London 2012 expects traffic

It’s not just the streets of London that will be snarled with traffic come the Olympics, as the organisation’s servers are expecting a serious amount of virtual traffic themselves. Speaking at the Futuresource Entertainment Summit in London, Alex Balfour, Head of Digital Strategy for London 2012, quoted numbers that started with 4500 hours of video content and just got bigger.

Some more numbers: Balfour was speaking 406 days and 10 hours before the start of the Olympics, but was detailing a digital strategy that has been in development for nigh on five years. As he himself admitted, the job has been very much akin to hitting a moving target. When he started, in the UK at least broadband had barely overtaken dial-up, 3G was a squalling infant, and social media was something for the geek minority. How times have changed…

Much of his presentation was understandably given over to social media strategies and statistics, but it was the figures a the end that really caught the attention. Vancouver 2010’s website handled 292m visits, but London is already scaling up for 1bn visits and a fairly astonishing 25bn page views. And Balfour’s team is busy putting in place a system that will serve live results across multiple platforms by the time those visitors start to arrive en masse.

There could be some interesting innovations coming too. “There are huge opportunities amongst location-based augmented reality services,” Balfour said, flashing up a picture of a Sony PSP Go annotating a live baseball game at a stadium somewhere. What exactly that will turn into is, as yet, under wraps, but this could be the first event to really tie together the growth of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices with improvements in metadata and video data-logging.

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