For a clear view of the future of business technology, the recent Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea were a display of much more than athletic prowess. They provided a real life glimpse into the next generation of business tech.
Drones and Robots, Oh My!
Participants, the onsite audience, and broadcast viewers saw one of the first and most spectacular uses in the opening ceremonies, as more than 1,200 drones outfitted with LED lights made Olympic scenes in the sky. The event used the most drones ever, by far, for an outdoor light show. The largest number used up to this point was 500, according to Intel, who made the drones and controlled them during the ceremonies.
While the business use of drones has been explored in essential business services such as package deliveries, the opening events went a long way toward making it clear that the use of drones has arrived as a consumer display technology, as well.
But South Korea’s technology news was on an even greater level of display, as befits a nation whose largest technology companies — Samsung, LG, and Hyundai — are global household names.
Humanoid robots, for example, guided visitors to the airports. They could check in and out boarding passes, as movable and efficient scanners, but could also speak to guests in Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese. Robots were also selectively deployed around the Olympics.
Self-driving cars were utilized as part of the transport fleet on the Olympic grounds.
South Korea used the Games as a method of testing its networks and cutting-edge technologies.
Trial Run for a Superfast Network
But that was the razzle dazzle. South Korea also cannily used a superfast network throughout the Olympics, laying down its own trial run. The 2018 Olympics utilized the world’s first 5G network, which, according to CNBC, is 1,000 times faster than existing networks.
The Olympic usage was intended both to test before commercial use is rolled out, which is anticipated three years from now, and to provide a glimpse into South Korea’s state-of-the-art technology and business strategy.
The games were broadcast in the country on Ultra High Definition (UHD) screens, which boasts 4 times the resolution of standard high definition.
The Olympic Games were also sites of virtual reality (VR) googles for the viewing pleasure of patrons — the largest deployment yet of VR at sporting events, CNBC says.
There were also many new displays of how cameras can be deployed for viewers. Korean mobile carrier KT Corp. provided a viewing method it calls “time slice,” Cameras can be mounted on the heads of the athletes so that viewers see the events from their perspective, not that of a network cameraperson. Users could also choose another view of the performance or the athletes.
Perhaps most intriguingly, it appears that technology could provide the opportunity for “ghost skier” technology, where a past run could be superimposed over a current one, allowing viewers to see changes from performance to performance. This could be especially a fit with Olympics events where milliseconds determine winning performances.
South Korea is the world’s fifth largest global exported and the 10th largest global economy.