London 2012 Olympics IT progessing well, says chief integrator

Michele Heyron has quite a job on her hands. The chief integrator for the London 2012 Olympics is leading the team with responsibility for the event's technology, and as such is embarking on one of the world's biggest IT projects.

Michele Hyron has quite a job on her hands. The chief integrator for the London 2012 Olympics is leading the team with responsibility for the event's technology, and as such is embarking on one of the world's biggest IT projects.

The 16-strong Atos Origin team was formed in November last year, and is working closely with other suppliers and the technology team at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG).

Hyron has worked on Olympic Games IT since 1999, when Atos Origin first won the contract, and says she is comfortable with the four-year process. Throughout 2009, the team will be working on designing and building the IT systems needed to stage the event. Atos Origin needs to coordinate and oversee the work, getting everything in place before the extensive testing phase begins in 2010.

And while the UK is rocked by thousands of job losses and the news that we will be hit harder by the recession than most of the world, it is business as usual for the Olympics IT teams, according to Hyron.

"The recession won't affect the project," she says. "We are always aiming to be more efficient, and the budget is always quite constrained."

Hyron has worked in a variety of roles to learn skills needed to lead the technology team. "I went to Athens as an integration manager, and Beijing as operations manager," she says. "In these two roles I learned a lot about all the different processes of the games, what the system integration is like, and how important it is to test all the systems in the venues exhaustively.

"It has also taught me how important it is to keep very focused on the plans from the beginning. We need to keep up to speed because we don't have any second chances."

 

London 2012 IT programme

The London Olympics IT team is in the first phase of the programme, which involves working on the planning strategies and architecture requirement, building the systems that are required. In 2010, the testing phase begins, which continues until the operational phase in 2012.

The IT section of the Olympic programme is taking steps to become more sustainable, Hyron says. The Beijing Olympics introduced the Commentators Information System (CIS) so journalists and commentators can get all the results and athlete information they need remotely, leading to fewer people travelling to the host city.

The wireless network being rolled out across the venues will limit the number of PCs LOCOG has to provide, as it will be easy for those to need access to the network to log on using their own computers. Hyron said the team is also looking at using virtualisation, and at ways of reducing use of paper.

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