Interview of Bruno Marie-Rose
Chief Information and Technology Officer for Paris 2024 Bruno Marie-Rose explains how digital innovation will be key to the success of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In terms of technology and connectivity, Paris 2024 poses a considerable challenge. 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes are expected to compete at more than 200 venues, from the Stade de France to the surfing competitions in Tahiti.
More than 12,000 connected screens, 8,000 Wi-Fi terminals, 13,000 computers and 400,000 km of optical fiber will be used, 90% of which are already in place. 20,000 journalists will be covering the competitions, and also watching eagerly will be several billion TV viewers and 13 million spectators in the stadiums. Like never before, technology will be fundamental for the success of the Games and leading the challenge within the Organizing Committee is the CITO, Bruno Marie-Rose, who took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Can you explain why digital technology will be essential for the smooth running of Paris 2024?
Bruno Marie-Rose: “At our Olympic venues, giant screens will be set up along with timing equipment and all the systems linked to the competitions themselves. The live footage will also be filmed and, in collaboration with Orange, broadcast to viewers around the world who want to follow all the excitement of the various competitions. Another important aspect is specific to event management, such as our 100% digital ticketing, which is a first in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. »
You are a former athlete yourself; how does this experience help you?
B.M-R.: “I’ve had the chance to experience the Olympic Games from the athlete side. As a three-time Olympian, Olympic medalist and world record holder in the 4x100 meter relay, I know what is needed for the athletes to compete at their best. My career in the world of IT and technology led me to join the Organizing Committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2018, as Chief Information and Technology Officer. It’s a huge collective challenge, and to achieve it, I’m drawing on my sporting experience. Like a coach, I rely on everyone’s individual performance to ensure collective success.”
What do you think new technologies offer the various stakeholders of Paris 2024?
B.M-R. : “Above all, our mission is to allow athletes to perform at their peak during the four weeks of Olympic and Paralympic competitions. Technology must serve this purpose, for example, by ensuring a flawless results system to award gold, silver and bronze medals, the iconic symbols of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in each event. I also keep in mind that technology will help make Paris 2024 a unique event.”
What additional dimension are you bringing to Paris 2024?
B.M-R. : “We want technology to be central to Paris 2024’s ambition. This includes involving as many people as possible in the event through digital campaigns such as Terre de Jeux 2024 or the Paris 2024 Club. We’re also focused on responsible digital technology, optimizing resources to provide the right technology to the right person at the right time. We will also work on sustainability and leaving a legacy so everything we put in place is reused to enhance regions and benefit sports as a whole.”
Our mission is to allow athletes to perform at their peak during the four weeks of Olympic and Paralympic competitions. Technology must serve this purpose.
You want to promote “useful” innovations. What do you mean?
B.M-R.: “We want technology to have a direct benefit on the event. One example of “useful” innovation is private 5G, which would allow us to broadcast mobile TV images, where wired cabling would be too unwieldy. We’re also working on real-time broadcasting of press photos and OTT (over the top) broadcasting to stream images from each competition venue. These would be major firsts for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. On the organizational side, we are also going to switch from old walkie-talkie technologies to digital push to talk. And we are setting up 3D imaging to help train volunteers for the Paris 2024 Games.”
What do you think the standout tech for Paris 2024 will be?
B.M-R.: “For Paris 2024, we want to massively enhance the spectator experience. They will be able to ‘communicate’ with the athletes on the field and enjoy more immersive competition experiences. We’re also optimizing audio quality in the stadiums and working with Orange to open the Paris 2024 Games to as many people as possible. The idea is, for example, to include everyone who can’t attend the Mass Participation Marathon in virtual races. We also want to improve accessibility for people with visual or hearing impairments, using innovative solutions from promising start-ups.”
The opening ceremony is highly anticipated – will this also be a major technological challenge?
B.M-R.: “Yes, absolutely. Imagine the athletes parading down a 6-km stretch of the Seine in boats. To provide immersive video to spectators around the world, we’ll have to position cameras on each boat and transmit the footage using Orange’s private 5G. There’s also the issue of mobile coverage, with a huge number of spectators gathered along the quays who will want to share the event live and simultaneously around the world, which is something we’re working with all mobile operators on.”
How will Orange’s expertise and innovation help you make Paris 2024 a success?
B.M-R. : “Orange will help us go a step further, with its own initiatives that anticipate technological innovations well beyond Paris 2024. Upstream, Orange has the experience to detect and select new technologies developed by start-ups. This helped us to set up a POC (proof of concept) for the connected race with the Stade de Marseille. We’re now aiming to see if this innovation can be ready for the Paris 2024 Games. It’s therefore essential to work with teams who have on-the-ground experience in events as their expertise will help us achieve great things at Paris 2024.”