RIO OLYMPICS GO TECH

They may have a green pool (!) but the Rio 2016 organisers have certainly upped their tech game – this week [retail bytes] takes a look at the first ‘social’ Olympic Games and we perfect our tuck dives…

Spread the love: Our office squad is living and breathing Olympic sports, following @TeamGB, and we’ve become instant experts on diving and gymnastics. We’re watching on desktops, but checking details and vocab on mobiles. London in 2012 was the first ‘social’ Olympics, as fans were able to connect for the first time and share the ups and downs of the contests. But Rio 2016 is the first ‘mobile social’, with over 85% of viewers using mobiles as a second screen to check details or multitask, even sometimes to simultaneously view a second sport. Rio is also more intimate than the London Olympics were, as so many more of the athletes are sharing their experiences on Instagram and Snapchat, while the fans are getting creative tweeting their suggestions on the reasons for increasingly green diving pool or the rapidly shrinking diving trunks of Tom Daley. So far more than 1.8 million posts on Instagram have used the #Rio2016 hashtag, and there have been thousands of video clips and live streams on Facebook. TV-cum-mobile is the new winning combo, as the large screen provides the visual feast but small screen is for sharing the love.

Dive right in!: Since not many fans understand the intricacies of synchronised diving, the Rio organisers have created a mobile game called Diving Champions. Fun to play, with a cheerful Brazilian soundtrack, it’s shed some light on the different types of dives and has kept us busy for hours perfecting our “pike”, “tuck” and “straight” dives. In-app options allow you to select your diving avatar (from a Marilyn Monroe lookalike to Six-Pack-Sid) but this part was paid for so revenue generation for the app was guaranteed. Learn-and-spend is a better way for the Olympics to generate funding and certainly more imaginative than selling t-shirts! Nice. Available for iPhoneand Android.

There’s an app for that: The safety and protection of the Olympic athletes is a top priority in Rio, and SayVU has been selected as the safety app for mobile phones. SayVU enables sportsmen and women to send a distress signal to an emergency hotline even if his or her phone is locked, and without having to access the application. The message can be sent in a number of ways; you can shake the device, tap the camera button, or just speak into the phone. As Rio is considered a high-risk location, this Artificial Intelligence-based tool will add just that small element of safety for the 10,000 athletes. Once proven in Rio, the app will make its way to other capitals, helping to protect us all in this new, more unpredictable world.

Have you got the time?: You can’t live just on adrenaline, so the UK athletes at the Rio Games got a boost from Visa in the form of a new NFC payment band, allowing them to pay for food and drink at 4,000 enabled selling spots. The bands have been developed in partnership with Barclaycard, and they use a bPay microchip with an embedded NFC antenna. It’s usable in 4,000 points that can accept the payment for food, drinks, souvenirs and even tickets to music events. What’s less user-friendly is Swatch’s Bellamy, a model they’ve developed that’s similar to a regular Swatch watch, but with contactless payment enabled. One problem – the watch is NOT connected to the Internet. And the point was…?

Ever wondered if you could be an Olympian?: Here’s your chance to measure yourself against the best and fastest athletes. How does your height, weight and body mass match against our super-humans? Mine matches a canoeist called Angela Hannah, who was on a late call-up for Rio but made the team, so I guess there’s still a chance for me for 2020! Go on, check your body measurements could you be the next Olympian?