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Alibaba and Intel outline Tokyo 2020 technology projects

Technology firms Alibaba Cloud and Intel have unveiled plans for joint work on broadcast-related technology at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

At Alibaba Cloud's annual Apsara Conference in Hangzhou on Wednesday, the Chinese and American companies said they had agreed a 'strategic memorandum of understanding' under which they would be working on four pieces of technology for use by athletes, broadcasters, organisers and fans:

  • 360-degree 8K VR, which will provide an immersive virtual reality video experience for fans, with 8K image definition quality, delivered over 5G mobile networks. Alibaba Cloud said the technology will eliminate dizziness for VR headset users and increase bandwidth efficiency by more than 5 times.
  • 3D Digital Twinning, which will provide VR simulations of tracks, camera deployments, stadium seating and in-stadium navigation services, for use by athletes, broadcasters, spectators and venue owners.
  • Cloud Broadcasting, which is being launched in partnership with the Olympics' dedicated host broadcaster Olympic Broadcasting Services. Alibaba Cloud said the cloud broadcasting solution would "boost efficiencies lost through offline and labour-based production" and cut costs.
  • 3D Athlete Tracking ('3DAT'), a system using deep learning algorithms to analyse and extract data about athletes in training or competition, using standard cameras. The technology is said to be useful in training or broadcasting applications.
In a press release, Alibaba Cloud, a division of Chinese technology conglomerate Alibaba, said: "The strengthened partnership signals the companies’ commitment and readiness to commercialise, scale and launch these solutions ahead of the upcoming Games."

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