Alibaba has launched an innovative cloud-based technology called "Cloud ME", which is powered by its real-time communication (RTC) solution, to bring people closer together for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Cloud ME facilitates social interactions for people, enabling them to meet, and carry out real-time conversations with each other via life-sized projections. 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.
"Alibaba is committed to the digitalisation of the Olympic Games, and 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."
Real-time communication powered by the cloud
According to Alibaba, 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 onsite IT infrastructure, or optimised internet bandwidth, to execute recording and transmission, due to cloud computing.
Videos and audios produced in the Cloud ME booth will be transmitted on Alibaba Cloud. 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.
Using cloud technology to keep people connected
"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).
Alibaba's Cloud ME booths are available both within the closed-loop management system at Beijing 2022, as well as 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 took place to facilitate a remote meeting between Zhang and Bach on February 6, who were unable to meet physically due to COVID-19 restrictions in China.