A country known to be a technology hub, the home of revolutionary tech-giants such as Samsung, Hyundai and LG Electronics, South Korea is playing host to one of the most tech-forward events recorded in history, the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Held from 9th to 25th of February in PyeongChang, South Korea, the event has displayed some noteworthy innovations to ever be included in the Olympic Games, taking it to the next level.
Where it all begins:
Preparations for the mega event have been going on for years with the South Korean Government leaving no stones unturned to make its mark on the event. With an interactive website, multiple live apps, AR and VR integration, AI, 5G Tech and more.
In our first edition, we peek behind the curtains on one of the most tech-forward events of the year.
Tech behind the Scenes:
Building a digital event hub:
The PyeongChang winter Olympics established its digital presence through an event website and app powered with the help of its tech giant sponsors such as the Korea-based Information and Communication Corporation, SsangYong and Samsung.
Can’t be there in person? No worries. You can get all the important scoop on the event through its website that encompasses necessary information on the event right from the event schedule to live updates and news. It’s highly interactive and detailed.
Fans and followers across the globe can browse through the picture and video gallery for highlights of the event proceedings. Now you won’t miss that amazing ice skater doing a triple jump or your favourite skier just flying down the slope!
The website also connects people with their partnered media for a live webcast of the event depending on the country they live in. The section contains more than 50 countries that are on the list for a live webcast!
The official site, available in six different languages including Korean and English, contains multiple other sections such as:
– Schedule and Results
– Medal Distributions
– Sponsor and Partner Listing
– Community Blog
– Live Updates
– Social Media Updates
Visit the official PyeongChang 2018 event website to check it out for yourself.
Talking about important sections of the website, the ticketing section has been especially noteworthy in terms of tech integration as well as its inclusiveness of people from all walks of life.
The ticketing for the event, powered by Korean company Interpark is included as a separate landing page made accessible in multiple languages. Apart from this, the page has been designed keeping in mind the convenience of people who may be disabled or visually impaired.
Coming to ticketing technology, PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 is the first Olympic event to host a mobile ticketing option. To ensure security, each ticket is encrypted using a QR Code.
The tickets also contain a hologram and the full name of the original buyer of the ticket. The organisers have also provided a PyeongChang Mobile Ticket App for ticket registrations for further convenience.
Alibaba Group, an official partner of the official games that have signed on for the event up till 2028 is especially focused on optimizing this ticketing process beginning in South Korea. After keen observation of the entire process at PyeongChang, the group plans to add facial recognition and cloud-based data storage to the ticketing plan in future events.
Event App: The entire event in the palm of your hands:
When you have Samsung as a tech partner, it comes as no surprise that you have a kick-ass app for your event. The official event app, as well as the mobile ticketing app for the Winter Olympics 2018, is powered by Samsung.
A seamless user experience and an amusing design with the event mascots Soohorang and Bandabi at the centre of it, the event app contains all the valuable information included in the website in a more mobile-friendly format.
Users can browse through the results, get news updates, check out their favourite athletes and teams, go through important links as given or witness live action through the photo and video gallery integrated with the app.
Cool Way to go Cashless:
Visa, the official payment partner of the event has introduced a cool new way to go cashless at the event in partnership with Lotte Card, the financial section of South Korean-based retail giant, Lotte Department Store.
“We are looking forward to transforming the payment experience for everyone who attends the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.” – Iain Jamieson, Korea country manager at Visa
Visa executed their plan in the form of three commercialised wearable tech devices available for cashless payments. These devices are:
1. NFC-enabled payment gloves:
A perfect solution to help attendees go cashless even when it’s cold outside! Not my words. These NFC enabled gloves were designed keeping in mind the extremely cold situation in the town where the temperature could drop even below -4.8 Celsius at times.
It’s a way for attendees to make payments in a way that’s safe and secure. The gloves are embedded with prepaid amounts valued at either KRW30, 000 or KRW50, 000.
Somewhat similar to micro-tags, these payment stickers can be stuck on any surface with the help of a special adhesive at the back.
These commemorative stickers are embedded with a dual interface NFC-chip and antenna for seamless transactions. Attendees could purchase stickers with different valuations amounting to KRW30, 000, KRW50, 000, KRW100, 000 to KRW200, 000.
A twist to the everlasting tradition of collecting commemorative pins at Olympic Games, Visa provided four unique custom designed lapel pins.
These custom PyeongChang pins were payment enabled, costing approximately KRW 5,000. In addition, the required embedded prepaid amounts were either KRW30, 000 or KRW50, 000. A handy collectable indeed!
Olympic Games going Social!
Following the successful partnership between Snapchat and NBC during the Rio Olympics, Snapchat is helping PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics go social by streaming the live updates on its platform in the US.
Apart from this, Snapchat also has some exclusive content around the games as stories on the app. Along with themed filters and stickers and content produced by BuzzFeed, it is also producing a separate section entitled ‘Our Stories’ that will display content as provided by the Olympic Channel.
Other than NBC, Snapchat has partnered up with Eurosport to bring interesting behind-the-scenes features from the games on to its platform.
Along with this, the official website and app for the event also feature updates from across the globe on Facebook as well as Twitter using the hashtag #PyeongChang2018.
The Event Swag:
Winter Olympics 2018 is definitely ahead in the event swag game with a store full of customized event merchandise that is again, designed around their mascots Soohorang and Bandabi.
The event has an online store for delivery inside the Republic of Korea, apart from a gift store linked with its event website as well as event app that listed the on-ground store locations as well.
Attendees can browse through all their merchandise and order product of their choices by paying online. The event is also hosting an event swag contest around the Olympic Pins partnering with Samsung.
The Samsung Pin challenge revolved around collecting all 20 pins from the Samsung pin board from the Samsung Olympic showcase. The first ten lucky collectors were to win an exclusive limited edition Olympic Games Samsung Phone.
Navigating in Augmented Reality:
Partnering with Korean based navigation service AR Ways; attendees can use the AR Ways app for reaching to and navigating around the event venue using augmented reality.
The attendees can turn on the app that maps their location using video and guides them through the city right down to their assigned seat. Navigation is classified based on directions to the Olympic Park, the desired ice arena, leading directly to the assigned seat as entered.
Apart from this, attendees can also use the official transportation app for the Winter Games, named Go PyeongChang -2018 Winter Games Transport App.
Along with listing routes to venues and key facilities of the event, the app also helps attendees book transportation services directly from the app. Attendees can directly scan their ticket QR Code and get a detailed route to the assigned venue as well.
This is simply the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for the next edition where we take you through the on-ground tech at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018. Hint: There’s going to be Robots, AI, Drones and a lot more!