Rio 2016 Olympics And The Internet of Things (IoT)


Despite Brazil’s worst recession in several decades and low budget for the Rio 2016 Olympics, the organizers did a fabulous job in kicking off the games with a highly visual and musical portrayal of Brazilian history and culture. The opening ceremony also drew attention to the growing problem of global warming. Unlike expectation of an ultra high-tech gadgetry show in year 2016, what we saw was a clever use of projectors that gave breathtaking experiences. The creative team did an amazing job using 3D projector on the floor which simulated cities of Brazil where artists ran on the roof of these buildings.

rio3However the Olympics is not just about the Opening Ceremony and as a whole is full of high tech happenings. In fact, this is the first Olympics that would be truly connected and we will remember it as the Internet of Things (IoT) Olympics. Below are some of the ways in which IoT is being implemented at the 2016 Rio Olympics.




ciscosp2The first step in providing an Internet of Things (IoT) experience is the ‘Internet’ itself! Cisco is enabling this as a sponsor of the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics and is providing complete network infrastructure services including wired and wireless internet service. They’re trying to connect 10,500 athletes from more than 200 countries with the rest of the world. Cisco will handle all the Internet, LAN and WLAN services for the staff, athletes and more than 25,000 media on hand. The company will be running its servers and networking switches in the back-end and will also be responsible for recording all data collected from the games themselves – from the track, courts, pools etc. But Cisco’s play goes beyond Olympics and they have partnered with city authorities to transform all of Rio de Janeiro into a more connected city. But for now, Cisco has helped make Rio Olympics ready for IoT.

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, IoT can be witnessed in a whole range of new wearable internet connected devices to analytics of the data generated by these devices. Below are some of the IoT products and initiatives at work at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Fitness Wearables

Over the past few years, we have seen huge emergence of IoT wearables specially in the fitness arena. Fitbit is perhaps the most common one and is suitable for everyone but there are companies that have exclusively targeted athletes and in some cases elite athletes. Below are some of the prominently active ones at Rio Olympics.

1. Vert


VERT Wearable Jump Monitor with Jump Rate is a device worn near the waist of an athlete either by the VERTclip or integrated within an article of clothing such as the VERTbelt for practice and games. VERT counts on information and analytics from jumps for injury prevention.volley1It can measure your vertical for performance motivation and improvement. You can see results in real-time on the VERT Jump Monitor and on your smart device. The US Women’s National Volleyball team trained for the Olympics using VERT and their head coach Karch Kiraly said:

“VERT allows us to track our training loads in a way that’s never been done before. It’s already helping us train SMARTER and better preserve our most precious resource: our ATHLETES and their HEALTH.”

2. Solos

solos1Solos is an ultra-lightweight performance smart eyewear streamlined for aerodynamics, style and comfort and allows cyclists to easily access real-time performance data from their smartphone or wearable sensors on its high-resolution heads-up display with an image three times larger than premium bike computers. The USA Cycling team have used the Solos in preparing for the Olympics.  According to Dr. Ernesto Martinez,  Director of Solos :

“The key insights included keeping it lightweight, streamlined, intuitive to operate and keeping the rider’s eyes on the road. These design pillars are evident throughout Solos, giving riders exactly what they need and nothing that they don’t.”

Jim Miller, USA Cycling Vice President of Athletics said:

“This technology is especially vital with our women’s Olympic pursuit team in their Rio preparations and would be perfect for any road training program.”


WhoopWHOOP is a wrist wearable device that continuously measures every athlete’s strain and recovery, which helps balance training plans, prevent injury, and increase team performance. WHOOP announced recently that 20 Olympic athletes, including front-runners like swimmer Ryan Lochte, wrestler Adeline Gray, and beach volleyball team Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb, are training on the sports performance platform in preparation for Rio. WHOOP’s proprietary algorithms process data to provide athletes an Intensity score, which informs them about the level of strain on their body and what it means.
 According to Will Ahmed, Founder and CEO of WHOOP.
“For the first time, every athlete will be able to get actionable data, measure strain and recovery and optimize travel and sleep – all so that they can reduce injury and improve performance.”
Five-time Olympic gold medalist and current world record holder, Ryan Lochte praised the device.
“Over my many years on the national team I’ve learned that training for the Olympics is more than just long hours in the pool and weight room,” said  “Much of your success in the pool comes from what you do outside of it. WHOOP has given me insight into my sleep and recovery which ultimately helped push my training to new levels.”

4. Halo Sport


Halo Sport, developed by Halo Neuroscience stimulates the brain’s motor cortex during training. This stimulation, called “Neuropriming,” puts the brain into a temporary state of “hyperplasticity,” or hyperlearning. As a result, training becomes more productive for the brain to build optimized neuronal circuity for athletic movement—similar to how proper nutrition makes training more productive for the body to build muscle. The company recently announced that several Olympic athletes are training with Halo Sport, to prepare for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Daniel Chao, CEO and co-founder of Halo Neuroscience is excited:

“We’re thrilled to be working with Summer Olympics athletes who understand and believe in Halo Sport and, more importantly, are getting better results from their training,” said  “Each athlete brings a unique background and training regimen to Rio this summer, and the training we’re doing continues to build on the work we’ve done with athletes from the Winter Olympics, military, NFL, NBA, and MLB.”

