There are no coincidences in life. Thus, the first Olympic Games take place in AR and VR format in one of the most developed tech nations in the world: South Korea.
Between 9-25 February, 2018 the fans of winter sports, the elite athletes of Winter Olympism, world-class technological and policy stakeholders will be in Pyeongchang during the greatest sport event on the planet: the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Certainly, millions of viewers will cheer for their favourite athletes over a silver screen and thanks to several strategic partnerships VR and AR will provide unique experience. VR is a perfect medium for the perspective of the content that has is behind the scenes, totally immersive and has never been seen before.
For the first time in the history of television and Olympic sport, NBC has partnered with Intel to broadcast 30 Olympic events in VR. 18 of those events will be live-streamed, while the remaining 12 will be broadcast the day after and available as a video-on-demand. In this promo video you may see what to expect and what effects NBC and Olympic Games have created.
In an earlier text, during the summer, we have analyzed how VR can be implemented in professional team and individual sports. Bear in mind the routine of any top athlete, ‘‘every second of their life prepares them for peak performance at a major competition. Athletes live through excellence with every breath they take so it is not a surprise at all when they repeat extraordinary results in front of thousands of fans.’’
It is revolutionary to see that VR is not only useful to fans for entertainment purposes. Athletes as well benefit from VR technology when they use it at trainings to focus on a particular sequence in their performance. STRIVR was used in skiing races after being adored by NFL, NBA and NHL teams.
According to Danny Belch, VP of Marketing at STRIVR, “VR Training helps athletes prepare for a race by keeping the course fresh in their minds even when they aren’t on the course,” Instead of testing the race route just once at the Inspection Day, VR experience in STRIVR makes it possible for competitors to test the terrain over and over again.
It seems that VR will become more than a status symbol to professional athletes, it will be one of key tools like extra equipment where with exquisite quality the athletes get the competitive advantage.
Finally, Olympic AR app called AR Ways became available for iOS and Android. The visitors are able to use the app as if a personal assistant lives inside their phones. They can check the navigation through venues, the competition schedules, the medal ceremonies and the info on athletes.
Still, the comments of an app like this have not been entirely positive as some staff believed that technology like this diminishes the role of local and international communities that come together and join forces to help Olympic Games visitors and to show brilliant hospitality and their city.
As someone who has worked at major sport events in Rome, Belgrade and London (including London 2012 Games) I would definitely agree that there should be a good balance between the use of technology and the contact with hospitable and enthusiastic faces of Olympic Games staff and volunteers.
To conclude, this is the first time that we could follow Olympic Games in VR and AR format, but this is just a beginning. Until Tokyo 2020 Summer Games and Beijing 2022 Winter Games, VR technology will become even stronger and more advanced, attracting more of fans.
Images: South China Morning Post