Alibaba Cloud to Provide Enhanced Rebroadcast Service at Paris 2024

A global Olympic partner since 2017, the Alibaba group is supporting Paris 2024 this year, which is fast approaching. During an event in the French capital at the end of May, the Chinese giant notably discussed its work with OBS (Olympic Broadcasting Services) to improve the broadcast of Olympic Games content on the cloud. “This actually saves a lot of cost and labor on sites, while increasing the variety and diversity of content in our current media landscape,” said Chris Tung, president of strategic development at Alibaba Group.

A few weeks later, the giant's cloud subsidiary lifted the veil on the characteristics of its multi-camera replay service. Recently used during the Olympic qualifications in Shanghai, the service benefits from a boost: artificial intelligence. The system, based on the cloud and aided by machine learning and neural networks, is capable of reconstructing competition scenes in detail. Thus, the multi-camera broadcast system makes it possible to view the Games from several angles, a major asset for the Paris 2024 Games.


Video processing operated in the Alibaba cloud

The firm explains that “Through specialized video processing within edge and cloud environments, footage captured by cameras positioned around venues will be transformed into cloud-based 3D models with high-quality textures”. From these models, virtual frames with new points of view are then created.

The goal ? “Make actions such as rotation more fluid and realistic”and offer “an immersive and cohesive 3D reconstruction of competition scenes”. This dynamic viewing is a small feat in terms of spectator experience. “As a pioneer in smart sports solutions, together with OBS we will redefine the way sports fans around the world experience the Olympic Games,” believes Selina Yuan, President International Business Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.

First tests during the Beijing 2022 Games

First introduced at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics for the curling and speed skating events, the multi-camera broadcast system was used to immerse spectators in the heat of the action and provide them with a variety of Optimized angles.

As part of the Paris 2024 Games, the AI-based replay system will be implemented at 12 competition venues for events such as beach volleyball, tennis, judo and rugby. Multi-angle video content will be available via the OBS production system, the Chinese giant also specifies.


Atos, trusted third party and French guarantor of the Chinese giant

In addition to this service, Alibaba Cloud's main task is obviously to provide cloud hosting for the event. To do this, the firm has chosen to surround itself with a trusted third party in the person of Atos. The latter – after winning the call for tenders launched by the firm – is also a cloud provider in the competition. The related controversies are multiple, starting with the possibility that the accreditations file, which includes tens of thousands of contact details (guests, public authorities, media, etc.) is hosted by the Chinese giant.

It was therefore understood that Alibaba retains direct management of the data, but delegates the management of sensitive data to this trusted third party. “Those relating to accreditations will not pass through the Alibaba cloud”assured Bruno Marie-Rose, Director of Information and Technology (CITO) of Paris 2024, the organizing committee of the Games, in an interview given in April 2023, without dwelling too much on the subject.

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