Faced with unprecedented tech demands, Rio 2016 officials simulate
Image: Pixabay.com

The CIO of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games effort is faced with enormous tech demand for the 17-day event: some 138,000 volunteers, employees and outsourced staff and over 10,000 athletes competing in 144 venues. They’ll all be leaning on a technology infrastructure that has been spun up from virtually nothing in just two years.

The technology demand of these games is unprecedented, officials say. Demand for connectivity is roughly twice what it was just four years ago in London, and England started from a more robust infrastructure position than Rio. In addition to that, a number of sports now incorporate data collection into the game. Rugby and golf, for example, require sensors and mapping technology. There also are advances in scoreboard and timing technology.

Elly Resende, technology director of the Rio Games, said in an interview:

“All solutions that need to be provided at competition and non-competition venues are being implemented so that we start the Games focusing only on operations, with a set of policies, procedures, and processes and an operations team able to act quickly in the event of some kind of failure even if it it doesn’t yet impact the end customer.”

So, how’d they get it all done? Resende says the key was the use of simulations.

He told ZDnet recently that his department — some 500 staff — held a “technical rehearsal” to simulate the three busiest days of the games, Aug. 9-12. The simulation included nearly 1,000 different scenarios, including floods, network disconnection, power failures and security breaches.

“By simulating real events at real venues under conditions very close to those during the actual games allows us to fully prepare all the key players involved to ensure a successful Olympic Games,” he said.

We love to hear that Resende’s team has been simulating. That will dramatically increase the odds that sports fans can enjoy the feats of the world’s best athletes instead of reading about technology failure in Rio.

As we have written here on this blog, simulation, as with service virtualization technology, is the only way to ensure apps will perform as expected when placed under maximum stress.

Rio has been down this road, just recently and with success.

Just two years ago, some 600,000 fans trekked to Brazil for the World Cup, many of them filtering through Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport. At the time, the airport was racing to open a new international terminal, including myriad interdependent apps for functions such as luggage management and ticketing.

In that case, a consortium of interests that runs the airport turned to service virtualization to make sure everything worked and the chances of disruptions would be minimized.

“Thanks to the solution, we were able to identify some potential issues with the luggage application and its infrastructure, and have been able to resolve them before we roll it out in a production environment,” GRU’s IT director, Luis Ritzmann, said at the time. We blogged about the successful GRU rollout here.

The point being: If you’re going to roll out complex apps that you know will be under stress, your company — and your customers — are best served by rigorous and automated simulation testing ahead of time. Otherwise, you won’t just miss out on the gold medal; you might be out of business.