Athens 2004 Olympics will be a major boost to technology

Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of Athens 2004 – the organizers of the Olympic Games – said yesterday the massive technological requirements of the event will contribute to an extensive overhaul of the country’s infrastructure in basic sectors. The sheer size of the event is such that it would not be possible without the latest achievements in technology. The total investment in the communications sectors will amount to 120 billion drachmas, which will result in an upgrading of the entire infrastructure of OTE Telecom, she said during a special presentation in Athens. She urged Greek enterprises to participate in this technological regeneration and said the needs of Athens 2004 itself in equipment, services and projects are estimated at 20 billion drachmas for information technology, 12 billion drachmas for telecommunications infrastructure and 12 billion for energy infrastructure. To these must be added 18 billion for distribution centers of the Public Power Corporation and a further 10 billion drachmas for windfarms. As for information technology, the organizers will require 11,000 computers, 600 servers and 2,000 printers which will be used for 55 million printouts. Other requirements include a network of direct communications for emergencies and the infrastructure for cable television. This equipment can be used after the Games to join up schools and institutes and for public utility purposes, she said. The outgoing development minister, Nikos Christodoulakis, said a basic concern of the government has been to make the Games’ benefits felt for many years after the event. Referring to energy requirements, he dismissed claims that the country would fail to meet them and said natural gas was planned for all the facilities of the Olympic Village, making it a model for the future. He said the Olympic Games were a strong incentive for a huge development in the networking of enterprises, particularly in the tourism sector which has been lagging, as more and more tourists in the middle and high-income brackets use the Web in search of facilities. Greenpeace’s former director in Greece, Stelios Psomas, said the use of natural gas in the Olympic Village would mean energy savings of 9.72 million KW annually after the Games, or 48 percent in relation to the original planning. The International Olympic Committee’s general director of technology, Philippe Verneer, provided an overview of the technology required for the organization of the Games and stressed the importance of tapping into the expertise of sponsors from the technological sector, such as SchulumbergerSema, Swatch, Kodak, Panasonic, Samsung, OTE, CosmOTE and OTEnet. Athens 2004 official Yiannis Pyrgiotis said the country had sought to organize the Games in order to promote its modernization in a number of sectors and claimed that Athens had begun recording and planning the requirements for about 100 Olympic installations, of which 30 were related to sports, earlier than Atlanta and Sydney. All technology sectors in the Games would require 120,000 personnel, he said. Other project officials said Athens 2004 aspired to make the Games the first ever to use 100-percent green energy, including the use of wind power and photovoltaic energy.

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