High-speed data transmissions sent directly to smart phones and tablets are certainly a far cry from rolled-up notes strapped to pigeons. Modern Olympics fans enjoy unprecedented access to live game information, but since the first Olympic proceedings, people have found ways to monitor the competition.
From 700 BC to 300 AD, carrier pigeons carried messages about the Olympics from city to city. The modern-day games launched in 1896, the same year as the wireless telegraph. Sports fans could listen to the games for the first time in 1924, and CBS brought Olympic broadcasts to audiences worldwide starting in 1960.
Nowadays, digital devices rule the scene, providing faster information in more interactive formats. Over a billion people will use digital devices to check Olympic scores or to view events during the 2012 games. Even the Olympic organizers have recognized the trend, as Londoners can watch this years’ Olympic games on free Wi-Fi in the city’s subway stations thanks to Virgin Media.
This year, Olympic fans will likely check scores and watch the games on mobile devices in record numbers. Analysts from communications firm Acme Packet expect a 211 percent increase in mobile traffic worldwide. American mobile users lead the world in access to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband access with over 12 million connected citizens.
If current trends persist, tablets will make up 10 percent of mobile Internet traffic when the Olympics make their way to Rio in 2016. There will also be more than 10 million mobile Internet-ready devices capable of receiving news, pictures and video of the next Olympics. Whereas Olympics fans once relied on carrier pigeons for daily updates, now they can get up-to-the-minute scores and updates in seconds thanks to modern mobile technologies. It’s a truly remarkable evolution and an interesting way to mark the progress of modern communication tools.
Infographic by Acme Packet