So, the 2012 Olympic Games are well underway in London. One of the first events the British public had been looking forward to, was the Mens Cycling Road Race. There was massive hopes for Gold for the home team, and fans turned out in their droves along with the millions watching on TV. Anyone who did watch the race on the TV though may have been cursing the apparent lack of information about the race. The problem, apparently, was Twitter.
OK, not just Twitter, but overloading of the data networks apparently restricted information being received from the riders GPS units. Hundreds of thousands of people all in a relatively small area using mobile data to tweet at and about their heroes. And, many no doubt will have been using the BBC Olympics application to watch the live TV coverage while waiting for the riders to hit their part of the route. Sounds crazy, but it prompted a statement from an IOC spokesperson, urging fans to restrict their mobile use around the Olympic events.
Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say 'Don't, you can't do it', and we would certainly never prevent people," he said. "It's just - if it's not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy.
The 2012 games are the first in history to be surrounded by modern social media and smartphones. More and more we rely upon mobile devices to communicate with the world, without any real knowledge of potential consequences such as this. At previous Olympics, fans haven't had the access to the stars through services such as Twitter and Facebook, or the countless number of apps that keep them in touch with the action 24/7.
Though on the other hand, the billions of pounds that have been spent on the Olympics should really have been able to avoid such an issue before it arose. The mobile operators and infrastructure companies claimed before hand to be able to cope, so what went wrong? Vodafone and O2 claim not to have seen any network disruptions around the Olympic venues, yet the issue apparently stems to over-subscriptions on one particular network.
We think, that whatever the issue is, another solution will need to be found. Can fans really be expected to keep their phones in their pockets?