On Friday 3rd December a selection of mobile and digital industry executives converged upon the Deloitte Academy in London to discuss the role of mobile in the 2012 Games.
Organised by The Mobile Data Association (MDA) and supported by the Digital Communications Knowledge Transfer Network (DCKTN), Deloitte helped to crystallise the opportunity for the mobile industry, and for the UK as a whole. Having been a key contributor to the successful bid and as a member of workstream committees, Deloitte was strongly positioned to frame mutual cross-industry objectives and vision.
Additional speakers from a range of organising stakeholders also explained the potential for activity within and outside of sporting venues, as well as the limitations, hurdles and legacies of a powerful 2012 Games experience.
Presentations were delivered by spokespeople from O2, the BBC, organising committee LOCOG, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport for London and the GSMA.
The World looks to the UK
With over 15,000 accredited journalists expected from all corners of the world, the event stands to significantly shift global perceptions of the UK’s technological capabilities. Stakeholders intend to project an image of a vibrant, creative, energetic multicultural country which provides cutting edge digital experiences.
In providing such experiences, basic rules must be adhered to and best practice guidelines followed. Brand protection and marketing rights were outlined by LOCOG, while the BBC offered its own best practice advice, in addition to insights into content consumption and the exponential rise in reach of new digital media.
Transport for London discussed the power of its open data policy in stimulating innovation through the production of mobile applications using transport data and the Greater London Authority informed how the London Underground is working with mobile network operators to install signal on the Central and Jubilee lines.
Siena Pakington and Amanda Farnsworth from the BBC underlined the value of bringing the UK together with brilliant coverage across a range of platforms, driving digital content while offering personalisation and choice. The growth of IPTV services such as YouView (formerly Project Canvas) aims to democratise the viewing of web and television content, and to better control consumption.
Many speakers stressed the value of a collaborative industry. Open sharing of information and unified lobbying has the power to remove barriers and overcome obstacles in delivering superior, immersive user experience. Combined strength and accord will help rebrand Britain to the world, moving away from old fashioned stereotypes.
Protecting the brand
LOCOG’s Emma Young explained how the brand is the organising committee’s most valuable asset. To fund the Games LOCOG ‘sells’ its brand to sponsors and merchandise licensees, therefore if any party used London 2012 logos or associations with the Games for free, the funding model would not work.
Parliament granted LOCOG special legal rights under a 2006 act to prevent ambush marketing.
Given its primary responsibility for all services in the operation of the games, LOCOG’s mobile mission is firmly concentrated on the need for products and services to be proven and robust at the first attempt.
A joint operators group for the Games is working towards securing shared 2G and 3G infrastructure for the public in Olympic park, facilitated by LOCOG. The requirement for solid mobile coverage is a priority illuminated by the rise in visits to official websites. 105m visits to the Beijing site was bettered by 291m visits to the Vancouver site for the following Winter Games. 50% of all Canadians were said to have visited the site, while the mobile site received 8.7m visits and 1.25m downloaded the official mobile application.
LOCOG aims to deliver a number of mobile applications across the different development platforms for 2012, starting with WOW, the application from official partner Samsung, on Samsung’s Android-operated devices.
Open data to stimulate innovation
Transport for London’s Vernon Everitt extolled the virtues of open data for developers to provide applications and services which improve the travel experience. Much of TfL’s remit concerns coping with increased capacity, large-scale events and making sure their transport keeps moving. By freeing arrival and departure board data, status of tube lines and route planning data, developers have created new applications and better experiences.
The introduction of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme saw TfL open up the location data of docking stations. Four new mobile applications were published by independent developers in a short space of time.
Stimulating innovation was said to depend on the quality of openly offered data, and on the syndication of real-time information through specialist technical interfaces to publishers and broadcasters such as the BBC.
The Games Legacy
A panel session of speakers outlined their vision of the Games legacy. How people consume real-time data on the go, the nature of athlete engagement via social media and sustained best practice were all cited as potential long-term benefits of activity.
Prospective hurdles were considered to be fear, losing control of the message, damage to reputation through misuse of data. However, with open stakeholder engagement and considered focus, none were considered to be insurmountable.
The next 600 days..
With the clock now ticking down towards the beginning of the Games, it's now time for the talking to stop and concerted industry activity to begin. The MDA has created a closed, invite-only discussion group with the intention of providing a forum for bringing together 2012 stakeholders around mobile projects. Submit your discussion group request along with the nature of your interest here. http://tinyurl.com/23l6blbAn event in March 2011, again coordinated by The MDA, will incorporate the official mobile partner of the Games, Samsung, and explore opportunities around the branded device and related applications. This event will form part of a series of meetings intended to achieve hard results by generating rich mobile experiences leading up to, during and after the Games.