2014 World Cup in Brazil: how is it being powered?

Fifa World Cup 2014
The wait is nearly over

With just days remaining before kick off at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the pressure is mounting - and not just for the players and managers.

An event the size of the World Cup now requires colossal technical support to sustain the weight of digital consumption both inside and outside the host nation, with events in Brazil about to be beamed right around the world.

One of the organisations sweating over the technological infrastructure in South America is Unisys; an official IT partner for this summer's tournament. Before the action got underway, we spoke to the company's strategic programs director for Brazil, Italo Cocentino, who gave us the inside track on providing IT solutions at the World Cup.

TechRadar Pro: What will be the role of the IT solution providers at the 2014 World Cup entail?

Italo Cocentino: Essentially, the World Cup's IT partners are tasked with ensuring everything runs smoothly behind the scenes. There aren't too many procedures involved with a country-wide event that aren't underpinned by technology.

Brazil Seguro Consortium, comprised by its members Unisys, Módulo, Agora Telecom and Comtex, will be helping deliver and support the IT requirements for the 12 host cities in Brazil. Although the World Cup doesn't kick off until June 12, work is already well under way, providing infrastructure components to ensure the successful running of data centres throughout the month-long event.

The project - coordinated by Extraordinary Security Department for Large Scale Events (SESGE) - includes the establishment of 13 command and control centres in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Brasília (main command and control center), Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife and Salvador - with an additional backup data centre in Rio de Janeiro.

These data centres will be responsible for managing and monitoring public safety and security communications, including the police, military and fire brigade.

To support the mission critical application that are binding together several disparate inputs likes, video surveillance systems, traffic control , crown displacement, delegations movement, TV broadcast, Social media monitoring, process all the intel, identify risks and coordinate the appropriated response action demands cutting edge technology, and that is what is been delivered.

The mission critical environment is end to end, not only the datacentre were built on several layers of high availability technology, but we also provided the same principals to the operator positions, using a high performance virtual desktop infrastructure, assuring mobility and data protection for all users.

TRP: What lessons can be learnt from previous large scale events such as the Olympics in 2012?

IC: Preparation is paramount. I think London did exceptionally well in this regard, with businesses across the capital preparing well in advance of the games and its effects.

Unisys did a great deal of work around the London Olympics. We invested time ensuring our customers were ready for the games and the demands it would place on their workforces, and the technology supporting them.

This activity included company site risk analysis, supporting staff working from home, adjusting network capacity, supply chain and delivery, providing field engineers, as well as the creation of service desks and service sites.

TRP: So can any of these lessons from London 2012 be applied to this year's World Cup?

IC: Yes. Above all else, we learned to prepare for the unexpected. Such a sudden influx of people and rapid change in daily habits can put unique strains on a business. As a result thorough planning and communication between involved parties is essential.

From an internal perspective, we ensured our employees were fully aware of the changing demands of their roles during the event period in 2012, and how they may be required to act in order to service clients. We also reviewed our supply chain to understand how many parts would be affected during the Games and what options were available for us to continue servicing clients.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.