Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) has been supplying live footages of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to broadcasters through the public cloud for the first time after it moved its content delivery platform to Alibaba Cloud’s Elastic Compute Service.
The lift-and-shift migration of the Content+ platform was part of efforts by OBS, an organisation created by the International Olympic Committee in 2001 to provide unbiased coverage of the global sporting event, to transform the way it transmits content.
OBS CEO Yiannis Exarchos hailed the move as “perhaps the biggest technological change in the broadcasting industry for more than half a century since the introduction of satellite transmission, which was introduced to Olympic broadcast coverage for the first time at Tokyo 1964”.
During Tokyo 2020, between 7,000 and 9,000 short-form content clips are expected to be produced by the OBS Content+ crew to support broadcasters in their coverage of the games.
Some 17 broadcasters and four news agencies have subscribed to OBS’s short-form content service, though which they will receive short video clips via a web-based interface.
Another 31 broadcasters are also receiving live content as it is being produced. They can retrieve low-resolution files in near real-time, and mark those that they want to download in full resolution during post-production while the games are still going on.
In addition, two broadcasters will receive ultra-high-definition, high dynamic range footages during Tokyo 2020, allowing them to deliver 4K quality content to viewers.
Selina Yuan, general manager of international business at Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said the agility of cloud-based infrastructure enables faster deployment with fewer resources, while speeding up remote post-production and production from any location with an internet connection.
In response to queries from Computer Weekly on whether the Content+ platform is taking advantage of cloud-native and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities such as artificial intelligence to tag or classify content, an Alibaba Cloud spokesperson said the company will provide updates in future as it is an ongoing innovation project.
Besides supplying OBS with cloud computing resources, Alibaba Cloud has also developed a cloud-based application that uses an ear-worn device to help Olympics staff track their body temperature and heart rate.
Alerts will then be sent to those exposed to a high level of risk along with recommended precautionary measures – such as drinking more water – to reduce the chances of getting heatstroke amid soaring temperatures in Tokyo that have already forced organisers to reschedule some events.