The Commonwealth Games 2022 may have given us a peek at the future of healthcare

Commonwealth Games 2022 Birmingham logo
(Image credit: Getty Images / Mike Kemp)

Bringing together 6,500 athletes from over 70 countries, the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham was the latest major event to show off the feel-good power of sport.

With 1.5 million spectators expected on-site at 13 locations across the 11-day event, as well as a television audience of around 1.5 billion across the globe, recruiting effective technology partners was paramount.

Printing technology often goes unappreciated and even unnoticed in much of our day-to-day lives, but Canon’s decades of experience meant it was able to help the Commonwealth Games 2022 be one of the smartest yet - but that wasn’t all the company had up its sleeve.

Canon services

“It's a great moment to finally be in Birmingham,” Pete Morris, brand & sponsorship senior manager, Canon EMEA, told a press event attended by TechRadar Pro.

“We've always been involved in sport - it's something that's in our DNA…We're not a partner that will just look at our logo above the door of any particular event and sit back and enjoy that exposure. It's very much about us integrating our technology with the event, supporting the organizers and spectators that are coming, as well as enhancing their experience.”

Commonwealth Games 2022 stadium and logo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Mike Kemp)

As the official imaging partner of the Games, Canon provided a number of services and systems that were integral to the smooth running of the event.

Perhaps most obviously, it offered managed print services across the Games, with Canon printers behind all the physical documentation from tickets to waivers and even the event schedules used by the starter of the 100m final. But the company also provided the printing systems for the banners, signage and more, with its impressive portfolio of print hardware, software and on-site services helping create a vibrant and colourful spectacle across the Games.

In a nod to its other successful division, Canon also helped support all the professional photographers at the Games. Its Canon Professional Services team was on hand to help out media and photojournalists alike with fixes, repairs and even loans of kit to make sure not a moment of action was missed.

Canon Medical

It’s the third arm of Canon’s activity that might be the most surprising, but could also be the most ground-breaking, if the technology seen at the Commonwealth Games 2022 is anything to go by.

Perhaps little-known outside of the healthcare field, Canon’s medical imaging capabilities are saving lives across the world, with its technology helping patients in a wide variety of ways.

The Commonwealth Games saw three Canon Medical Polyclinics deployed across its venues in order to help athletes struggling with injuries. AI-assisted MRI, diagnostic ultrasound and digital radiography X-ray with full health IT connectivity were all made available throughout the Athletes Villages and in diagnostic vehicles.

Canon mobile medical imaging facility Commonwealth Games 2022

(Image credit: Canon Medical Imaging)

Canon says its systems will help doctors and medics quickly and digitally assess common musculoskeletal sports-related issues such as bone, muscle, tendon or joint injury, without lengthy consultation or even the need to be transferred to local hospitals.

The Vantage Orian 1.5T MRI scanners used in the facilities also feature Canon Medical UK’s pioneering Advanced Intelligent Clear-IQ Engine (AiCE). This technology uses training data from thousands of images and data sets to intelligently remove “noise” from new images, allowing for a much clearer view of a human body in a scan. Canon says AiCE can help shorten scan time and improve resolution, offering greater efficiency and patient comfort.

“Healthcare has to be predictive and proactive…rather than reactive,” noted Mark Hitchman, MD, Canon Medical Systems UK.

Canon has a number of mobile scanner units that offer CT and MRI scanning in specially-equipped trucks that can travel around the country, which proved especially useful during the pandemic. But Hitchman also believes that the form factor proves that local healthcare facilities can be given a boost at a lower cost than expected. 

With the government understandably keen to improve regional facilities following the pandemic and continued worries about overloaded NHS hospitals, Canon’s units show what new local diagnostic centres can look like.

Getting what is still cutting-edge technology for many into local communities could be a game-changer for the UK, and Canon is hoping that its initial focus on some of the world’s greatest athletes could be the first step forward into a healthier future.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.