The tech that will power the 2012 Olympics in pictures

Acer is providing thousands of computers to make the Olympic Games run. We travel to a secret location for a look behind the scenes.

Jason Jenkins
1 of 12

Pub quiz fact: keeping the 2012 Olympic Games in London going next year will take an astonishing 12,600 computers, 900 servers and over 350 support staff. That's according to Acer, which has just given CNET UK a behind the scenes tour of its IT facilities for next year's games.

Acer is one of the top-tier Olympic sponsors for London 2012 -- another way of saying it has paid an awful lot of money. As part of the sponsorship deal it has the mammoth task of providing the computery tech that runs the whole operation, from the PCs the athletes will check their emails on to the touchscreen systems that give TV commentators live results.

Inside an office in Canary Wharf, the exact location of which we've been asked to keep secret for security reasons, the Olympic organising body has recreated a little bit of a Slough business park among the gleaming banks. Most of one floor is dedicated to preparing and testing the computers that will be used to record the times of events, display results and so on.

Throughout this vast space, banks of desks have been arranged in the shape of a cubicle, with each cubicle dedicated to a particular sport. Computers and monitors are piled up high, so it's next to impossible for one group of people to see the people working next to them. Here, serious-looking people make sure the equipment will function properly when it's on the site -- everything gets moved to the venue for test events, then moved back afterwards.

This is a world where reliability rather than style is king, and it's a reminder that in Corporate IT Land, the snazzy interfaces consumers are starting to take for granted haven't made any impression. We had a brief look at the software commentators will use to see who has won each event. Made by Atos, it's a powerful tool, with the ability to call up any stat from the whole games. But in terms of how it looks -- well, the politest thing we can think to say is it's very functional.

Have a click through our photo gallery above to see more of the facility, including a peek at the central IT support centre for the games.

2 of 12
Just some of the computers that will be used at the Olympics.
3 of 12
Each bank of computers is assigned to a particular sport.
4 of 12
That's some serious tech going on there.
5 of 12
A good selection of sugary snacks help keep the workers going.
6 of 12
This guy is literally listening to something on his headphones. Crazy times.
7 of 12
All the commentators will get their facts from this touchscreen system.
8 of 12
Would it have killed the creators of this system to have used a nicer font? Really, would it?
9 of 12
Imagine having to look at this every day.
10 of 12
Swiss timing -- it's the best, we hear.
11 of 12
This is the IT helpdesk that will support the thousands of computers Acer will have installed at the Games.
12 of 12
There's a constant reminder on the wall of how everything is doing. We think this is a good pie chart.

More Galleries

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

16 Photos
CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

9 Photos
2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: concept cars

2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: concept cars

14 Photos
Best sound bars under $300

Best sound bars under $300

18 Photos
2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke reports for diesel duty
2018 Ford F-150 diesel

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke reports for diesel duty

22 Photos
Music-friendly cell phone accessories

Music-friendly cell phone accessories

11 Photos
Cosplay at Comic-Con 2016: From Stormtroopers to Sansa Stark

Cosplay at Comic-Con 2016: From Stormtroopers to Sansa Stark

34 Photos