The Tokyo Olympic Games: connecting to tomorrow!

Three years from now the Olympic Games will take place in Tokyo. In case you are wondering why there is a picture of a building site above this bog… that will be the Olympic Stadium. I took the picture in June 2017.

Will it be ready, I hear you think? Well, this is Japan, a country where everything runs like clockwork. I am sure it’ll be finished in time. The new stadium is said to cost £1.2 billion but as it is the Olympics the cost are likely to go up a little further.

When Tokyo was awarded the Olympic Games in 2013 the estimated budget was £5.2 billion. In June 2017 they adjusted the budget to £10 billion. The Olympic Committee made it clear that in their bid they didn’t include taxes and security costs. Ooops, just a tiny error. Imagine what would happen if you submitted an incomplete budget to your manager.

The budget isn’t the only problem the Committee is facing. The famous Tokyo fish market has to be relocated, as the site will be used during the Olympics. This has resulted in more costs and angry Edokko (or Tokyians or Tokyoites). There are also concerns about a potential traffic crisis during the Games. But let’s focus on the positive stuff!

Innovation for events

Technology will be the key word for these Olympic Games. In their bid, the Committee promised that these are going to be the “most innovative Games in history”! The objectives to achieve this are threefold:

  • Achieve personal best
  • Unity in diversity
  • Connecting to tomorrow

I like that third objective: connecting to tomorrow. Japan wants to show the rest of the world that they are technological innovators. Just like they did when the Olympics came to town in 1964. Those Games brought the Shinkansen, the bullet train that is always on time. Well, at least it has been on time every time I’ve used it.

So what can we expect in 2020?

Flying cars. I kid you not The Jetsons are coming to town. Who knows whether it will work but I love their ambition. Another idea, and probably more realistic, are self-driving taxis. Robot Taxi is the company working on it and it will be tested in a village, somewhere in Japan, early 2019. I can’t help but have an I Robot image in my head. The long-term goal is to provide the aging population of Japan with self-driving cars and reduce road accidents.

They are also working on facial recognition when fans enter a stadium. Will this be the future of ticketing? Imagine the data event companies or ticketing companies will have access to. According to Newsweek (2017) “businesses can analyse their customers’ faces to help tailor marketing strategies to people of different genders, ages and ethnic backgrounds”.

Hydrogen powered cars and artificial meteors

Another idea is to introduce hydrogen powered vehicles to drive athletes around the city. To be fair, companies in the UK are working on this as well. “Hydrogen is the future as it replaces petrol and diesel”, according to AutoExpress (2017). The UK is investing in this technology with the aim to have 1.6 million hydrogen-fuelled vehicles on the road by 2030. Tokyo might beat them to it though.

Other ideas include electric bicycle sharing schemes, micro mist cooling stations (it does get hot in Tokyo), and an advanced surveillance system. If the latter is successful we’ll see it implemented across the globe pretty quickly, I think.

The last idea I want to mention is this one: an artificial meteor shower. Yes, let that sink in… Remember that scene from the Harry Potter movie where they are in the dining room and candles are floating in the air? Okay, I guess it’ll be slightly different but you get the idea. During the Games multiple ‘disks’ will be floating in the air and create an effect that looks like a meteor shower. They call it the “fireworks of the future”. So far it is estimated to cost £7 million per test launch. But how cool is that?

The cost of organising the Olympics might be extraordinary high but if Tokyo manages to pull it all of it might be a game changer for the event industry. I’m looking forward to connecting to tomorrow!

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