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Beijing 2022 promotes key tech on major stage

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-02-23 07:51
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People watch a live broadcast of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on an 8K big screen installed outside a shopping mall in Beijing. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

Technologies that have stood out at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will see accelerated and wider use in China, with 5G, artificial intelligence and robotics all showcasing their big potential in boosting efficiency, experts said on Tuesday.

Peter Liu, vice-president of research at market research firm Gartner, said the Olympic Games and communication technologies have always been closely tied to each other, as every major sport event can help demonstrate the latest telecom advances.

Beijing 2022 has showcased some of the most popular applications of 5G in industries such as media, self-driving vehicles, telemedicine and smart venue management, Liu said.

China Unicom, the official telecommunications service provider for Beijing 2022, built a 5G-enabled intelligent vehicle networking system covering 1 million square meters at Shougang Industrial Park. The system supported a self-driving car to carry the Olympic torch for the first time in the Games' history, and it also helped test the use of four types of unmanned vehicles including unmanned buses, ferries or delivery vehicles.

"The Games also specifically verified the maturity of C-V2X technology and its integration with the Beidou Satellite Navigation System, which has laid a foundation for commercial use and is likely to trigger a big development in the next three to five years. This is also a manifestation of China's leadership in setting 5G-related global standards," Liu said.

C-V2X, or cellular vehicle-to-everything, refers to a technology that allows vehicles to communicate with the environment around them.

Robots have also been widely used at the Games to cook and deliver food, patrol competition venues as security guards and disinfect stadiums. Some athletes have been surprised to find food delivered to their rooms by robots developed by Chinese tech company Segway-Ninebot. After orders are placed, these devices take elevators and navigate their way from restaurants to competitors' rooms.

Segway-Ninebot said the robots use technology that allows them to operate at precise locations in different environments using algorithms to achieve smooth movement. And the use of robots at the Olympic venues will help spur a wider application of the company's products.

Technologies such as AI and 5G have also been widely employed to construct venues. AI giant Megvii used GPS and vision fusion technologies to build a detailed high-precision 3D map of the Bird's Nest and several other Olympic venues.

Such smart augmented reality navigation can provide an immersive virtual-real fusion effect with accurate positioning without delays, Megvii said, adding that the technology is not affected by buildings, ice and snow, for example.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association, said the Games can put cutting-edge technologies in the spotlight and deepen public understanding of such applications, which can fuel their wider use.

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