Pyeongchang 2018

Behind the Scenes at the Olympic Games

Behind the Scenes at the Olympic Games Multi-video streaming system turns spectators' smartphones into secondary screens

Photo of people working in the editing room for the multi-video streaming system
Photo :Hiroyuki Murabayashi

Hiroyuki Murabayashi
Panasonic Corporation
Professional Business Support Sector
Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Enterprise Division

Photo :Kenji Kojima

Kenji Kojima
Panasonic Information Systems Co., Ltd.
Enterprise Business Solution Division

Photo: John Paul Giancarlo, International Olympic Committee (IOC)

John Paul Giancarlo
Internationl Olyumpic Committee
Technology Leader

A lot of efforts are made at the Olympic Games competition venues to make the viewing experience more enjoyable with large screens and audio. At the PyeongChang 2018, the presentation of video did not stop at the large screens inside the venues. For the first time, the multi-video streaming system was deployed at an Olympic Games to offer more of the scenes and information that spectators want to see – streamed directly to their smartphones and tablets inside the competition venues. This was a new viewing style offered by Panasonic whereby spectators could use their own devices as secondary screens alongside the large screens inside the venues.  

New solutions to change the sports viewing experience

Panasonic supplies a lot of different video equipment to all Olympic Games competition venues, including large video display equipment, projectors, and system displays. By relaying scenes of intense competition from the venues in close up on the screens, and supplying related information alongside, these technologies enable all spectators inside the venues to share in the tension and get a closer feel of the athletes' performances.
However, with more and more different information sources now available for sports contents, this has brought more diverse needs among spectators who want to enjoy the ultimate in sporting competition at the Olympic Games. [FIRST NAME] Murabayashi works in sports-themed new business development at Panasonic.

"Many large screens are installed at the competition venues, but there will always be places from which they are difficult to see. Also, some spectators want to be able to rewind or zoom in on the footage freely. The multi-video streaming system was a major leap forward for the viewing environment as it allowed spectators to use their own devices like smartphones and tablets as secondary screens. This was a new solution designed for the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Knowhow accumulated through various sports and supplied to the Olympic Games

The multi-video streaming system allows contents to be streamed to a special app using Wi-Fi access points inside the venues. Users can watch live video from their choice of camera angle. Replays, slow-motion replays, and zoom features are also available. The streaming service is not just for video; it can also provide audio contents such as commentary. By working to produce interesting streams, we can help spectators get more enjoyment out of the Games. Murabayashi of Panasonic had been boosted by the success of similar services at various events held in Japan.

"This streaming service has been well received at rugby, ice hockey, and marathon events. The service was used at "Beyond Stadium," an event held in Tokyo to support para sports this January. Spectators were pleased that they could get closer to the battles on the ball in the blind soccer competition, where fences can make it difficult for spectators to see. The fact that the service allows for audio streams as well as video has made it a very effective solution for events like the Olympic or Paralympic Games, where spectators can listen to audio commentary over sports they may be watching for the first time."

More innovative initiatives at the Tokyo 2020

The multi-video streaming system was introduced on an experimental basis at some of the competition venues at the PyeongChang 2018, but the possibilities for its effective utilization are huge with alternative angles and audio contents designed to suit the venues and characteristics of different sports. John Paul Giancarlo, an IOC technical supervisor, has high hopes for its usage at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
"This multi-video streaming system is a very interesting concept, and I hope that it will make for a better viewing environment especially with sports where it is difficult to view the whole event at once. For the Tokyo 2020, we are currently discussing how we can use Panasonic's multi-video streaming system within our wholescale competition presentations."

The multi-video streaming system is a solution that can also be used in various fields away from sport – including entertainment, fashion shows, education, and healthcare. Panasonic Information Systems Kenji Kojima told us of his thoughts on future developments.
"This solution has the potential to be developed widely in future. Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee wants see an innovative Olympic Games in 2020. Panasonic too wants to engage in more new initiatives for solutions like this smartphone app. As such, we will be working in collaboration with venture companies and other partners to bring in new technologies and embrace new challenges with greater speed."