provided a highly secure and robust network infrastructure enabling the connection of devices, data, voice and video services across all 13 venues, with 240km of fibre being installed across the games’ site, with the resulting total bandwidth amounts to a massive 520 gigabits per second.
This spans across media networks, communications between officials and judges, and even includes the Wi-Fi access in the athlete’s village, with a network that is accessible to competitors and whichever venue they are in.
The company also plays a major role at the Games’ Technical Operations Centre (TOC), a formerly derelict building that was taken over and redeveloped to act as a hub for the competition’s technological infrastructure. From here, a dedicated Games team oversees proceedings to identify and solve any issues around the venues, with 2,500 Cisco IP phones ensuring no-one is ever out of contact.
Cisco is also ensuring that Glasgow 2014 has a useful legacy for the local community, with the properties in the athlete’s village being turned into new homes following the Games. The company is also expanding its National Virtual Incubator (NVI) programme, part of Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) initiative, which aims to give support to technology entrepreneurs and start-ups through mentoring and financial support, to two local universities in order to fund future innovation.
"We’re incredibly proud to play our part in this world-class sporting event," said Phil Smith, CEO Cisco UK and Ireland. "Amazing things happen when you connect the unconnected, and the Commonwealth Games is the perfect platform to display the transformative power of technology and its ability to change the way we live, work and play."
The company’s work also drew praise from legendary British athlete and London 2012 head Lord Sebastian Coe, who has been sharing the lessons he and his organisational body learnt from hosting the Olympics with the Glasgow 2014 team.
"Science and technology have changed the way we train for sporting events, how we take part in them and how we experience them as spectators," he said. "Technology now extends right across every aspect of the sporting experience."
"Whatever the technology looks like, the sport itself will remain just what it’s always been – a glorious, thrilling celebration of life, and one of humanity’s greatest spectacles."