Pyeongchang Olympics used as testing ground for new technology

The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, while centered on awarding athletes the highest distinction in sports, is deserving of its own record-breaking recognition. This year’s games have informally medaled for their incorporation of technology far more advanced than any preceding Olympic event.

The International Olympic Committee utilized this year’s rendition of the biennial event as a testing ground for new technology. Taking into account that the Olympics has high international viewership, the committee collaborated with organizations like Samsung, Intel, Visa, Comcast, NBC, Korea Telecom and Ralph Lauren to enhance the Olympics experience for both players and spectators.

Among some of the new technology are Roomba-like robots that serve drinks and clean messes at venues. Other technological developments in Pyeongchang include self-driving buses, robotic airport guides, enhanced robotic security and a popular 5G network.

While the majority of the new gadgets are geared towards visitors in South Korea, students at Guilford can already sense the impact that piloting this technology could have on the world in the future.

“I think (the new technology) could impact the world,” said sophomore Jacob Dugal. “If we use and grow from it and use it for good, we can help (other) countries.”

Combining the debut of this new technology and the convening of athletes at Pyeongchang is no mistake. The IOC reported upwards of 3 billion viewers at the Rio Olympics of 2016 and are hoping for similar viewership rates now.

Just within the first few days, the Pyeongchang Olympics Committee confirmed that almost a million tickets had been sold for the 18-day event. Millions more individuals from around the world are estimated to be streaming the competitions online. With a significant number of people poised to watch from their television screens, there’s almost no question why so many tech companies wanted to test their new innovations in Pyeongchang.

Even more advantageous is the heightened ability to reach people across the world at the same time.

“Any technological innovation that helps people connect with others, that’s a superb thing,” said junior Finn Shepherd.

In Pyeongchang, connection with others around the world has become a vital point, especially through smartphones. Now, it is possible to watch all of the events through a cell phone for real-time updates. Snapchat uploads event recaps and clips of every major sport, and NBC’s mobile app allows live streaming through a mobile phone.

As more interactive methods of communicating with tourists and viewers at the Olympics grow, so do the available methods for enhancing the experience. The IOC’s collaboration with a variety of companies to make the Olympics more interactive and accessible marks only the beginning of what is to come.