By David Gold

Atos London_2012_Technology_Operations_Centre_2_low_resJuly 15 - Atos' team of business technologists, who will ensure the delivery of the results of this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games, have moved into full operational mode here as they gear up to provide what is being billed as the largest and most sophisticated sports IT project of all time.

It is their work which will ensure the results of each event during the Games are known instantly at all of the 94 Olympic and Paralympic venues this summer.

And with nearly 15,000 athletes competing at the Games, the scale of Atos' task becomes clear, as well as the pivotal role they will play in ensuring a smooth Olympics and Paralympics.

Atos has been working with London 2012 and recently completed the final technical rehearsal of the IT systems for the Games.

It moved into full operational Games mode, 24 hours a day on Friday (July 13).

The main hub that will ensure the timely dissemination of results was opened in August last year, and will be manned by 155 staff.

Worldwide Olympic IT partner Atos runs a complex operation which involves some 900 servers, 1,000 network and security devices and more than 10,000 computers.

With such a large and technically advanced operation, Patrick Adiba, the man in charge of the Olympics and other major events at Atos, could be forgiven for fearing it could be the target of a cyber attack, however, he is confident that this will not be the case.

"It is really minimal [the risk]," he insisted.

"A lot of people focus on that but I do not know why.

"It is just one of a number of [risks]."

Indeed, Adiba insists his "staff getting food poisoning" is a greater concern and no avenue has been left unexplored with over 700 pre-defined scenarios, from power failures to floods, having been planned, as well as a simulation of three of the busiest days of London 2012.

And if something was to happen to their main technology centre, there is a back up venue, the location of which is a closely guarded secret.

Also helping Adiba and his team has been the series of London 2012 test events, giving Atos the chance to test out their systems in competition, as well as two technical rehearsals with Olympic organisers.

Atos has been involved in every Olympics and Paralympics since Barcelona 1992, and have been the IT partner for the Games since 2001.

Atos London_2012_Technology_Operations_Centre_1
At the heart of the planning has been the presumption that things will go wrong, and that the key to running a successful operation is being able to foresee problems and act when they arise, as Michèle Hyron, Atos' chief integrator for London 2012, told insidethegames.

She also believes the company has been faced a harder challenge this time around than in Beijing four years ago because they have less time to work with the Olympic and Paralympic venues.

For example, they will be unable to use the tennis courts at Wimbledon until after the conclusion of the Grand Slam event there this week.

"One of the key differences between Beijing is that the access to these venues to start preparations," she explained.

"It's not a problem because we plan for it.

"Of course it is harder, yes, but it is okay if you plan for it."

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