02 Aug 2012
London 2012 is generating huge amounts of data which is being captured and processed in more sophisticated ways than ever before. But despite the capabilities of modern data capture, it’s hard to find examples of data being transformed into something truly creative, interesting and engaging, beyond simply being informative.
This is the first Olympics where live video and results feeds have been made available so that we can access every moment of the games as they happen. A notification is sent each time a point is scored, a quarter is finished or a foul is made so during 300 events with 10,500 athletes, an overwhelming amount of data is being received, stored and reported on every day.
Live data is being fed to us predominantly as stats feeds via broadcasters and a flood of apps dedicated to covering results, schedules and info on particular athletes or sports.
It’s also reaching us in the form of social content, with sites aggregating social activity as it happens in real time, such as LOCOG’s hub, or more creative executions like Emoto2012, which captures information around Olympic tweets and then goes a step further to analyse the tone of the tweets and use that to create a mood-based heat chart.
British Airways has is also using treats to create data visualisations in the form of a symphony that maps Olympic buzz throughout the day
We’ve also seen a rise in infographics and data journalism. While these add a creative dimension to bare facts, their static nature limits them from transforming the information into something really expressive, interactive and engaging.
There are many more opportunities for data usage that could have been explored for London 2012. TFL for example were looking at a plan to track mobile data within the underground in order to monitor the flow of people through stations, which could have been a great tool to help them respond to crowd surges as they happened.
There are some good examples of brands doing interesting things with data down at the Olympic Village. They are turning user-generated content – in the form of movement and interactions – into fun and engaging brand experiences. This shows how data can be brought to life, from being a simple action to part of a wider story.
The Coca-Cola Beatbox is an interactive structure installed at the Olympic Village that turns fans’ movements into the sounds of sports such as an arrow shooting or a ball being hit. Each sound then acts as a beat and is woven into a music track to be shared on Coke’s social sites. They create a unique experience using data in the form of movement, and build a story around Coke, the Olympics, and a user’s experience of the two.
BP has created a similar concept in the form of a motion sensor game to promote their Target Neutral campaign. Again using interactions from fans, the game captures movement and uses it to offset the carbon emissions each user has generated in getting to the Olympic Village.
These two interactive uses of live data suggest some really interesting possibilities for how Olympic data might be integrated into an engaging experience for fans and viewers. Now that the data is accessible and available to anyone that wants it, the door is wide open for some new and interesting uses for it which we look forward to seeing at Rio 2016.