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At Tech-Infused Winter Olympics Opening, Standards Set the Stage for Gold


From augmented reality to pyrotechnic feats, a closer look at standards' role in the XXIII Olympic Games

Technological feats like the opening ceremony are just one part of the innovative Olympic Games. Top Olympians have revealed that they have turned to virtual reality to train for the gold. Alpine skiers, for example, use VR to replicate the intensity of their sport. But elite athletes aren't the exception when it comes to VR Olympian experiences. This year, more than 50 hours of live virtual reality coverage of the 2018 Winter Games will be available to view for fans at home. Various news sites have also rolled out augmented reality features, so that viewers can see their favorite Olympians in 3D action.

While athletes and their fans increasingly rely on virtual reality for innovative Olympic experiences, the standardization community is at work to develop standards to support a suite of artificial intelligence and its applicationsincluding virtual reality.

The newly formed international standardization committee on artificial intelligence (AI) - International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, Information Technology, Subcommittee (SC) 42 is intended to serve as the focus for ISO/IEC JTC 1's standardization program on AI. The U.S. leads this new subcommittee, with ANSI serving as the secretariat. Wael William Diab (U.S.) is chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 and senior director at Huawei. In addition, the U.S. has played a leading role in JTC 1 since the committee's inception three decades years ago. [See related story: ANSI Celebrates 30 Years of ISO/IEC JTC 1 Achievements in Information and Communication Technology]

Other active standards that support virtual reality include INCITS/ISO/IEC 14478-1-1998 [S2009], Information Technology - Computer Graphics and Image Processing - Presentation Environment for Multimedia Objects (PREMO) - Part 1: Fundamentals of PREMO, which specifies techniques for supporting interactive media applications that recognize and emphasize the interrelationships among user interfaces, multimedia applications, and multimedia information interchange.

It supports a wide range of multimedia applications, including virtual reality environments. The standard, developed by ISO and IEC and adopted as an American National Standard (ANS) by the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS), promotes the development of interactive technology.

IEEE last year announced its Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (AR) Standards Projects. Participants working on the new standards projects include device manufacturers, content providers, service providers, technology developers, government agencies, and other parties relevant to VR/AR technology advancement. The IEEE VRAR Working Group has participants from more than 200 companies and institutions worldwide, and is dedicated to building consensus on VR/AR standardization.

Stunning optics are always a major component of the Olympics, with pyrotechnics on full display to captivate the audience who were at the show and millions more viewing from home. Standards developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a member and audited designator of ANSI, ensure that professional fireworks shows meet safety guidelines for workers and spectators alike.

NFPA 1126, Standard for the use of pyrotechnics before a proximate audience, provides requirements for the safe use of pyrotechnic special effects before a proximate audience at both indoor and outdoor locations to protect property, operators, performers, support personnel, and viewing audiences. Application includes use in conjunction with theatrical, musical, or similar performing arts productions in theaters, stadiums, concert halls, etc.

For related Olympic news on how Standards Fuel the Sports of the Winter Olympic Games, check out the ANSI Blog.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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