ECONOMY

Instant access to Olympic information through cell phones

The Athens Olympics will be the first ever in which online access to the Games’ information database will be available to cell phone owners. Athens 2004 will be the first organizing committee to offer wireless data communications services. By taking advantage of the network of CosmOTE, Greece’s leading mobile telecommunications provider, and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) connections that offer «always-on,» higher capacity, Internet-based content and packet-based data services, users of the Athens 2004 service will be able to have instant access to the data contained on the INFO2004 database or receive special messages addressed either to all users or to specific groups. For example, though Info 2004, Olympic athletes, coaches and officials will be informed in real time of contest results, records, medals and other developments. They will also be able to use their cell phones to get information about schedules, information (including visuals) about venues, athletes’ bios and even the rules of each sport. This network will not be available to everyone: Apart from the so-called «Olympic family» of athletes, coaches and national and international federation officials, it will also be used by employees, invited officials and the media, or some 12,500 people. The users will be able to receive secure SMS messages with various information. Athens 2004’s technology division has cooperated with national sponsor CosmOTE and grand international sponsor Samsung in setting up this network. The Games’ operations management system can be easily adapted to wireless communications and provide secure data transfer. This will be a trial of value added wireless Internet services developed by the two companies and Athens 2004. Samsung has created a special portal service, Wireless Olympic Works (WOW), that will provide access to Athens 2004’s database. The south Korean company will also provide the cell phones that are to be used with the service. Like most advanced cell phone devices, they will be a combination of a phone and a palm-top computer. WOW will allow users to easily customize the kind of information they desire to have access to. The cell phones can also be computed to personal computers through a USB port to download information. They will also be able to access other Internet pages besides INFO2004.