Hafsatu Kamara, Olympic sprinter for Sierra Leone, reported that using Halo Sport has increased her strength and power. “During resistance training, I usually do weighted hip thrusts at 100 kg,” she said. “After using Halo Sport, I can now train at 120 kg and I feel like my training is pushing me into top form.”

5. Hykso

hykso1Hysko is a wearable device that sits under boxing gloves and its sensors use 2 independent accelerometers, High G F1 grade and Medium G accelerometers and a gyroscope to do full 3D motion tracking at a rate of 1000 times per second to fully categorize the acceleration, velocity and position of each punch at each moment.

Hysko’s motion tracking algorithm uses 3 sub-algorithms developed specifically with the punching motion in mind. The punch recognition and detection algorithms specifically tune them for boxing at all levels.

Hysko is being used by the Canadian Olympics Boxing team to gain a unique competitive advantage over boxing’s powerhouse countries. Coach David Trepanier first began leveraging Hykso’s technology in August of 2015 with a small number of his elite fighters, including the recent Pan American Game’s champion, Caroline Veyre. Primarily, he has been using Hykso to monitor all of the punches thrown by his athlete’s during sparring sessions so that he can provide them with detailed, tactical feedback in-between rounds. According to Trepanier:

“Hykso takes it to a whole new level as they accurately identify the type of each punch that is thrown.”

6. Samsung VR

samsungvrPokemon Go has set the gaming world on fire and we are just seeing the emergence and possibilities of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies that can also revolutionize the world of sport. As per Samsung,  the U.S. Olympic cycling team is now using specially designed AR glasses that project a tiny image onto the lenses, giving cyclists a heads-up view of real-time information about their speed, power, distance, cadence and heart rate — beamed directly from their bikes.

Gwen Jorgensen, the world triathlon series champion, who has been preparing for the course in Rio by using a Samsung Gear VR headset to learn every bump and turn along the cycling route in Rio said:

“Wherever I am traveling in the world,” Jorgensen told Popular Science, “I can put on the goggles and look at this course — look left, look behind me, look right — and see every little nuance.”

VCloud News didn’t find any evidence of Microsoft’s Hololens at the Rio Olympics. If you are aware of use cases of the Hololens at the Rio games, please send us or reply in the comments section. We do know Microsoft HoloLens is being used in another type of Olympics – the ‘Olympics of architecture’ to revamp an old Detroit plant.

7. Visa NFC Ring

XXXX on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in New York. (Charles Sykes/AP Images for VISA)

Athletes need to be able to spend while at the Olympics and Visa Inc recently introduced an innovation for use at the Rio 2016 Games – the first payment wearable ring backed by a Visa account. The Visa payment ring will be given to all Team Visa athletes in Rio, a group of 45 Olympic hopefuls from around the world. The Visa payment ring is NFC-enabled, allowing Team Visa athletes to make purchases by simply tapping their ring at any NFC-capable payment terminal.

Big Data Analytics


The wearables above and other fitness devices have in-built analytics driven by algorithms that help athletes excel in their sport. However, that’s not enough and there is a need to collect and aggregate the data from many sensors and devices on to an enterprise analytics platform. SAP in particular has been very active in this area.

SAP2Olympic sailing is a very complex sport where the athletes not only match wits against their human competition, but are constantly dealing with a mercurial combination of wind, current, and tide. And while sailing requires considerable strategy, the tactics used during a race are typically lost on those watching from shore. The Sailing Team Germany (STG) has partnered with and is leveraging SAP’s modern analytics to simplify the sport for both sailors and spectators alike. With this analytics tool, STG can gather data from various sources during a race and store it on the SAP HANA Cloud platform for in-depth analysis. This information includes GPS data from the different boats and course markers, as well as wind data that is provided four times a second by ultrasonic sensors. Combining this data with graphical overlays provides STG with a bird’s-eye view of an entire race in 2D and 3D.

“Sailing is all about challenging complexity,” says Marcus Baur, STG’s Head of Technology. “And we’re trying to make things simpler with better technology.”

The Rio 2016 Olympics is just the beginning of the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in world class athletics. In 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we will see IoT take the games to another level – AR, VR, wearable technologies and analytics will evolve and get stronger and engrained in athletics training more widely to deliver overall higher sports performance.

More Wearable Devices especially if you are going to or in college. Check out these awesome gadgets that we have selected for you and why they are your best companion in college!

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One comment

  • Really great information on IoT. I use Fitbit and it has been very useful. I can only imagine how great IoT is for athletes. Thank you for a great article.

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