May 19, 2020

Feature: Powering the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with Dell

Technology
scotland
Dell
Sport Industry
Annifer Jackson
4 min
Feature: Powering the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with Dell

While Glasgow 2014 wowed audiences of more than two billion across the globe, behind the scenes a huge-scale technology operation unfolded that provided vital services to not only viewers but 4,500 athletes and more than 17,000 officials, staff and volunteers. 

Building on previous involvement with the Delhi and Melbourne Games, Dell became Glasgow’s Official IT Hardware and Data Centre Supporter, one of a host of technology vendors active alongside the likes of Virgin Media, Cisco and Toshiba.

Several years of planning boiled down to 11 days of competition and a decommission process of just 24 hours across many of the 40 competitive and non-competitive sites.

Charged with ensuring a smooth IT operation is Brian Nourse, Chief Technology Officer for Glasgow 2014. He said: “Technology underpins everything at the Commonwealth Games and we have multiple sites across Glasgow that require a fit-for-purpose technology solution.

“One of the biggest challenges is dealing with a variety of venues, some with existing infrastructure which we build on top of and some temporary structures without any.

“Dell’s role has been crucial in ensuring that we have a robust, flexible infrastructure in place that can guarantee everything runs flawlessly – both in the planning and staging of the Games, and during the 11 days of competition. It has been a very successful and constructive partnership”

Huge-scale

Translated into machinery, Dell’s contribution included an enormous 2,400 OptiPlex desktops and laptops, 2,300 monitors and 50 PowerEdge servers and EqualLogic and PowerVault storage solutions across all 40 sites.

In total 123 terabytes of storage was provided, enough to hold more than 80 million photos.

Arguably the most important venue Dell supported was the Technology Operations Centre (TOC), responsible for the monitoring, operation and management of all Games technology and services and based at Commonwealth House in the centre of Glasgow.

A range of laptops and desktops alongside a Dell-manned support desk helped the 140 permanent staff provide instant responses for spectators, athletes and organisers.

This includes the real time provision of results, which was reliant on Dell equipment to gather and present statistics to huge audiences online, on TV and at venues themselves. Onsite journalists also made use of Dell technology to prepare and file stories. 

Throughout the event, Scotland’s largest ever sporting spectacle, the TOC operated 24 hours a day split into two shifts and a night shift, ever present to swat any technical issues from any of the sites.

For the 6,772 athletes and officials using the Athletes’ Village, Dell tablets allowed them to keep in touch with friends and family.

The Games also attracted well over 50,000 volunteer applications, with details of applicants being held securely on company servers.

Tim Griffin, Vice President and Managing Director of Dell UK, commented: “Technology is often the unsung hero of the sporting world. Nearly everything, from coverage of the events and ticketing, to how athletes perform and results are reported, requires a high level of technology support.

“The Commonwealth Games is a world-class sporting event that requires world-class technology support – something we have committed to and are very proud to have delivered.”

Sporting pedigree

Dell can also boast success in the pool, on the track and in the velodrome thanks to its young athlete ambassadors.

Cyclist Elinor Barker, 19, picked up a bronze and silver medal for Wales, 22-year-old Lynsey Sharp won 800 metre silver, and 18-year-old swimmer Ollie Hynd took gold to become Paralympic, World, European, UK and Commonwealth swimming champion.

This year’s Games is part of Griffin’s objective to increase brand awareness of Dell and showcase its potential to support large-scale events in the world of sport.

“This has been a real journey for the company and our public perception,” he said. “One of the most common things customers have said about Dell in light of this summer has been ‘I didn’t know you did that’.”

Prior to the Commonwealth Games, the company’s main sporting commitments centred around Caterham’s F1 team. To offer trackside support, it developed a mobile data centre which collects and processes thousands of megabytes of data.

Off the track, the team's high performance computing infrastructure drives the design of F1 cars through advanced technology such as computational fluid dynamics, which replicates wind tunnels to improve aerodynamics of the racing machines.

Regarding the future use of technology for the Commonwealth Games, Nourse acknowledged the need to move towards solutions in the cloud sphere in order to maintain a continuous improvement for each event.

This and more will no doubt be discussed in the analysing and evaluation phase of the technology operation which will be in motion once the dust has settled on what many have described as a standout Games.

Australia’s Gold Coast plays host in April 2018. 

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May 28, 2021

Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work

Automation
UiPath
technology
repetitivetasks
Kate Birch
4 min
As a new report reveals most office workers are crushed by repetitive tasks, we talk the value of automation with UiPath’s MD of Northern Europe, Gavin Mee

Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.

Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.

Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.

When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”

And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.

Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work

By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.

“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”

These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.

Repetitive tasks that can be automated

Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”

These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.

“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”

Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.

Five business areas that can be automated

Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.

  1. Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
  2. Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
  3. Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
  4. IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
  5. Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.

“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”

 

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