Amid the most extraordinary edition of the Olympics possibly starting this weekend, technology could provide some much-needed encouragement for everyone.

While technology has been the indispensable tool used to keep Olympians safe in the prelude to the event, some people may also have attributed that same technology to the creation of divisions among the Japanese people and the organizers of the event.

Notwithstanding all the differences that must now be put aside when (or if) Tokyo Olympics 2020 is officially launched, everyone can take heart in some of the rah-rah technologies that may rebuild fragile bonds and provide emotional and social support among every stakeholder and sports fan worldwide.

Technology #1 involves a cloud-based gadget that reduces the need for too much verbal social interaction among media professionals covering the event but still facilitating the exchange of contact information. Technology #2 is a social-media fan-support digital flag that reflects the level of worldwide encouragement offered throughout the two-week event.

Cloud Pin #22, meet Cloud Pin #201

Broadcasting and media professionals at the Games can choose to wear the Alibaba Cloud Pin as a badge or as a lanyard adornment.

The digital wearable is designed to enable media professionals working at the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) and Main Press Centre (MPC) to engage with each other and exchange social media contact information in a safe and interactive manner.

Serving as a multifunctional digital name tag, the pin enables users to meet and greet each other, adding people to their ‘friends’ list, and exchanging daily activity updates such as step counts and the number of friends made during the day. This can be done when media people tap their pins at arm’s length, bearing in mind social distancing measures.

The digital pins also include specific designs of each of the 33 sports on the Tokyo 2020 Programme, all of which can be unlocked through a list of errands such as making new friends. To activate the pin, users simply download a Cloud Pin application and pair it with the wearable device via its Bluetooth function.

According to Christopher Carroll, Director of Digital Engagement and Marketing, IBC: “Today more than ever we look to engage people around the world through our digital ecosystem and connect them with the spirit of Tokyo 2020. We are excited to be partnering with Alibaba to support us in our digital transformation journey and to help us build engagement ahead of the Olympic Games.”

As the official Cloud Services partner of the IOC, Alibaba Cloud has been providing cloud computing infrastructure and services for the digitalization duties in the Olympic Games. Its group Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tung said: “With this unprecedented Olympic Games, we want to use our technology to add new exciting elements to the Olympic pin tradition at the IBC and MPC while connecting media professionals and enabling them to maintain social interactions with safe distancing.”

The cloud pin serves as multifunction digital name tag for safe and fun social interaction at the Olympics

ONE Flag to unite the world’s fans

The same group responsible for the Cloud Pin also recently launched a digital initiative to rally fans and supporters: ONE FLAG by AliExpress.

The global initiative is designed to unite fans and athletes virtually during the event. To participate, fans and supporters worldwide can visit the ONE FLAG website and upload a photo of themselves cheering for the teams. Each submitted photo will generate a digital thread on the website that contributes to the composition of a virtual flag to signify the spirit of being “stronger together.”

Participating fans will also receive a virtual certificate to share on social media. The digital flag symbolizes resilience and hope, and to add to the ‘live’ feel of its creation through human goodwill, the digital flag will be updated in real-time on the website.

Said Timo Lumme, Managing Director (Television and Marketing Services), International Olympic Committee: “As we look to engage our fans around the world, we’re delighted to see AliExpress launch a digital experience to cheer for athletes and build excitement ahead of the Olympic Games.”

AliExpress’ Head of Marketing, Christina Lu, said: “In many ways, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a completely new experience for athletes and fans due to the pandemic. With fans unable to cheer from the sidelines during these unprecedented times, our ONE FLAG initiative fosters togetherness among the millions of people who will be watching the Olympic Games at home this year to show support to the Olympic Games and athletes.”

Among the first athletes to participate in the ONE FLAG initiative is Yuto Horigome, a Japanese skateboarder who is currently ranked second on the World Skateboarding Rankings.