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Reader Forum: 3 tips to prepare for the Rio ‘data’ Olympics

Reader Forum: 3 tips to prepare for the Rio ‘data’ Olympics

Baidu provides 3 tips for operators looking to support a surge in data connected with the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil

With spectators streaming the events worldwide, athletes posting pregame rituals on social media and fans taking selfies in the stands, smartphone activity will be a large part of this year’s Summer Olympics. Data traffic at the Rio Olympic Games is expected to be 50% greater than that of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, not only because smartphone usage has increased, but also because streaming technology has advanced. Understanding user behavior will prove invaluable to mobile application developers as they continue to prepare for the influx of data and app usage during the Olympics.
Below are three key ways that developers and visitors can leverage South Americans’ smartphone usage habits to prepare for the data spike in Rio this summer.

Feeding the battery beasts

Unlike Asia, Middle East, Africa and North America, South Americans charge their phones less frequently than any other region. In fact, 21% of people in South America only charge their phone once every two days – or less. With these figures in mind, smartphone users will need to ensure their devices and batteries are in good enough shape to fully enjoy the games. With mobile phone usage expected to grow during the Olympics, how can operators, developers and city officials ensure a seamless user experience at all times?
One possible solution could be integrating charging stations across Rio so nobody loses power in the midst of posting gold medal updates. Mobile carriers and landline phone service providers plan to implement 180 mobile stations and 40 dedicated coverage stations in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games. These stations have been tested at large gatherings – such as marathons and music concerts – to ensure they work smoothly. Although app developers can’t control the accessibility or quality of these charging stations, they can promote smartphone “health” by integrating battery efficiency technology within their apps.
South American users tend to drain more battery life in the afternoon and evening compared to people in Asia or the MENA region. They can take a page from Asian users, who prefer to invest in portable power banks in anticipation of draining their phone’s battery through selfies and chatting. This usage habit is in stark contrast to the 28% of South Americans who report “doing nothing” when their phones are running out of juice, which is a decidedly ineffective tactic. There also are free apps available that can help automatically manage wasteful system processes to extend battery life.

Rolling out the Wi-Fi red carpet

The 2016 Summer Olympics will draw more than 7.5 million spectators, athletes and coaches to Brazil. That will mean millions of additional smartphones eating up bandwidth on Wi-Fi hot spots and cellular networks. We can anticipate a high demand for voice calls and text messages, a bigger load on social media sites, and more photo and video transmission. City officials have been hard at work building a wireless infrastructure by implementing more than 7,000 Wi-Fi access points and 100,000 local area network portals to accommodate the surge. Mobile operators, on the other hand, are planning to utilize the LTE infrastructure that was laid out as a requirement for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, during which total data traffic reached a record-breaking 26.7 terabytes. Smartphone users traveling to Brazil can rest easy knowing their devices are likely to perform without a hitch, thanks to Rio’s dedication to building the infrastructure to support even the most rabid Facebook and Twitter users.

Pack your bags, hackers

Unfortunately, big crowds also bring big problems in terms of wireless security. Malware threats are likely to occur while fans and tourists absent-mindedly connect to whichever free Wi-Fi network is available or unknowingly download malicious apps. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil emerged as the highest-risk city for cybercrime in Latin America, with cyberattacks increasing by an incredible 197%. To stop criminals from intercepting users’ personally identifiable information through an unsecured Wi-Fi connection or malware app, developers and operators must consider adding extra layers of security and having an action plan in place in case of a breach. By providing this additional layer of protection, they can prevent hackers from setting up shop during this particularly high-risk time.
As Rio prepares for the Olympic torch to arrive, app developers and mobile carriers alike are getting ready for the data spike by taking a deeper dive into South Americans’ smartphone habits. Apps such as SnapChat and WhatsApp, for example, will likely be keeping these findings in mind to stay on top of the anticipated data surge from an estimated 500,000 international visitors. Do you think Rio is ready for an unparalleled amount of data?
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