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Going for Gold in the Age of the Instant Internet

For many, the summer Olympics serve as guide posts in our memories - every time they roll around, we're four years older, but are reminded of unbelievable moments from Olympics of the past: Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10s, the Dream Team and, most recently, Michael Phelps' eight gold medals in 2008.

But we need not look back to ancient Greece - or even the 1970s, for that matter - to appreciate how much our viewing of individual events has evolved over time.

Think back just four years ago: Twitter was in its infancy, Facebook could only be accessed via a browser and the tablet as we know it was a thing of the future. For London 2012, every second of the Olympics experience will be broadcast digitally. Users will be able to watch "whistle to whistle" coverage of their favorite athletes, events and more. That's 2,500 hours worth of swimming, diving, running and jumping available on any device, anywhere, any time.

Since the conclusion of the Beijing games, we've officially entered what we call the age of the "Instant Internet," which comes with it expectation that the content we're looking to consume is completely uncompromised on any device, any app, anywhere. And, with the anticipation that this will be the first billion-viewer Olympics, this expectation will prove to be tested like never before.

--For a behind-the-scenes look at the technology that made the Vancouver Games tick, check out this short video: http://youtu.be/VINct4MyFrQ--

Akamai solutions from Sola Media, Aqua Mobile and Kona Security will be in place to ensure live and on-demand content gets delivered to viewers around the world across all major platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Connected TV and Xbox, among others. And these aren't passive viewers, either. As online formats allow users to access streaming video and data simultaneously, user engagement with major sporting events like this one is going through the roof. According to Canadian broadcaster CTV, the average online viewer of the last competition in Vancouver watched 56 minutes of content per day. How much will that increase this year? That remains to be seen, but we are surely in for an exciting ride.

So, tell us, what's your favorite summer Olympics memory and what events are you looking forward to in 2012? What's your viewing strategy for the London games and how does this differ from years past?

We look forward to reading your comments, and please continue to visit this space throughout the month ahead for some additional Olympics-related content.

Troy Snyder is Vice President of Ecosystem/Executive Producer at Akamai

3 Comments

One of my favorite Olympic Athletes was Carl Lewis at the 1984 Olympics. Being here in LA it was fun to see his gold winning performance first hand. I studied his running motion on VHS to no avail. As a young athlete then, with todays technologies, I may have broken that mystical 5 second 40m barrier.

Our family will be cheering the local Socal swimmers this year as we know first hand the amount of work that goes into being a top athlete.

To early to start the wave?

Nice write-up Troy.
I still remember Amir Khan, 17 years old, on his own at the 2004 Olympics. He won Silver in the Boxing, our youngest medal winner ever.
I'm no fan of the Olympics in general, or Amateur / Olympics style boxing, but that was an event that drew a tonne of interest in UK Olympics because of his back story.
Can't wait to see how this year pans out, especially if the weather in London continues. We're half expecting to see Noah sail past the running track in his ark. If it's that bad, the viewership will be even bigger online as people stay at home/at work in the dry to watch it.

How about some URLs to get the streaming?

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