Business olympics

How VIPs got around during the Olympics – security hard undebelly

We were walking through London to Hyde Park for the Blur gig and saw several of these convoys driving along Picadilly. I guess they were ferrying VIPs from their 5 star hotels on Park Lane to the Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Park. The cops took no prisoners and were pretty aggressive with pedestrians and other cars that didn’t get the message to shift out of the way in a timely manner. The hard underbelly of diplomatic security 🙂

End User olympics

is this an Olympic or world record for most beers consumed?

beer barrels at the Heineken beer garden just outside the Olympic Park

Don’t know about you but I don’t think I”ve ever seen so many beer barrels. Maybe its because I’m a small town boy with a lot to learn about the ways of the world.

view of the Heineken beer garden from the Cisco House balconyThey were at the back of the Heineken beer garden which was just outside the Cisco House. The next pic is a wider view of the garden taken from the top floor balcony of the Cisco House. Didn’t go there myself as were were well catered for with teas and coffees etc provided by Cisco.

End User olympics

No WiFi on train but power points more important

John and I are wending our way back from Cardiff to London in First Class with First Great Western. I like to teach my kids the right way to travel.

FGW doesn’t have WiFi like Eastcoast does but actually I’m finding that power is more important. 3G is good enough and having a fully charged phone for this afternoon’s Olympic kayak slaloms at Lee Valley is more important. I think 24 hours of battery life at flat out use needs to be the benchmark – 2 days for contingency. We aren’t there yet.

The lad is dozing whilst listening to some sounds on his phone. His copy of the Times newspaper made him nod off:)

I’m feeling a little rebellious. Last night we took a vuvuzela type horn into the GB v Uruguay match. It was on the list of prohibited items but if the Uruguayan supporters could take an entire drum kit into the ground it would have been entirely unfair to confiscate our modest source of atmosphere and excitement.

Today I am wearing my HP branded Commons and Lords Lions tour polo shirt and we have a Nike day bag. Totally against he rules laid down by the Locog heavIes. We also have a packed lunch which is apparently ok provided we don’t take too much – presumably in case we start selling food inside the venue. We could undercut the concessions and make a fortune, our only overheads being a modest Waitrose bill and the cost of the tickets. The latter has been covered by the mortgage so repayments will hardly be noticed over the 4 years between Olympic games.

I read somewhere yesterday that some politician (I can’t remember his name, which will obviously be a disappointment to the individual concerned) has said that the food prices are in line with other major events and that a family should be able to feed themselves for forty quid. That’s as may be but for most people forty pounds is a lot of dosh and I bet his family only consists of four people. Being a highly virile couple we have four kids which by my reckoning works out at sixty notes for lunch or roughly twelve pints of lager if you live in London as many readers of this blog do.

What a choice. Feed the kids or drink lots of lager. I suppose I could drink slightly fewer lagers and save some cash for a curry or a kebab afterwards (the hidden costs of a night out on the town). No no no only joking. Honest :).

Look out for me In the kayakIng crowd in my red HP polo shirt. Hasta la vista baby.

More later on my OlympIc holiday, from the WordPress dashboard of the Samsung Galaxy S3…

End User olympics

Calm before the Olympic storm?

Usain Bolt - billions of fans want to see him win at the London 2012 OlympicsIf it’s Tuesday it must be London. Not if you’re a tourist. I’m down here for meetings but the place is remarkably calm. No queues at the taxi rank at Kings Cross Station, not many people around.

The taxi driver told me it has been one of the quietest summer he has ever seen. The regular tourists have stayed away. I’ve even been able to get a great last minute deal on 5 star hotel at a rock bottom price – only a few quid more than the Kings Cross Travelodge that is my usual haunt.

The London2012 games will soon be upon us and excited I am. I’m confident that they will  be a huge success and the PR failures of Locog will fade from the national memory (not mine though – i don’t forget these things:).

clean exterior at the refurbished London Kings Cross Station

I’m taking a chunk of the Olympic fortnight off. Not all of it – I’m off to a British Business Embassy meeting with Dave, George and Vince (apparently) on Friday 3rd August. If you’re going I’ll be the one wearing a suit! (I know – WTF do I hear you say?).

