Higher, faster, stronger
Originally published on The Wall, strategist Matt Brown explains how the London 2012 digital experience broke new boundaries...
London 2012 may be over, but the digital world continues to reverberate to a dizzying halo of statistical superlatives. The 44 world records we’ve seen broken at the Olympic Games and 251 at the Paralympic Games were accompanied by unparalleled broadcast reach, new milestones of social media engagement and ever more progressive uses of digital technology.
It’s a significantly transformed landscape from the one in which the British Olympic Association first began working on London’s bid in 1997, when broadband internet reached just 17 per cent of the UK population, Nokia commanded 37 per cent of the global mobile phone market and Google operated under the name Backrub. Fast-forward 15 years and the climax of the Games saw data pouring from the Olympic Park at 60GB per second into a socially connected world where internet-enabled devices outnumber people.
As London hands over the baton to Brazil, some of the most striking data to have emerged from this summer’s games has been regarding wireless devices. Some 60 per cent of visits to the London 2012 site and 33 per cent of those viewing BBC coverage came via mobile – an inconceivable situation just a few years ago.
The social media appetites of Olympics followers were no less voracious, generating more tweets in a single day than Beijing could muster in an entire fortnight. In 2005, the London 2012 bid site prompted us to share our support by sending an e-card. Today, our support is offered instinctively by spurring on Usain Bolt at a rate of 74,000 tweets per second.
We can reasonably expect the advancement in Rio 2016 to be considerable too. 4G wireless technology is due to arrive there in time for the 2014 World Cup, while forecasts of police equipped with biometrically-enhanced glasses with facial recognition capabilities can no longer be confined to science fiction.
In each field of sport and technology we adapt to constantly changing environments, but are fuelled by the same intrinsic urge to exceed our limits – higher, faster and stronger than ever before.