Olympics showcasing innovative social interactions in the cloud

The Olympic Winter Games in Beijing have seen the debut of an innovative cloud-based solution designed to facilitate social interactions in the face of COVID restrictions.

 

Cloud ME, developed by Alibaba Cloud, is based on real-time communication (RTC) technology and enables real-time conversations via life-sized, true-to-life projections.

 

By stepping into a pop-up studio in a Cloud ME booth, participants can have their full-body image projected realistically into a remote booth in which their projected personas are displayed. The simulated meetings can also be opened up to a wider audience across unlimited locations.

 

“We hope to unite athletes and fans around the world with our cloud technology, and allow the Olympic spirit to inspire us all as we celebrate the joy of sports,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group.

 

 

Pictured: On the left Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group, in the Shanghai Cloud ME studio 

 

“We are making history here in Beijing,” said Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). “For the first time ever, all core systems needed to run these Olympic Winter Games are hosted on Alibaba Cloud.”

 

The Cloud ME booth does not require additional onsite IT infrastructure, or optimised internet bandwidth, to execute recording and transmission thanks to the power of cloud computing. The RTC solution is supported by Alibaba’s global network coverage.

 

“The real-time communication solution powered by cloud technology plays a critical role in helping the world to connect effectively,” said Lijuan Chen, General Manager of Product and Solution, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “Leveraging our global cloud network and self-proprietary algorithms, we aim to bring the benefits of real-time communication to various day-to-day scenarios including online education, interactive entertainment, video conferencing and other enterprise services.”

 

Alibaba’s Cloud ME booths are available both within the closed-loop management system at Beijing 2022, as well as outside for participants of the Olympic Winter Games so that they can experience interesting social interactions in a mixed reality. The first Cloud ME event for Beijing 2022 took place to facilitate a remote meeting between Zhang and Bach on February 6, who were unable to meet physically due to COVID-19 restrictions in China.

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Book of the Month*

The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck

By Dr Christian Busch
Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

Chance encounters, or strokes of fortune, feature in countless stories of business success. This book looks beneath the surface, reveals and teaches the mindset that can transform pure chance into opportunity. The author is director of the Global Economy Program at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, and a lecturer at the London School of Economics.

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. To other people it looks like “good luck”, but it is more the ability to recognise and seize an opportunity, rather than have good fortune thrust upon one. Finding a wallet stuffed with money on the conference room floor is good luck, whereas holding it up and asking if anyone has lost their wallet might be the beginning of a valuable friendship – that would be serendipity.

The author says “This is a book about the interactions of coincidence, human ambition and imagination”. In the above example: finding the wallet is the coincidence; ambition is the desire to make something of the discovery; add imagination and you open up a whole menu of possibilities: from spending spree to earning a reputation for honesty – or even making a wealthy friend.

Business is typically forged on human ambition and imagination, but early success often feeds an appetite for control – and “control freaks” can be blind to the opportunities thrown up by the unexpected. They only see chance events as distractions. If plans go awry, they may blame the failure on “bad luck” rather than admit their own inflexible attitude.

The author himself admits to being “a German who is used to planning” and prone to feel anxious when something unexpected happens. That makes him an ideal teacher, because he has worked hard to discover and analyse the mindset that enables one to “connect the dots” and cultivate serendipity. He presents a goldmine of examples from science, business and life where an apparent mishap or failure lead to a breakthrough.

Indeed, studies suggest that around 50% of major scientific breakthroughs emerge as the result of accidents or coincidences. A well-known example is Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, launching the whole field of antibiotics. Other examples include X-rays, nylon, microwave ovens, rubber, Velcro, Viagra and Post-it Notes – where would we be without these!

The book goes beyond the ability to recognise and respond to opportunities in chaos, but the subtitle – The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck – is actually a bit misleading. True, he does show ways to develop better fortune, but it would be better to call it “inviting” or “encouraging” good luck. For example, he suggests better ways to start a conversation with a stranger – ways that will make it more likely to lead to chance connections or shared interests.

The publishers may have chosen the word “creating” to make the book appeal to the human desire to control – for control freaks are exactly the readership that would benefit the most from this book’s wisdom and practical advice.

For the rest of us, it offers a great way to rediscover the sense of play that is so important in life – and too often lost in business.

 

“Following the success of The Serendipity Mindset hardback, a paperback edition has also now been launched under the title “Connect the Dots”.

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