I’ll be with son number 3 (kid4) at the Team GB versus Uruguay clash of Titans at the Millenium stadium and with sons 1,2 and 3 (there are no more as far as I am aware) at the Kayak Slalom finals at Lee Valley wild water rapids fun centre.

Then the following week I’m at the ladies high diving final with Cisco, the men’s handball semi finals with KCom (yea I know – I’ll tell you what handball is when I get back from holidays if I remember) and then finally I’m with BT Wholesale at the closing concert in Hyde Park on the Sunday.

Thanks for all the invites for what are very important relationship building networking occasions.

I did um and ah a little about revealing all these tidbits but what the heck. Life is for living.  The Olympics will not be here again in my lifetime and it is a useful way of building up to saying if anyone wants to invite me to the athletics at the Olympic Stadium itself then there is a fair chance they will become my new best pal. Preferably Mens 100m or 200m finals or any other blue riband event.

Catch you later, maybe…

End User fun stuff

photo mania madness must stop

It is only recently that I mentioned taking a Gig’s worth of photos at the Lincolnshire show using my Samsung Galaxy S3. Well this photo mania madness must stop. Last night I rattled off almost 2.5Gigs worth. Storage is cheap but not that cheap and I have to consider what on earth I will do with all these photos and videos.

The Galxy S3 has a “best photo” mode so that when I shoot in burst mode it deletes 19 out of 20 shots and keeps the best one. This is sensible. Burst mode is good for taking lots of fast changing scenes and for those with limited photographic skills – “there is bound to be one good one amongst all that lot”.

The trouble is I like to take my time over chosing the best photo so I don’t use that particular feature.  The problem is then exacerbated bythe fact that I never have the time to sort through the pictures. I’m probably going to live with it and convince myself that storage is not that expensive.

The problem then arises in how do I tag objects in the photos. Google et al seem to let you tag people in photos and they then identify them in others. I have shied away from this for privacy purposes but I may end up tagging – especially if I can do it privately on my PC.

The photo below was carefully selected from the 2.5GB taken yesterday. I think it is a very artistic shot of the rescue boats taken at dusk on the Brayford Pool in Lincoln during the Olympic fireworks display. In the style of the Impressionists wouldn’t you say?

impressionist view of the Brayford Pool in Lincoln - click to see more

End User mobile connectivity Net olympics

Olympic torch relay, Samsung social media and getting down with the kids

I don’t know about you but I for one am reallytref with Olympic torch in Lincoln looking forward to the Olympics. I have tickets for three sports – footballing in Cardiff, Kayaking in Lee Valley North London and High Diving at the Aquatics centre in the Olympic Park. I could have bought more in the last release, including the much joked about beach volleyball but at £95 just for the ticket I decided I had to draw the line somewhere.

My own Olympic story started on July 6th 2005, the day the winning bid was announced. I was in London, doing some presentations in the City. That afternoon we celebrated alongside everyone else in town, a victory tinged only withOlympic torch in Lincoln a slight hangover as the next day London was under attack with the July 7 bombings.

Some time later I went on a sewer tour to look at the huge amount of latent communications capacity there is in the fibres running underground in the capital. I was told that the sewer runs right through the Olympic Park. I don’t fancy being a guards having to check down there during the games. Then for the last year or so the ISP industry has been starting to think about its requirements to keep the network running during the games. It’s mostly about bandwidth.

The 2012 Olympic games is going to be all about information handling. Of course it is also about winning medals, taking part and all the good sporting stuff but this will be embedded in a communications wrap the like of which has never been seen before.

In the UK the communications build up has been massive and not without its glitches – the ticketing website and process has attracted a lot of criticism. Now that tickets are being dispatched hopefully that memory will fade.

