viernes, agosto 05, 2016

My Olympic experience

Four years ago I was fortunate to be one of the volunteer Ambassadors for the London 2012 Olympics.  
I was at the practice session for the Opening Ceremony. The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was at full capacity, and the atmosphere was electric. The drummers came through the crowds at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution section that was the most dramatic moment I’ve experienced at any show. 

I learnt that day, first-hand, the difficulty in trying to identify and verify people. The organisers needed 70,000 volunteers to assist with all manner of duties. To be eligible to volunteer you had to be a UK resident and agree to undergo background security checks. The Home Office, in cooperation with security and law enforcement agencies, conducted immigration, criminal record, and security checks to determine each applicant’s suitability for accreditation.

This rigorous process started in 2010 when the Mayor's London Ambassador programme for 8,000 city guides was launched. It was designed to ensure those working at the Games were fit to do so.  The police took the lead in terms of security for the Olympics, with 13,000 officers being made available, supported by 17,000 members of the armed forces. Royal Navy, Army and RAF assets, including ships situated in the Thames, Typhoon jets, radar, helicopter-borne snipers, and surface-to-air missiles, were also deployed as part of the security operation.

Private security firm G4S, failed to provide their intended 13,700 staff due to training and manpower issues that emerged just weeks before the games, such that the number they eventually supplied was closer to 10,000. This was the biggest security operation Britain had faced for decades. Bearing in mind that in the back of everyone’s mind was the bombing of the London Underground and a London Bus the day after the city was selected to host the Olympics.

In hindsight, I probably got the idea of portID ™ from my Olympic experience as it became apparent to me the need for a system that could clear/check and verify very large numbers of people efficiently and effectively in an economic and convenient manner. That system would need to be capable of identifying a person from whatever country they originated using any official documentation (passport, driving license, national ID card, or even their face in terms of known threats). And all to be done simply with an iPhone 6 working anywhere in the world in 30 seconds in the palm of your hands whilst being fully compliant with data privacy laws.

It's amazing how the world has moved on since 2012 and how far mobile technology has progressed. Even the abstract concept of the Cloud is a reality we all deal with on a daily basis and because of it we can identify and verify people in ways that weren't imaginable four years ago. This is why at MobileID we feel we are one of the companies at the very forefront of using mobile technology to solve very real world problems.

The London 2012 Olympic Games were a huge success and inspired audiences and sports fans globally. Now as we stand at the dawn of the Rio de Janeiro Games I am sure we all hope and wish that the Games are a similar success and pass off peacefully.

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