Wednesday Wi-Fi Whispers: Olympic Road Race was a Missed Wi-Fi Opportunity

We’re still scratching our heads here at Mobile Sports Report over the apparent lack of infrastructure planning that led to cellular congestion problems during last weekend’s Olympic men’s cycling road race. Our big, unanswered question: Why didn’t organizers put a temporary Wi-Fi network in place to handle the totally expected wireless traffic?

It can’t be a surprise anymore to anyone that people in general and sports fans in particular are going to be big users of mobile devices at events. Cycling races, especially loop-course races like the Olympics, are probably going to be at the top tier when it comes to mobile data usage since people typically sit in one place along the course to see the riders as they come by every lap — and then spend a lot of time waiting in between.

These days, that waiting is filled with mobile device use and it was a huge miss to not turn the Olympic race into some kind of Wi-Fi endeavor that could have benefitted multiple parties, including the fans. That organizers didn’t do something like install one of the mobile Wi-Fi networks our friends at Xirrus set up during the Tour de France seems to be a huge error, like Michael Phelps forgetting how to finish a butterfly race.

Why didn’t Cisco, which issued several press releases before the Olympics touting its role in helping with the IT infrastructure of the games, push to make the road race a commercial for its sports services? It’s not my marketing budget to spend, but I think Cisco could have done a really cool job by putting in a Wi-Fi network, having digital displays all around the course so that fans could see the action away from where they were sitting, and maybe have an app (like the cool Tour Tracker app) that people could download to stay abreast of the action on their phones and tablets.

Instead — we are left with a lot of finger-pointing, companies saying it wasn’t their problem, blah, blah, blah. The fact that a big crowd was going to be at the race and that it would want to use mobile devices wasn’t a last-minute secret. Big event organizers everywhere should learn from the Olympic failure and think ahead to see if there isn’t a Wi-Fi opportunity that can produce a positive outcome for all involved.

Ruckus Gets London Wi-Fi Gig

More Wi-Fi London news — the folks at Ruckus have won a contract to supply outdoor Wi-Fi antennas in London for operator Telefonika U.K.’s O2, which according to Light Reading have already been appearing on lampposts. Though it’s not a stadium win, it is another vote for Ruckus’ architecture.

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