Crunch time for IT as Beijing opens the Games

It is crunch time for IT staff at the Beijing Olympics, with opening ceremony taking place at lunchtime today, UK time.

It is crunch time for IT staff at the Beijing Olympics, with opening ceremony taking place at lunchtime today, UK time.

It represents the culmination of four years of preparation for the IT professionals involved in making the event happen.

The IT infrastructure of the games has been up and running 24 hours a day for three weeks, but chief integrator Jeremy Hore admitted last week he was feeling nervous about the first few days of the event.

"There are millions of things that could keep you awake at night," he said. "There is no one big problem, but the technology is very complex, anything can happen and there are lots of small things."

Atos Origin leads a nine-strong supplier consortium which has designed and managed all the Olympics IT systems. The 2008 games are technologically advanced, with a network of sensors and staff entering results as winners are announced. This is relayed to media around the Olympics sites - and all over the world - in real-time by the commentator information system.

The opening ceremony - happening at 8pm Beijing time - is being shown on 24 giant screens across the city, but residents who do not have tickets have been asked to stay at home to watch the show, to ease congestion on the roads.

The Chinese government has spent more than £20bn on the Games, but has not been able to clear the city of its notorious smog.

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