Alibaba Cloud Intelligence - Philip - Liu - General-Manager - Middle-East and-Africa - cloud-technology - global-events - techxmedia

Why the future looks bright for cloud technology at global events

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Attributed to Phillip Liu, General Manager of the Middle East and Africa, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence

Though companies have been gradually embracing cloud computing for years, 2020 proved emphatically just how vital cloud technology was to survival and the pursuit of new opportunities, especially within the event spaces.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered economies, event organizers quickly discovered that they needed the cloud’s web-based computing services to provide new digital services to customers who couldn’t leave their homes. Customers witnessed a new generation of events with the roll out of hybrid models– that is spurring communities to interact like never before.

According to Flexera’s State of the Cloud Report for 2021, 92% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, while 82% have a hybrid cloud strategy. Despite the acceleration of cloud adoption across the business landscape, most companies are barely scratching the surface of the cloud’s vast potential. According to a PwC survey of C-level leaders in the United States, released in 2021, 53% of companies have yet to reap substantial value from their cloud investments.

As the vaccination drive continues to gather pace across the world, physical events are slowly beginning to reappear, but will hybrid or virtual events rein superior over physical experiences for the future?

The Tokyo Olympics, which recently concluded, set a huge benchmark for the future of digitalized events by offering new models for content delivery platforms through the cloud to drive operational efficiency, greater agility and reach a wider range of audiences. An innovative broadcasting solution brought together by Olympic Broadcasting Service and Alibaba, and operates entirely on the cloud, OBS Cloud, was designed to help transform the media industry for the digital era.

Other areas of revolutionary technological advancements for the Olympics included a multifunctional digital pin for safe and fun social interaction for media professionals working at the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) and Main Press Centre (MPC). Another area of progress includes a cloud-based solution to help onsite staff at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020reduce the risk of getting heat stroke during the summer in Tokyo.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was a transformative moment for athletes and sports fans thanks to cloud-based technology, and this is just the start of the journey.

Going forward, all eyes will be firmly fixed on the Middle East for the next two years as organizer’s gear up for the start of Expo 2020 Dubai and the final preparations for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Before the pandemic, it was predicted that up to 25 million visitors would attend the six-month event with more than 70% of those coming from outside of the UAE. While travel restrictions still remain in place, the need for cloud-based technology seems more important than ever to expand Expo’s audience reach.

While we are still over a year away until the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, the potential for cloud technology, particularly for broadcasting solutions, to transform sports entertainment is immense.  It’s worth mentioning that a series of artificial intelligence (AI) powered solutions unveiled by Alibaba Cloud during Apsara Conference 2020 are set to transform and digitalize the way sports entertainment was traditionally organized, broadcast and consumed. Bringing spectators closer to the events’ center stage will provide a more personalized and interactive engagement, while helping organizers and broadcasters operate more efficiently, effectively and securely. For instance , one of the solutions named Fan Video Hub can bring fans closer to events to collect and filter real-time videos uploaded by fans from all over the world to a variety of social network platforms. Prior to broadcasting social networking platforms onto designated online platforms, or in stadiums, will reshape the way sports entertainment was traditionally consumed.

Implementing critical infrastructure and enhancing broadcasting solutions through the cloud will only maximize the thrill of sporting events.

Humans crave social interactions, therefore the global event landscape will not completely shift over to in-person events, but the stark reality is that nobody really knows when the pandemic will be considered over. With the emergence of a vaccine, many are looking forward to a return to normalcy. Ultimately, people are determining their own comfort levels with risk when it comes to attending an event in person or online.

Many attendees would attend an event in person with additional safety criteria, such as the event being local or small. Planning for a hybrid event allows you to lay the groundwork for a virtual back-up plan while moving forward with the option of attending in person.

When you already have the virtual event components for your hybrid event arranged, it is easier for attendees and planners to pivot between attending in person or online without completely rethinking the entire event.

For events to compel and connect, organizers need to keep up with the pace of change and contribute to its conversation. Technology has the power to accelerate and facilitate, but not alter, the fundamentals of an outstanding seamless experience.

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