The serious communications infrastructure preparations have been going on for much longer.  BT kicked off its network planning in July 2009 and most UK ISPs will now have
their plans in place on how to cope with the growth in internet usage during the games – basically by buying more bandwidth from BT.

The media build up has also kicked in big time as the torch makes its way around the country. A quick glance at the Facebook page of “Olympics” shows it has 2.8 million “likes”. The London 2012 page has fewer at 379k likes – clearly a newer page and a slightly lesser brand though far more specific to this summer’s needs.

There is a Facebook App “London 2012“ which with only 900 monthly users looks decidedly unofficial although there are lots of links to genuine Olympic resources. Then there is “ London Olympics 2012 “ which is clearly unofficial with only 3,435 likes. I’m not really here to comment on whether something is official or not, the fact is there must be a huge number of social media pages dedicated to the event.

Last night I went to the Olympic Torch event in Lincoln. I was a proud dad as my daughter was dancing as part of the entertainment. Everyone there had a fantastic time. There is clearly a huge amount of support for these games in the UK.

Most of the entertainment was provided by three of the Olympic sponsors:  Samsung, Lloyds TSB and Coca Cola.

The Samsung act was particularly impressive because of its use of social media. It included “Twist” and “Pulse”, apparently a popular dance duo. It was at this point that I realised how out of touch I was. I had pushed myself to the front of the crowd of 10,000 people as I wanted a good view of my daughter dancing. I found myself there with “the kids” – mostly 12 – 16 year olds I’d guess. They knew all the acts and all the words to all the songs.

Anyway at the end of the act Twist (or Pulse – you tell me  🙂 ) went on about how these were the “connected games”. All the dancers took out a Samsung phone and started to take photos of the crowd. Twist was elevated onto a platform and took a photo of the entire crowd. That’s 9,999 people (should have been 10,000 but my youngest son was playing cricket – beat Scunthorpe U12s by 10 wickets!).

Samsung entertainers Twist and Pulse with dancers taking pictures of the crowdHe then told us that the photo had just gone live at People were then encouraged to visit the page to tag themselves using their Facebook ID. I did this – you can see me here (somewhere).

Think about this. The torch is visiting 70 locations. If there are 10,000 people on average at each location then that is 700,000 people being encouraged to engage with Samsung online.  Everone who tags themselves  are effectively providing Samsung with valuable social media marketing data. These people are also all going to tell their friends to take a look at them in the crowd and at the same time they are all uploading their own photos.

There are two types of person going to the Olympics this summer – us and them. The “us” are represented by all the punters, with or without tickets at the venue or milling around just taking in the atmosphere of London.

The “them” camp is divided into competitors, media and the rest of the Olympic family – the hard working folk of Olympic committees around the world over for a junket to oversee the smooth functioning of the games.

These games are likely to be the most technologically rich Olympics we have seen so far. BT has installed a 60Gbps core network in preparation. Despite encouragement from Samsung the heaviest users are going to be the media. 60Gb amounts to 2.7Mbps for each of the 22,000 accredited media personnel at the games. That’s around 30  x  maximum usage per connection seen at a typical business ISP and sensibly has a significant amount of headroom built into the capacity requirements.

As we approach the Olympic fortnight I’m going to be taking a more detailed look at the technology that has gone in to making it all (hopefully) a success – both from the point of view of the “Olympic Family” and us normal folk. Stay tuned.

Also check out this video of the Red Arrows flying over the Olympic torch relay event – they are  regular visitors to the skies over Lincoln. On this occasion their leader spoke to the crowd over his intercom – uber cool.

Business olympics

Timico’s Olympic preparations – a public service announcement

All sensible network operators around the world are completing their preparations for the London 2012 Olympics at the moment. And Timico is no exception; we and our strategic partners have been planning for the Olympics for some time and have taken a number of mitigating actions.

We’ve emailed all of our customers to give a summary of the likely impacts and the steps we’re taking to minimise problems. This blog expands on that email with some more details. You can also see what some of our strategic partners are doing to maintain their network integrity during the events.

How busy is the Timico network going to be?