Alibaba Cloud unveils venue tech innovations

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing division of Chinese technology giant Alibaba, has revealed details of a number of new AI-powered solutions it hopes will revolutionise the way sports events are organised and consumed.

Alibaba Cloud’s new Event Simulation Services (ESS), which will run on cloud and be powered by elastic compute, will allow event organisers to virtually plan the layout of indoor venues and optimise the position of equipment and facilities, eliminating the need to move or commission pieces of physical kit.

The ESS will also enable broadcasters to simulate and test different camera positions before installing camera tracks to offer audiences the best point of view. The solution will also give organisers insights for post-event analysis.

It is hoped the ESS will allow organisers to better manage their time during large-scale events where crowd management and access control can be lengthier and cumbersome to coordinate.

Alibaba Cloud has also developed a Digital Badge System, which can be used to embed access control and essential event information with digital accreditation. The system negates the need to print paper tickets, reducing the risk of access pass counterfeiting.

Digital badge users can be issued with information such as maps, event times and organiser contact details within seconds. Card holders can also receive card expiration notices and other real-time notifications, while an option to embed health advisory information will also be included in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks.

For broadcasters and journalists attending events, Alibaba Cloud has launched Press Conference on Cloud, which facilitates virtual media briefings using proven live and on-demand streaming technologies.

The company has also launched Fan Video Hub to enhance the viewing experience for supporters watching from home. The AI-powered technology can act as an efficient aggregator, which is able to collect and filter real-time videos uploaded from around the world to social media before broadcasting them onto designated online platforms or inside venues.

Selina Yuan, president of international business for Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said: “As a global leading cloud service provider, we are excited to see our mature technology innovations to be used to support the digital transformation of some of the largest international sports events.

“For example, with Alibaba Cloud’s trusted infrastructure and services, we are able to work with stadiums and event managers to create even more thrilling and immersive experiences for fans, wherever they’re based. More importantly, health and safety has to be front of mind at all venues and events, and our solutions help event organisers deliver on their post-pandemic responsibilities through reduced and unnecessary travel. We want to maximise the thrill of sporting achievements, while enabling event organisers to work safely and even more efficiently with fans and global broadcasters.”

Alibaba Cloud unveiled the new solutions during this week’s Apsara Conference.

Alibaba Cloud is the official cloud services partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In September 2018, together with Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), it launched OBS cloud, which is designed to transform the process for bringing the Olympics to viewers.

Last year, Alibaba and Intel, another top-tier partner of the IOC, agreed a strategic memorandum of understanding designed to drive innovations at the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics and the 2022 winter Games in Beijing.

Alibaba and Intel will work closely on technology solutions in a variety of areas, including 3D Athlete Tracking in Tokyo; and 360 8K virtual reality (VR), 3D digital twinning and cloud broadcasting for both Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022.

Image: Alibaba Group