To bridge the physical distance for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 amid COVID-19 restrictions and geographical differences, Alibaba launched the Cloud ME powered by its real-time communication (RTC) solution.
Cloud ME facilitates social interactions for people who are keen to explore bona fide meeting experiences during the Olympic Winter Games, enabling them to meet and enjoy real-time conversations with each other via a life-sized, true-to-life projection.
By stepping into a pop-up studio in the Cloud ME booth, participants will have their full body image projected realistically into a remote booth, in which their projected personas will be displayed to meet and greet with their counterparts. The true-to-life meetings can also be opened up to a wider audience across unlimited locations, thanks to the easily installed remote projection functionality.
“Alibaba is committed to the digitalization of the Olympic Games and to providing the technology infrastructure to promote a more inclusive and engaging experience,” said Daniel Zhang, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group. “We hope to unite athletes and fans around the world with our cloud technology and allow the Olympic spirit to inspire us all as we celebrate the joy of sports.”
“Together with Alibaba, we are making history here in Beijing. For the first time ever, all core systems needed to run these Olympic Winter Games are hosted on Alibaba Cloud. Whether it is powering the Olympic online store in China, the OBS Cloud or technology to support the world’s media here in Beijing, Alibaba Cloud technology is setting new standards and raising the bar to new levels,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The Cloud ME booth is simple to set up. Beyond typical studio equipment such as a video camera and a computer to capture the footage, it does not require any additional on-site IT infrastructure or optimized internet bandwidth to execute recording and transmission, thanks to the power of cloud computing.
Videos and audios produced in the Cloud ME booth will be transmitted on Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group. The proven RTC solution is powered by Alibaba’s advanced cloud computing capabilities and extensive global network coverage.
Backed by the low latency, high availability and high concurrency features of Alibaba Cloud, the process can be completed within 200 milliseconds. The live recording can then be projected onto a remote 4K high-definition screen, generating a true-to-life hologram effect, reconstructing all details in high definition — including micro facial expressions and clothing texture, which are essential to in-person interaction.
“The real-time communication solution powered by cloud technology plays a critical role in helping the world to connect effectively. Leveraging our global cloud network and self proprietary algorithms, we aim to bring the benefits of real-time communication to various day-to-day scenarios, including online education, interactive entertainment, video conferencing and other enterprise services,” said Lijuan Chen, general manager of Product and Solution, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
Alibaba’s Cloud ME booths are available both within the closed-loop management system at Beijing 2022 and outside for participants of the Olympic Winter Games so that they can experience interesting social interactions in a mixed reality. The first Cloud ME event for Beijing 2022 facilitated a remote meeting between Zhang and Bach on February 6, who were unable to meet physically due to COVID-19 restrictions in China.