Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

February 15, 2014

'WOW' improves Olympic communication

By Jenni Hanna
Daily News

---- — Boy am I clueless.

Up until recently, I had no idea the Winter Olympics were approaching. Maybe I’m just over the cold (as many of us are!), and trying to ignore anything associated with it. After all, I’ve seen enough people and vehicles “skating” on ice and doing some downhill “skiing”, that I don’t care to see any more. Somehow, though, the Winter Olympics escaped my radar.

While I am (obviously) not a huge follower of Olympic action, there are certainly others who are.

I recently read how Samsung Electronics’ interest in the Olympic Games has grown since 1988. During that year, the North-Korean based tech company got on board as a local sponsor of the Seoul Olympic Games. The company’s interest never waned. It continued to grow its Olympic commitment to the point of using its expertise to develop technology specifically for the internal Olympic staff. Samsung saw a need for improved internal communication among Olympic executives, athletes and other organizers.

As a result, it developed the Wireless Olympic Works technology. WOW was first used in 2004 in Athens, bringing notable improvements in internal communication for Olympic organizers, and ensuring a smoother event.

In the fall of 2009, Samsung launched a public version of WOW for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. This public application was designed to improve the Olympic experience for die-hard fans. Olympic enthusiasts could receive up-to-the-minute news and results. Fans could access maps and locate various facilities. Samsung continues to update the public WOW app for each new Olympic year and venue. Obviously there are many changes for each set of Games, from athletes to events to maps.

Samsung recently announced that the app for the 2014 Sochi Games is now available.

The 2014 Sochi App offers a few new features from past Olympic apps, including a “Cheer” feature. This allows fans to send cheers to support their favorite athletes and countries. Users can upload text and images to share with other WOW app users and on social networks. The app also offers information about all the winter sports at Sochi, including tutorials, rules and equipment. Venue information and navigation services are also available for easy maneuvering around the Olympic village. All services are available in seven languages, including: Chinese, English, French, German, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

The public WOW app is free and only available for Android devices. It generates a new level of excitement for those who follow the Olympic Games. Unfortunately I don’t have an Android, so I won’t be able to take advantage of the app and all its features. I have to admit, though, it does sound kind of neat. Instead, I’ll have to resort to catching the Olympics on NBC via my television set. Let the games begin!