FIFA World Cup 2014 was one of the largest multimedia sporting events in history . In-person attendance was estimated at more than three and a half million while hundreds of millions of viewers tuned in via TV, Internet, and radio. Akamai’s online traffic statistics estimate this year’s event to be ten times larger than the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and two and a half times larger than the Sochi Winter Olympics. In my role as Akamai’s Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability I was curious about the carbon footprint of such a large event, and how digital and analog attendance compared.
Turns out, FIFA has a green side beyond it soccer fields. In a concerted effort to reduce the environmental impact of staging the World Cup it developed the 2014 FIFA World CupTM Sustainability Strategy. As part of that strategy FIFA calculated the carbon footprint of the six weeks-long tournament including construction and operations of the match stadiums and FIFA Fan Fest venues, and team and spectator travel and accommodations. It was estimated at 2.5 million metric tons CO2 equivalent. That’s the equivalent of driving a U.S. car 7.4 billion miles or flying 9.2 billion miles, a fit analogy since international and inter-/intra-city transportation represented 84% of the 2.5 million.
Certainly there would be no World Cup without stadiums to play in and teams to compete. And it wouldn’t be nearly as exhilarating without the frenzied fans cheering from the stands. But what is the carbon impact of bringing the World Cup to more than one hundred million online viewers around the world, tuning in using all manner of connected devices such as smart phones and tablets? Akamai supported live streaming for all 64 matches for more than 50 rights-holding customers reaching over 80 countries, providing us with unique insight into online activity. By tracking the fraction of our network used to stream the matches in each geographic region and overlaying the associated energy consumption and carbon emissions, we were able to estimate the carbon footprint of the server and data center component of online viewing at a lean 100 metric tons CO2 equivalent.
Achieving these impressive results for such a long-term and broadly viewed event is a testament to Akamai’s commitment to reducing our operational impacts. As a result of our efforts to innovate around network productivity and efficiency, our absolute energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions have decoupled from our network traffic growth, flattening even as our traffic continues to grow exponentially. Although, the digital story doesn’t end here.
A recent study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Northwestern University assessed that the server and data center portion of streaming represents only an astonishing 1% of the total energy and carbon footprint. The balance is attributed to end user last mile and devices, e.g., cable/DSL, modem, wireless router, tablet, computer and monitor, bringing the World Cup’s total digital footprint to 100,000 metric tons CO2e. If we compare just the World Cup attendee portion of the footprint , accounting for travel and accommodations, digital spectatorship is about twenty times more carbon-efficient than being there. And, you get the added benefit of the best seat in the house for every match!
The news is good all around. The Internet, with Akamai’s help, has broadened the accessibility of popular sporting events to people anywhere with Internet connectivity, on any device. Online viewing is much more carbon-efficient than attending in person. And with Akamai’s high-definition anywhere on-any-device streaming, you can enjoy players-in-your-living-room-quality coverage every game.
With more than 150 years of tradition, new, innovative and modern aren’t terms usually associated with an organization like the Vienna State Opera.
But that’s exactly what the legendary opera house and Ooyala customer — is being feted for by the IBC, which is honoring it with a Special Award this week at the annual broadcaster’s convention in Amsterdam.
The Vienna State Opera or, Wiener Staatsoper — has embraced multi-platform delivery, with as many as 45 broadcasts of operas and ballets a year.
In addition to HD origination, www.staatsoperlive.com offered a 4k Ultra-HD broadcast of Verdi’s Nabucco’ in May, the first such broadcast to Samsung smart TVs worldwide.
Wiener Staatsoper streams two HD views for each performance, a live cut and a static view of the stage.
The opera also offers additional content including a synchronized score and subtitles, which is designed to help viewers be more engaged with the performance.
Extra video and multimedia content, tailored to specialist audiences, include a discussion of the opera, live rehearsals and backstage views, and more.
To be rewarded with one of the most renowned awards in this highly innovative industry is a wonderful acknowledgement, said Dominique Meyer, director of the Vienna State Opera. It shows how vivid we are, looking from a glorious past into a promising future.
FIFA also is being honored by the IBC with a Judges Award for its 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The global football audience is always hungry for more for more cameras, for more detail, for more replays and for more analysis, said Niclas Ericson, FIFA’s director of television. In Brazil this year we worked together with our partners to provide more engaging multi-platform content and to develop the language to cover football in high resolution formats. It was an exhilarating team effort, and I am proud to recognize all those who contributed.
Michael Lumley, Chair of the IBC Awards judging panel, said At first glance there is little in common between the football World Cup and opera. Yet each engender huge passion in their fans, and those fan bases are far larger than can attend a live event. Both FIFA and the Vienna State Opera have built strong, innovative, creative in-house teams to take control of their content, and have worked with leaders in the industry to be on the leading edge of emerging technologies.
The awards will be presented during the IBC Awards Ceremony, at 6:30 p.m., Sunday.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament took the world by storm. Diehard soccer fans and newbies alike kept an eye on the matches day-in and day-out, at work and at home. The soccer-hungry audience searched for real time updates throughout the month-long tournament. They needed to know what happened on the pitch, and they wanted that info immediately.
Chances are you if you were looking for up-to-date futbol data you went to a site embedded with an infoplum AFP responsive HTML5 application. A real time application by infoplum AFP provided updates on scores, highlights, news, pictures, advanced statistics, profiles, predictive data and even 3D footage of goals exactly what the sports world collectively craved throughout the World Cup. And infoplum AFP relied on Rackspace Cloud Sites to stay up and running throughout the record-breaking traffic the tournament drove.
On the day before the opening ceremonies, the Cloud Sites team saw traffic from the infoplum application reach more than 6 million hits per hour, which is roughly 1,736 hits per second a mind-blowing sum, especially considering it was well before the whistle blew to start the first match.
This was by far the biggest event we have had. Cloud Sites was fundamental to the success of this event, infoplum technical director Trevor George explained.
For this particular FIFA event, infoplum collaborated with Agence France-Presse (AFP) to serve live coverage (data and editorial) on all World Cup matches. This particular application was embedded on 161 websites, which were served to a worldwide audience in more than 20 countries and in more than 15 languages throughout the entire 32-day global soccer phenomenon. This resulted in an astonishing total of 4.1 billion yes, billion web requests. That’s 153 million hits per day and over 100 million pageviews.
infoplum, which was launched as Cadability in 1990, has been a loyal Cloud Sites customer since October 2008, when Cloud Sites was still called by its original name Mosso. Well before the World Cup started and the traffic deluge began, infoplum alerted its Cloud Sites team. The Cloud Sites operations team has expertise in preparing customers and their sites for high traffic events.
The scalability at Cloud Sites has always been there. So I was confident Cloud Sites could handle it, George said.
For this particular event, the Cloud Sites ops team ensured enough nodes were configured in the high capacity cluster for the expected load. Then the Cloud Sites specialists configured the load balancers to have streamlined routes, including dedicated IP addresses to the high capacity cluster.
Cloud Sites support jumped in 110 percent actively monitoring performance, George noted. There are actual people you could talk to, not just an email.
Throughout the entire month, Rackspace engineers closely monitored infoplum’s environment and made any necessary adjustments to ensure the smoothest high traffic event possible.
Congratulations to our dear friends from Australia, infoplum, on an impressive high traffic event, and to the experts of the Rackspace Cloud Sites team for handling its highest super spike in Cloud Sites history.
Learn more about how Cloud Sites can rise to the occasion of any super spike.0