The Winter Olympics has finished its first full week with athletes braving freezing and often windy conditions. For me personally, I have enjoyed watching (through my half open fingers) the women and men who brave the 22-foot walls of the halfpipe, doing flips and tricks, climbing higher as speed is gained.
There are many that believe that hosting the Olympic games provides a boost to the local economy. However, as we saw following the 2016 summer Olympics in Brazil, the Olympic village turned into a “ghost town” six months later. According to an Oxford University study, the average cost overrun for the Olympics is 156 percent, and every Olympics overruns its budget in some way.
While the Olympics may not realize the promised economic benefits to the host country, the technological innovations being showcased in PyeongChang and those planned for the 2020 Summer Olympics have stolen the show.
Fifth Generation (5G) wireless networks, a technology that has not been previously used commercially, are being deployed to ward off the wild boars that roam the mountains surrounding the Olympic Games using “fast-acting systems that shoot rays, spew gases and emit tiger roars.” The opening ceremonies also featured a record-breaking light based performance of over 1,200 drones put on by Intel.
Technology is even having an effect on the sports involved in the Olympic games. At PyeongChang, Intel hosted a video game tournament that was streamed on the Olympic Channel and the International Olympic Committee is even considering adding an official e-sports component. In addition, in 2020, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) is planning on incorporating artificial intelligence to help the judges score the competition in the 2020 Summer Games.
In business, there can be a certain amount of fear that comes with the risks and uncertainties of technological development and innovation as a whole. If the Olympic games, an event that dates back to ancient times, can utilize cutting edge technology, then executives today can explore what technology can do to grow their firm?