If early record-setting is any indication of what is to come, the 2012 Olympics are off to a great start. The contests have not begun, yet already a first has occurred: for the third time in modern Olympic history, London, England, will be the proud host of the Games, making it the first city to achieve such an honor. The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) hopes that these Olympics will reach more people and be more personal than any other in history.
Paul Deighton, CEO of London 2012, calls this year's event the “any time, any place, anywhere Olympics”—truly a “multiplatform Games”—a tag that acknowledges the multimedia reality of today’s world. LOCOG’s biggest challenge will be successfully channeling the power of social media—making the Olympics as instant and accessible and interactive as possible—while also turning a profit. In the Technology Operation Centers (TOC), it is all venues all the time, 90–100 sites total. Cisco, the Official Network Infrastructure Provider, promises to connect people in 205 countries, 6,000 LOCOG employees, 21,800 athletes and team officials, 22,000 media personnel, and 70,000 volunteers. Add to that the 10.8 million tickets available, the 10 million people connecting online, and the 4 billion people watching around the world and you have a truly global experience.
In the U.S., both live and recorded programming of the Olympics will be featured on NBC-owned MSNBC, CNBC, and Bravo. Plus, you can get live streaming of the entire Olympics thanks to a partnership between NBC and YouTube. In the U.K., owing to the BBC "four-screens strategy" (computer, tablet, phone, TV), you will be able to experience the Olympics, virtually. Commuters don't have to fret about missing a beat; the Tube promises to be wireless by the Opening Ceremony.
For those lucky enough to be navigating the real-world Olympics, there are apps for them, too. Olympic Translator will be able to instantly translate 6,000 Olympic-specific phrases into 37 languages. A user-driven app that will only get better over time, the Translator app utilizes Google Translate, adds its own database, and accepts user corrections and additions (a la Wikipedia) to combine in a resource that might succeed in making the world a little smaller.
Pick up a device between July 27–Aug. 12, 2012 (Olympics) and Aug. 29–Sept. 9 (Paralympics), and, for the first time ever, you’ll be able to watch the entire Olympics as they happen.